The Trinitarian View
The next question we will take a look at is the question surrounding the word "Elohim". Most trinitarians won't even use this argument anymore because they have finally figured out that it presents much more difficulty to their plurality doctrine then it does to our absolute doctrine. In fact, it presents no problem at all to our oneness belief. When you have true understanding of what's being written here, it's not a problem for oneness believers or true monotheism - which the Jews were the original believers of. The Jews have no problem calling God Elohim, yet they are as monotheistic as it comes. Let's examine the case.
The Trinitarian Question
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. The Hebrew word for the word "God" used here is "Elohim". Elohim is the actual translation. The argument that the trinitarian will use to show us multiple persons in the Godhead is the fact that this word "Elohim" can be used in the plural. They will be quick to show us how this word "can be" used in the plural form, but neglect to mention anything else about the word. They drop their little bit of information and then, as fast as they can, scurry off onto the next topic. This is the tactic. Let us hold them here on this topic for a while before letting them lead us on a wild goose chase through the scriptures.
The Trinitarian Dilemma
What they forget to mention is another very important fact about this word, "Elohim". This word, while able to be used in the plural, is in and of itself not a plural word. It can also be used in the singular form. In fact, it is more often used in the singular form than it is in the plural. Elohim is a noun that is compatible to plural or singular language. Let's examine the word itself.
A Lesson in Language
The "im" at the end of the word Elohim is a Hebrew suffix denoting plurality. It is like when we see the words Seraphim, Nephilim or Cherubim. The "im" in the Hebrew acts the same way that the "s" does for the English language. Adding an "s" is usually an indication of plurality in the English language. With that understood, we should also understand that this rule does not apply to every word in either language, Hebrew or English, respectively.
The English word "deer" is singular when you see a deer in the woods, and it is Plural when you see a group of deer. No "s" is necessary to signify plurality.. This is one example of a word that is used both in plural and singular forms. You would never say you saw a group of "deers". Another example of this is the English word "aircraft". The word aircraft can accurately be applied to one plane as an aircraft, or to a fleet of planes as aircraft. Boeing is not a manufacturer of "aircrafts", they build "aircraft".
More specifically, look at the word "species". It ends in an "s" so should we assume that because it does it is an absolute plural? "Species" is one of those funny words that can be used in both the plural and the singular form. "There are many different 'species' of animals on the earth", is an accurate statement in the plural form, because I am referring to the abundance of different kinds of animals that are resident upon this planet. Another statement that is true is; "the specific 'species' that this animal comes from is the aardvark." This time the word "species" is also accurately applied, but in reference to a specific type of animal, therefore making it singular. If we are going to employ this word in the singular, should we drop the "s"? Of course, not. It is just part of the word, singular or plural.
There are many other words like this. Moose, fish, you, pants, shorts, eyeglasses, offspring, scissors, shrimp, elk, corps, premises and series are like this, to name a few. These are all words that can be used in either form. Even though the "series" ends in an "s" you would not drop the "s" when I talking about one of them. It is not accurate to say "one'serie"'. It would be series, either way. When using it as a plural and group many of them together, you would never say "serieses". This would be a major grammatical mistake. It is series whether it is one or 1,000.
Back to Elohim
The Hebrew word "Elohim" is much the same as some of the English words we just examined. It can be used in either the plural or singular form accurately. If it was only a plural word then the translators to English would have had no choice but to translate it as "Gods" instead of "God" as they did. Though in Hebrew the word "Elohim" can be used in this plural form, the English counterpart "God" cannot. We can translate this word as one or the other, plural or singular. Our word "God" cannot be applied to a group of deities, but only to a single deity. Where the bible uses the word "Elohim" it translates it one way or the other, not both.
If we are to take the word of the trinitarians here and use the "Elohim" in the plural, then it would be necessary to translate it as "Gods" instead of "God", because the word "God" cannot be used in the plural form. "In the beginning 'Gods' created the heaven and the earth." So I guess our accusation of the trinitarians belief in 3 gods is accurate after all. Remember, it cannot be used in both forms at the same time. It is either singular or plural. So... which one is it? Is He one God or is He three? There is no way to use this stance to support three persons, because it cannot be plural in form and singular in form at the same time. I'd say this is a dilemma for the plurality proponents.
When looking at the word "Elohim" the thought of monotheism comes to question right away. The very definition of monotheism does more than suggest the absolute oneness of God. The Jews, who were the original believers in a monotheistic faith, reject any reference to God in three persons as completely pagan and tri-theistic. It is impossible to have three persons within one God and still be truly monotheistic. True monotheism is the belief that there is only one God. While a trinitarian may say they fall under that category, "three persons" is nowhere found under these definitional margins. It is either one God or three persons, but it cannot be both.
Correct Form Identification
Since the word "Elohim" can be used in either the singular or plural form, in order to identify its correct form, we must first identify its correct usage. The word in and of itself cannot be the determining factor to its correct form, since it can be used in both ways. The way we identify which form an irregular noun is being used in is by identifying the form of the verbs and adjectives surrounding it.
The English verb "created" has the same form in the singular and in the plural. The sense, however, is clearly seen when a pronoun is attached (he created, or they created). In Hebrew, the singular and plural of this verb are two different forms. This verse uses the singular form (bara, "he created"). This verb, then, prevents the interpreter from considering only the form of the English verb. One must look at the sense, otherwise a wrong interpretation will be attached to the verse. In the Hebrew text of Genesis 1:1, both the form and the sense of the verb "created" are singular. There is no possibility of a different understanding of that verb. By itself, it means "he created.
Armed with this understanding, it is impossible to misinterpret the scripture that uses the word "Elohim". We see that it is one who created, all throughout Isaiah's prophecies. The Lord leaves it up to no interpretation when He says that He created everything "alone" or "by Himself". Connecting the understanding given throughout the bible on this "aloneness" of God, we can clearly determine that this creator in Genesis 1:1, the 'Elohim", is just one and not three. This "aloneness" shows us true "oneness".
Who Exactly Is "Elohim"?
Elohim has not only been used to identify God, but in other cases within the text of scripture it has been used to identify many other things as well. Elohim does not refer only to the Most High God. In the Canaanite religion they referred to deity in general as Elohim, not just Jehovah. Pagan gods were called Elohim, men and angels were called Elohim, and Jesus was even called Elohim, prophetically.
If we read one of Isaiah's many prophecies concerning the Messiah we will see Jesus being called Elohim. In Isaiah 40:3 we see Isaiah giving a prophetic word concerning John the Baptist. He is saying that this man John would come and make straight the highway of our God. This is a clear reference to John's ministry making the way straight for Christ as it clearly shows us in the New Testament and confessed by John's own words (Jn. 1:23). Since we know that this is the plot that is being foretold by the prophet, let us take a closer look. Who is John actually making the way straight for? "The voice of him that cries in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God." He is making the highway straight for "God". John is preparing the way for "Elohim".
Here we see Jesus clearly being called Elohim. Now, the immediate, overzealous and hair-triggered response you will get from a trinitarian is that this simply shows Jesus to be a part of Elohim. The problem with this argument is that again this word is used in the singular form disqualifying anyone else from being part of this equation. Further, if "Elohim" is a reference to multiplicity, as they will quickly point out concerning Genesis 1:1, then we must conclude here that Jesus is actually more than one person. We must assume that what Isaiah was actually saying was that John was making way for all three persons of the Godhead, not just the second person (God the Son). Whoa! Let's slow down. That destroys the triune stance on too many issues at one time. We'll save some for the other chapters.
Other "Elohim" References
Pagan gods were called Elohim (Ex. 12:12,1 Ki. 11:33). These references are used in both singular and plural form. We see in Exodus a reference to "the gods of Egypt". This is a plural use of the word. Egypt was a nation of many Gods. In 1 Kings, however, we see a reference to Chemosh, "the god of Moab". This is used in the singular. It referred to one deity of the Moabites. We surely are not going to consider that these "gods" are equal to our God, are we?
In Exodus 4:16, Moses is told that Aaron would be to him for a mouth, while he would be for a god (Elohim) to Aaron. First, the form of Elohim is plural, yet Moses was clearly one person — not a group or family of beings. This is sufficient to indicate the distinction that must be drawn between the form and the sense of a word. Second, Moses was to be like Elohim to Aaron, only in the sense that he would be in a position of more authority and respect. The same expression is used in 7:1, where Moses is told that he would be like Elohim to Pharaoh.
All throughout the proverbs and psalms, in verses that used 'Elohim", it was employed in the singular form. When you look at angels they were called "Elohim" in a number of places. We would never argue that they were Gods. Jacobs' ladder had the angels running up and down it. Scripture referred to them as Elohim, also. We would never argue that this was many Gods. Was it Father, Son, and Holy Ghost manifesting in the form of a plethora of different angels?
The witch of Endor brought "Elohim" up out of the earth to meet Saul (1 Sam. 28:13). This wasn't Jehovah; this was demons that they called Elohim. Now are demons a trinity? Do we believe the devil is a trinity? Do we believe the devil is the father, son and "un"holy spirit, or is he just an angel? He's just an angel. Are angel's trinities? Well no. Are demons trinities? NO! Then why are they all called Elohim? So why is it when it comes to the devil, angels, demons, pagan gods, Moses and prophetic views of Jesus, they can be called Elohim and still be one, but when it comes to the one true God, He has to be three when Elohim is His title? That's very hypocritical and it really backfires on the trinitarian when looking at it in light of scripture.
The word "El" is singular and it's a standard term for God. This is the base or root of the word, "elohim". When you use it with a plural word it means gods, when you use it with a singular verb it means god. The God of Israel was always talked about as singular. The gods of the nations, because the people were pagan and believed in more than one god, in a lot of cases were called Elohim. Why? Elohim was the only word for god that you could use in the plural form. When you use the word Jehovah, that's the name of God and they wouldn't have dared to say that was plural. The only word that they had to use, calling something a god, was Elohim meaning there were more than one. So when you’re talking about pagan gods there are thousands of gods, the only word that they could come up with was Elohim because it was the only one that meant "god" but was still plural.
Will The Real Elohim Stand Up?
Here's where it really comes down to it. Psalm 82:1 says "God stands in the congregation of the mighty and judges among the gods." Now, scripture uses "Elohim" in reference to both the "God" (Jehovah) and "the gods" (false gods). God (Elohim) stands in the congregation of the mighty, among the gods (Elohim). So wait a minute, in the same verse we have Elohim used as singular and plural. Is this a contradiction in scripture? Of course the bible doesn't contradict itself. What this specific scripture shows us is the One Almighty God standing in authority among all the false gods as the One Supreme Being in the entire universe. It refers to Jehovah in the singular form of Elohim, God. It refers to the false gods in the plural form of Elohim, gods.
Elohim is meant in plurality only when it's used with plural verbs that would show or denote plurality for the one they are talking about. If you go into a pagan nation where they believe in many gods you would use the word Elohim because it means "gods". But when you use it in the singular form it simply means "God". "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Gen. 1:1).
The thing we need to realize here is if we are going to use "gods" (plural) for Jehovah then we need to use "gods" (plural) for Jehovah everywhere. Don't just pick and choose where it's convenient for your doctrine. If it's going to be plural it's got to be plural everywhere. It either fits in the scriptures or not. We can't pick and choose where we're going to put it. You've got to put it everywhere or don't put it anywhere. In the beginning "gods" created the heaven and the earth. How many exactly were there?
When God said He stretched forth the heavens by Himself, Where were the "Gods"? Isn't this a contradiction to scripture? We are saying that He is plural but God Himself is saying that He is singular? Who shall we believe? Should we believe the prophet Isaiah who God spoke through mightily and under a holy unction of the Holy Spirit wrote the words of God, or should we believe the trinitarians who are trying to fit the bible into their view for over 1,700 years now?
Armed with this understanding, it is very easy to see how the word Elohim can be used in both forms and still be correctly applied to the one true God. The Jews had no problem with their own language nor do they have a problem with the doctrine of monotheism.
Elohim is not a plural word. When used in the plural form concerning God, "Elohim" simply means God, in His majesty. Let's say we do use the plural. We need to understand that this doesn't hurt us, it helps us. To say the plural form should automatically assume more than one person is a contradiction to so many scriptures that refer to God as one. "Hear o Israel the Lord our God is one Lord" (Deut. 6:4). Too many verses of the bible refer to an absolute numerical oneness of God for us even consider plurality of persons. It is nowhere in scripture and should be dismissed based upon the lack of evidence found in scripture.
When the bible does use the Plural form of Elohim in reference to the one true God it is showing royal majesty. I'll give you an example, when the queen of England stands up to speak and says "We come in peace" She's the only one standing there talking. Who exactly is "we"? She, as the royal leader of her nation, speaks on behalf of all of her nation. It's the royal majesty, it's what some people have called the royal we, or the divine council. In other words, she's not speaking only for herself but everything that is under her. She is speaking as the leader, as the queen, as the ruler over all that is hers.
The same is true with God. When God is referred to in the plural form, it is not denoting His plurality of persons, but the majesty of His person. The scripture tells us that God works everything according to the council with his own will (Eph. 1:11). Does that mean that God councils himself? No. It simply means that His will is enough. He doesn't need anybody else's decisions. He doesn't need anybody else to make up his mind for him. The only council He needs is His own thoughts. Now does that mean two things? Him and His will are two separate things? No it's not two separate things, its saying that He doesn't need anybody or anything. He makes his own decisions and His is the final decision.
When you're looking at Elohim in the plural form concerning the Almighty God all it is saying is that He comes in the majesty of His entire kingdom. He comes and He speaks for everything that He has ever done, everything that He has ever created, every action He has ever taken, He speaks for all of it. Because everything He has ever done is perfect. Everything He has ever done is royalty. Everything He has ever done was with the council of His own will.
Whether we see "Elohim" used in the singular (much more common) form or in the less common plural form we understand that God is only one Spirit, one being and should be understood as a single Deity in every sense of the word. To use the argument that "Elohim" shows us the trinity is a very shaky stance to take. Nowhere else in scripture is "Elohim" used to show multiplicity of persons within one deity; not even the pagans did that. Trinitarians are treading upon ground that no Jew or Apostolic age Christian ever walked concerning the doctrine of the Godhead. The "Elohim" argument was a far stretch to find something plural about God to stabilize their doctrine. It is a staff they should never have picked up during this dangerous walk, for all it has done is crumble in their hands. The triune doctrine is no more sturdy with this included than it was without it. In fact, it is actually weaker. I think it is time they finally walk in a different direction, away from it. The ground is much more solid over here.