HOUSMAIL HM#133    Is God Plural in Genesis 1:26?                                                               February 2012


Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’” (Gen 1:26)


In this passage, the original Hebrew word for God is “elohim”’. Hebrew scholars tell us tht when Hebrew nouns have the suffix “im” it normally indicates that the noun is plural and male.


Trinitarians often use this passage to try to claim that the use of the word “US” is “proof” of their trinitarian doctrine.


Actually this is a serious abuse of the Hebrew Grammar!


In Hebrew, “elohim” is one of a number of nouns ending with the suffix “im”, which are BOTH singular and plural. e.g. Panim = face or faces, and Mayim = water or waters.


You can’t tell which is intended, until you check out the verbs and pronouns which accompany them.


If the noun is intended to be read as singular, it will have singular verbs and pronouns associated with it. And if it is plural, it will have plural verbs and pronouns.


Confusing? It shouldn’t be. There are quite a few English words where we cope with the same problem readily enough! e.g. If I say “the sheep is in the paddock” you know there is only one. But if I say “the sheep are in the paddock”, you know there is more than one.


In the case of Genesis 1:26 Hebrew scholars tell us that we can be certain that “elohim” is meant to be understood as SINGULAR because the verb “said” which accompanies it is singular. (1)


On the other hand, the verb “make” which accompanies the “US” is PLURAL - Indicating that (singular) “elohim” is talking to a GROUP (plural) of several other parties who are present with him at the creation. (2)


So who is this singular “elohim” who is speaking to the plural “us”? And who is the plural “us” to whom the singular “elohim” is speaking?


Is it the trinity of the Mainstream Church? Or is there another more rational and satisfying answer?


We are not left in doubt about the identity of this “elohim” and those others who comprise the “us”, who were present together at the Creation. The answer is in Job 38:7. (3) Job tells us who the “us” really is. And it is NOT the trinity!!


It is what some refer to as “the heavenly counsel” ……. “all the sons of God” ……. The angels who were present with God at the creation and sang for joy at what they saw.






My Hebrew is very basic, so I had to check this point with my good friend Anthony Buzzard, who used to teach Hebrew at Atlanta Bible College.

I asked

In the phrase "God said, let us make man in our image ...... etc." in Genesis 1:26, is the Hebrew verb "said" rma, amar, plural or singular?


Anthony replied

The verb is absolutely singular in Gen 1:26!   God is thousands and thousands of times a singular person as a singular personal pronoun announces!


Wikipedia says

“In the Hebrew Bible Elohim, when meaning the God of Israel, is mostly grammatically singular. Even in Genesis 1:26 "Then God said (singular verb),  'Let us make (plural verb) man in our image, after our likeness'." Elohim is singular.




Then the LORD (Yahweh) answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,

Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?

Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.

Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.

Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?

Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;

When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:7)