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Deut. 6:4 -‘The Shema’ and The Trinity

by Dr. D ~

Q: See Deuteronomy 6:4–How can God be Three as Christians teach, if The Shema clearly states that God is One?

A: Rather than being a problem for Christians, I have always viewed ‘The Shema’ (Deut.6:4) with awe and wonder, how well the mystery of the ‘Triune God’ can easily fit into this passage.

Christians believe that the Trinity (The Father, The Son, & The Holy Spirit) is One. The ‘Shema’ states that: “Yahweh our Eloheynuw is One”. The root word for ‘Eloheynuw’ is ‘Elohim’. Elohim is the ‘plural’ form of ‘El’ (God), a general name for the Divine. It is traditionally translated as: ‘gods’, ‘judges’, or ‘God’–depending solely upon the context.

When ‘Elohim’ is referring to (according to the context) other deities, it is translated–‘gods’. When it is referring to ‘Yahweh’ (Heb. personal name for God) it is translated–‘God’. When the context refers to humans of authority, especially those of religious authority, it is translated–‘judges’. Elohim appears in one form or another–2,597 times in the Hebrew Scriptures (Ot). Most of the time it is referring to Yahweh & translated–‘God’, several hundred times it is referring to other gods & translated–‘gods’, and a handful of times it is referring to humans of authority and translated–‘judges’.

The point is, I believe that ‘Eloheynuw’ (plural) allows for the possibility of the Trinity rather than precluding it. Any Rabbi or Jewish teacher will argue against such an understanding, of coarse. However, see how well it really fits into the Christian understanding of God:

Our ‘Eloheynuw’ (pl) God is One.

Our ‘Triune’ (pl) God is One.

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