© Jeff Stacey | Last updated: 29 January 2016
The Hebrew word used for GOD was initially elohim (32 times in GEN 1:1 – 2:3) [1A1] and then yahweh elohim (20 times in GEN 2:4 – 3:24). But the meaning of these words was not explained any further. Yahweh elohim was then abbreviated in GEN 4:1 – 6:8 to either yahweh (16 times) or again to elohim (7 times).
2A1(sub-title) Yahweh, who is infinite, unique, perfect, spiritual, relational, generous and purposeful
It was now revealed that “Yahweh” is God’s name Gen 4:26b.1 But yahweh is always translated in the NIV as “the LORD”. This is traditional but somewhat confusing. It blurs the fact that this is God’s name rather than a descriptive title for Him.2
Hebrew names often represented aspects of a person’s character or reputation. Being God’s name, Yahweh “is synonymous with His person, His presence and His power, and is therefore held in the highest honour”.3 So the name Yahweh was in itself a comprehensive expression of God’s own nature.
Seven general attributes of God’s nature have already been derived from Genesis 1 – 3 in Chart 1A. God’s name Yahweh has now been added to head this list of His attributes. How these attributes were expressed TO and THROUGH people is again summarized under the same three headings as in Chart 1A [1A3(s)]: as His power, perfection and love.
2A1(a) The Spirit of God
The Spirit of God was only mentioned once previously Gen 1:2b. There a role of carrying out God’s creation commands was implied [1A1(b)(iv)]. Otherwise the identity of the Spirit of God was not revealed. But now another new insight was given Gen 6:3a. It was stated that God’s Spirit “contended with” and/or was “within” people (see NIV footnote).
This at least indicated that God’s Spirit continued to be active within His creation after it had been completed and even after the FALL. Most significantly, this involved direct interactions with people, who were the central and most important feature of all of God’s creation. While this further showed that the nature of God (and of people) is spiritual, any further details of the nature of the Spirit of God remained a mystery.
2A1(b) Negative and positive effects of God’s responses to people
After the FALL, the expression of God’s nature as perfection included several negative effects on people [1B29, 1B31 and 1B32]. Yet these were tempered by God’s nature of love, expressed as His grace and mercy [see 2A8(c), 2B29(a, b) and 2B31(c, d, f)].
1. “Yahweh” is derived from the Hebrew root word YHWH (the pronunciation depending on the vowels adopted). It occurs over 6700 times in the OT: 20 times in GEN 2:4 – 3:24 (Charts 1A and 1B) and 16 times in GEN 4:1 – 6:8 (Charts 2A and 2B).(Return to reading).
2. The Hebrew word adonai is used in the OT about 450 times to mean “lord” as a descriptive title or honorific form of address, applied not only to God but also to various people.(Return to reading).
3. The NIV Thematic Study Bible, New International Version (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1996), items 5042 and 5043, page 1501.(Return to reading).