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Genesis 1.26

  

Genesis 1:26 is often used to prove the supposed plural nature of the God-head. The
NASB translation of the hebrew text reads thus:

Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’

Because the words “Us” and “Our” are used here it is assumed that God is speaking to other persons within his own God-head. I, on the other hand, do not think this is a valid conclusion in light of God’s unequivocal declaration to his oneness. A bet- ter conclusion is to see the “Us” here as referring to God and to the angels that stand before the him in heaven. Support for this view can be found in a parallel passage in Isaiah 6:8

Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’

Since Seraphim are mentioned in the preceding verses, I think it is safe to conclude that the “Us” here refers to the Lord and to the Seraphim. Returning to Genesis 1:26, further support for this conclusion can be seen in one of the targums to Genesis 1:26. The aramaic text of Pseudo-Jonathan reads thus:

pseudo-jonathan.png

My translation: And God said to the angels that serve before him, that were creat- ed on the second day of the creation of the world, let us make man in our image, as our likeness, and they shall rule over the fish of the sea, and over the bird that is in the open space of heaven, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.

Though this targum is hardly a literal translation of the hebrew text, it shows that some Jews understood that the plurality of Genesis 1:26 refers to God and to the angels that serve him.

3 Responses to “Genesis 1.26”

  1. on 12 Jul 2007 at 11:11 amKarl

    The aramaic text came out backwards

  2. on 12 Jul 2007 at 11:41 amJohnO

    Fixed… made it an image – it didn’t want to copy and paste nicely

  3. on 12 Jul 2007 at 11:51 amKarl

    good job, looks good

  

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