When God says “We” in Genesis, is He talking about the Trinity or He and His creatures?
Could use some help…
[quote=rjfern0407]Could use some help…
You could also be a little more precise…
[quote=Pentecost2005]You could also be a little more precise…
Let me rephrase that. Could some help from someone who knows what they’re talking about…
I don’t think that there is really a definitive answer to that. Personally, it seems that when God uses the plural when speaking of himself in the old testament (“Let us make man in our own image…”), it is probably a foreshadowing of the doctrine of the Trinity.
It was too soon in God’s revelation of Himself to mankind to give a complete revelation. First He had to preserve monotheism before He could give us some inkling of His own inner life of the Trinity. That revelation came fully only with Jesus, but it seems to be foreshadowed in the OT.
There are three teachings I’ve heard about this.
- Yes, it is the Trinity
- No, He was talking to the angels
- No, He was using the Royal “We”
The Trinity is a mystery of faith in the strict sense, one of the “mysteries that are hidden in God, which can never be known unless they are revealed by God.” To be sure, God has left traces of his Trinitarian being in his work of creation and in his Revelation throughout the Old Testament. But his inmost Being as Holy Trinity is a mystery that is inaccessible to reason alone or even to Israel’s faith before the Incarnation of God’s Son and the sending of the Holy Spirit.
I’ve heard 3 explanations.
First, there is the Majesticatus Pluralis (i.e. the “Royal We”).
Our Sages also teach that by saying “Let us…” God was speaking to/consulting the angelic host (see I Kings 22:20-23, Isaiah 6:8, note the use of “us”, Job 1:6-12). God certainly does not need the angels’ help or advice but He speaks to them out of courtesy and modesty. (Our Sages deduce from this that a great person should always act humbly and consult those lower than him/her.) One of our Sages says that God thus “consulted” the angels at this stage because they were jealous of man, that man and not they would be the pinnacle of creation.
Our Sages offer another explanation. They note that in 1:11, God said, “Let the earth put forth grass…” and in 1:24, He said “Let the earth bring forth the living creature…” Thus, in 1:26, our Sages suggest that God was speaking to the earth when He said, “Let us make man…” In effect, He said to the earth: Let us be partners in making man. I will provide the soul and you will provide the body. When the man dies, we will each reclaim our respective parts. (See Ecclesiastes 12:7, “And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns unto God who gave it.”) (Note: Our Sages are offering homilies & parables here, the value of which is in the ideas that they teach.)