"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness"
It is pointed out that the verse reads, "God said", yet the plurals "us" and "our" indicate a plurality within a unity. It is argued that this refers to the Trinity since Jesus at the time of the creation was a spirit creature.
1.The Jews, of all people, have been fiercely monotheistic. The Hebrew word, "elohim" translated "God" and the plurals "us" and "our" never suggested trinitarian ideas to them. Nor is there any New Testament allusion to indicate that in their interpretation of this passage they were mistaken.
2.The trinitarian argument on this passage is only an inferred argument. It is stated that the "us" and "our" refer to either Jesus or to the Holy Spirit.
3.The plurals in the passage refer to God performing his creative work through his angels. Consider the evidence: a.Men bear the physical image of angels. Angels were mistaken for men by Lot.1 (Gen. 18:2, 22 cf. 19:1, 15) Hence the admonition: "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." (Heb. 13:2). If faithful, saints will bear the nature of angels in the resurrection. (Luke 20:35, 36).
b.Divine activity is said to be done by God, although actually executed by the angels. Note the following examples: i.The LORD appeared to Moses in the burning bush. (Exod. 3:4-8). But Stephen says Moses was with "the angel which appeared to him in the bush." (Acts 7:35 cf. vs. 30). The Exodus account also reveals that it was an angel. (Exod. 3:2).
ii.God gave the ten commandments to Moses (Exod. 20:2, note "me" vs. 3; "for I the LORD thy God" vs. 5, etc.). But Stephen says it was the angel "which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the living oracles to give unto us." (Acts 7:38).
iii.Jacob said that he had "seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." (Gen. 32:30). Hosea states, however, that he wrestled with an angel. (Hosea 12:3-4 cf. Gen. 32:1, 2).
c.The Hebrew world "elohim" translated "God" is an elastic word, much like "soul" or "spirit". It is translated "goddess" (1 Kings 11:33), "judges" (Exod. 21:6), and applied to pagan idols in Judges 16:23; 1 Kings 11:33. It is generally acknowledged that it comes from a root meaning "power" or the "strong one".2 The plural "elohim" means "powerful ones" or "strong ones". This is precisely the description of the angels. "Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word." (Psa. 103:20).
d.Although the usual Hebrew word for "angel" is "malak", the Hebrew word "elohim" is translated "angels" in Psalm 8:5. Since the writer to the Hebrews quotes this passage in Hebrews 2:7, cf. vs. 9, and translates the word "elohim" by "aggelous" (angels), it can be inferred that the intended meaning of "elohim" in Psalm 8:5 is also "angels".
1.See also Gen. 32:24 - Jacob wrestled with a "man". This "man" was an angel. (Hosea 12:3-4).
2.James Hastings (ed.), Dictionary of the Bible, Revised ed., (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1963), p. 334
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