Part 1 of 3: A Defense of the Logos: The Term ‘God’ Truth or Error? The Elohim/Al-lah Becomes Flesh? Can This be a Fair Claim?

Posted By Thomas Perez. June 17, 2012 at 8:40pm. Copyright 2012

Introduction

Before we engage in our Defense, I feel that it is imperative to ask a simple question. The question warrant’s justification of such when discussing; Universalism, Unitarianism, & Ultimate Reconciliation; for far to many within mainstream Christianity call the aforementioned, ‘heresy.’ Upon this accusation, what or who do they base their assumptions of condemnation upon? The Bible? The Qu-ran? Perhaps. Or is it based upon creedal confessions of faith? Or is it based upon their idea of what God (the Who) will’s or demand’s? In this instance, it is fair to claim that such condemnation is based upon what is called “God.”

I use the term “What is called God” loosely.  I do this because there is no such thing as a ‘God’ in the sense of it’s word/renderings; therefore the Divine Logos must be expressed. The Logos exists because the terminology we use to express the ‘Who’ and the ‘What’ is based upon our conceptional perceptions of what we understand as revealed in the Logos (Greek: Λόγος for “word”, “discourse” or “reason”).

Moreover, before a plausible answer is given concerning Universalism, Unitarianism, & Ultimate Reconciliation; it must be understood, by means of a small but insightful study on the word ‘God,’ that the association of such within our Scriptures must be examined. For the word ‘God’ may or may not, though highly probable, be a bastardization of Who this Being really is or what this Being is….Therefore, we begin our study.

A. The Vernacular Word “God

The exact history of the word ‘God’ is unknown. The word ‘God ’ is a relatively new European invention, which was never used in any of the ancient Judaeo-Christian Scripture manuscripts that were written in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, or Latin. The following information on the origin of the word ‘God/god’ will help to understand why we use it in our vernacular.

According to the best efforts of linguists and researchers, the root of the present word ‘God ’ is the Sanskrit word hu which means to call upon, invoke, implore. Nonetheless, it is also interesting to note the similarity to the ancient Persian word for God which is Khoda.

The following is a survey of some of the efforts of those who have been trying to decipher the ancient roots of the word God:

1. Webster’s 1913 Dictionary:

\God\ (g[o^]d), n. [AS. god; akin to OS. & D. god, OHG. got, G. gott, Icel. gu[eth], go[eth], Sw. & Dan. gud, Goth. gup, prob. orig. a p. p. from a root appearing in Skr. h[=u], p. p. h[=u]ta, to call upon, invoke, implore. [root]30. Cf. {Goodbye}, {Gospel}, {Gossip}.]

http://www.hyperdictionary.com/dictionary/god

2. Catholic Encyclopedia:

Etymology of the Word “God”

(Anglo-Saxon God; German Gott; akin to Persian khoda; Hindu khooda).

God can variously be defined as: the proper name of the one Supreme and Infinite Personal Being, the Creator and Ruler of the universe, to whom man owes obedience and worship; the common or generic name of the several supposed beings to whom, in polytheistic religions, Divine attributes are ascribed and Divine worship rendered; the name sometimes applied to an idol as the image or dwelling-place of a god.

The root-meaning of the name (from Gothic root gheu; Sanskrit hub or emu, “to invoke or to sacrifice to”) is either “the one invoked” or “the one sacrificed to.” From different Indo-Germanic roots (div, “to shine” or “give light”; thes in thessasthai “to implore”) come the Indo-Iranian deva, Sanskrit dyaus (gen. divas), Latin deus, Greek theos, Irish and Gaelic dia, all of which are generic names; also Greek Zeus (gen. Dios, Latin Jupiter (jovpater), Old Teutonic Tiu or Tiw (surviving in Tuesday), Latin Janus, Diana, and other proper names of pagan deities. The common name most widely used in Semitic occurs as ‘el in Hebrew, ‘ilu in Babylonian, ‘ilah in Arabic, etc.; and though scholars are not agreed on the point, the root-meaning most probably is “the strong or mighty one.”

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06608x.htm

3. Oxford English Dictionary:

“god (gρd). Also 3-4 godd. [Com. Teut.: OE. god (masc. in sing.; pl. godu, godo neut., godas masc.) corresponds to OFris., OS., Du. god masc., OHG. got, cot (MHG. got, mod.Ger. gott) masc., ON. goð, guð neut. and masc., pl. goð, guð neut. (later Icel. pl. guðir masc.; Sw., Da. gud), Goth. guÞ (masc. in sing.; pl. guÞa, guda neut.). The Goth. and ON. words always follow the neuter declension, though when used in the Christian sense they are syntactically masc. The OTeut. type is therefore *guđom neut., the adoption of the masculine concord being presumably due to the Christian use of the word. The neuter sb., in its original heathen use, would answer rather to L. numen than to L. deus. Another approximate equivalent of deus in OTeut. was *ansu-z (Goth. in latinized pl. form anses, ON. ρss, OE. Ós- in personal names, ésa genit. pl.); but this seems to have been applied only to the higher deities of the native pantheon, never to foreign gods; and it never came into Christian use.

The ulterior etymology is disputed. Apart from the unlikely hypothesis of adoption from some foreign tongue, the OTeut. *gubom implies as its pre-Teut. type either *ghudho-m or *ghutó-m. The former does not appear to admit of explanation; but the latter would represent the neut. of the passive pple. of a root *gheu-. There are two Aryan roots of the required form (both *glheu, with palatal aspirate): one meaning ‘to invoke’ (Skr. hū), the other ‘to pour, to offer sacrifice’ (Skr. hu, Gr. χέειν, OE. yéotan YETE v.). Hence *glhutó-m has been variously interpreted as ‘what is invoked’ (cf. Skr. puru-hūta ‘much-invoked’, an epithet of Indra) and as ‘what is worshipped by sacrifice’ (cf. Skr. hutá, which occurs in the sense ‘sacrificed to’ as well as in that of ‘offered in sacrifice’). Either of these conjectures is fairly plausible, as they both yield a sense practically coincident with the most obvious definition deducible from the actual use of the word, ‘an object of worship’.

Some scholars, accepting the derivation from the root *glheu- to pour, have supposed the etymological sense to be ‘molten image’ (= Gr. χυγόν), but the assumed development of meaning seems very unlikely.

transcribed from The Oxford English Dictionary

4. Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary:

god

\God\ (g[o^]d), n. [AS. god; akin to OS. & D. god, OHG. got, G. gott, Icel. gu[eth], go[eth], Sw. & Dan. gud, Goth. gup, prob. orig. a p. p. from a root appearing in Skr. h[=u], p. p. h[=u]ta, to call upon, invoke, implore. [root]30. Cf. Goodbye, Gospel, Gossip.]

1. A being conceived of as possessing supernatural power, and to be propitiated by sacrifice, worship, etc.; a divinity; a deity; an object of worship; an idol.

He maketh a god, and worshippeth it. –Is. xliv. 15.

The race of Israel…bowing lowly down To bestial gods. – Milton.

2. The Supreme Being; the eternal and infinite Spirit, the Creator, and the Sovereign of the universe; Jehovah.

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=god

5. American Heritage Dictionary:

GOD

NOUN: 1. God a. A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions. b. The force, effect, or a manifestation or aspect of this being. 2. A being of supernatural powers or attributes, believed in and worshiped by a people, especially a male deity thought to control some part of nature or reality. 3. An image of a supernatural being; an idol. 4. One that is worshiped, idealized, or followed: Money was their god. 5. A very handsome man. 6. A powerful ruler or despot.

ETYMOLOGY: Middle English, from Old English. See gheu: in APPENDIX I

APPENDIX I: ENTRY: gheu

DEFINITION: To call, invoke. Oldest form *heu – becoming *gheu – in centum languages. Suffixed zero-grade form *ghu-to-, “the invoked,” god. a. god, from Old English god, god; b. giddy, from Old English gydig, gidig, possessed, insane, from Germanic *gud-iga-, possessed by a god; c. götterdämmerung, from Old High German got, god. a–c all from Germanic *gudam, god. (Pokorny hau- 413.)

http://www.bartleby.com/61/21/G0172100.html

6. Craig Bluemel

The English word for “God” has become a source of confusion for Christians since at least the Anglo-Saxon era. Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary says that the origin of the word ‘god’ comes from a Germanic word ‘gad,’ pronounced as “gohdt.”

GOD – The English word God is identical with the Anglo-Saxon word for “good,” and therefore it is believed that the name God refers to the divine goodness. (See Oehler’s Theol. of Old Test.; Strong’s and Young’s concordances.) (From New Unger’s Bible Dictionary) (Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (C) 1988.)

(Christian Apologetics Research Ministry) Permit me to add this notation: A rebuttal was answered concerning an article on Bluemel’s website by myself  (Part 1 and 2 A Rebuttal Against Craig Bluemel. Universal Salvation: The Big Lie???)

7. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia on the Words ‘El’, ‘Elohim’ and ‘Eloah’

1. ‘El’: In the group of Semitic languages, the most common word for Deity is El (‘el’), represented by the Babylonian ilu and the Arabic ‘Allah’. It is found throughout the Old Testament, but more often in Job and Psalms than in all the other books. It occurs seldom in the historical books, and not at all in Leviticus. The same variety of derivations is attributed to it as to ELOHIM, most probable of which is the Hebrew root word ‘ul’, meaning, “to be strong.” Brown, Driver, and Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament interprets ‘ul’ as meaning “to be in front,” from which came ‘ayil’, “ram” the one in front of the flock, and ‘elah’, “the prominent.”

8. “Elohim:” Strong’s Dictionary of the OT defines elohim as follows:

430 ‘elohiym’ (el-o-heem’); plural of 433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative (superlative means ‘Most excellent’; of the Highest order; greatest; superior or Supreme; magnificent; pre-eminent; foremost; unsurpassed; unequaled): KJV– angels, X exceeding, God (gods)- dess, -ly), X (very) great, judges, X mighty.

433 ‘elowahh (el-o’-ah; rarely (shortened) ‘eloahh’ (el-o’-ah); probably prolonged (emphatic) from 410; a deity or the Deity: KJV– God, god. See 430.

410 ‘el (ale); shortened from 352; strength; as adjective, mighty; especially the Almighty (but used also of any deity): KJV– God (god), X goodly, X great, idol, might (-y one), power, strong. Compare names in “-el.”

B. Uncertain Origin of Elohim

According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Electronic Database Copyright (C) 1996 by Biblesoft….

“The derivation of elohim is quite uncertain. Gesenius, Ewald and others find its origin in ‘ul’, meaning, “to be strong.” The Hebrew ‘ul’ is derived from ‘ayil’, meaning, “ram” and ‘elah,’ meaning, “terebinth.”

Elohim is then an expanded plural form of ‘el’; others trace it to ‘Allah,’ meaning, “to terrify.” The singular form is found in the infrequent Hebrew word ‘eloah,’ which occurs chiefly in poetical books. Elohim. In form, the word is a masculine plural of a word that looks feminine in the singular (Eloha).

Brown, Driver, and Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament inclines to the derivation being from ‘alah,’ meaning, “to be strong.” They contend ‘alah’ as the root of the three forms, ‘El’, ‘Eloah,’ and ‘Elohim,’ although admitting that the whole question is involved in uncertainty”.

The origin of the Hebrew word elohim must always lie in doubt, since the derivation is prehistoric, and the name, with its kindred words ‘El’ and ‘Eloah’, is common to Semitic languages and religions and beyond the range of Hebrew records.

It is the reasonable conclusion that the meaning is “might” or “power”; that it is common to Semitic language; that the form is plural to express majesty or “all-mightiness,” and that it is a generic, rather than a specific personal, name for Deity, as is indicated by its application to those who represent the Deity (Judges 5:8; Psalms 82:1) or who are in His presence (1 Samuel 28:13).

‘Eloah’: The singular form of the preceding name, ‘Eloah’, is confined in its use almost exclusively to poetry, or to poetic expression, being characteristic of the Book of Job, occurring more often in that book than in all other parts of the Old Testament. It is, in fact, found in Job more often than the ordinary plural ‘Elohim’. For derivation and meaning see above under 1 (2). Compare also the Aramaic form, ‘elah’, found frequently in Ezra and Daniel.

The most common words used on the OT for God, are “elohim,” and “el.” Both Hebrew words indicate, “might, strength, most excellent’; of the highest order; greatest; superior or supreme; magnificent; pre-eminent; foremost; unsurpassed; unequaled.”

Since the OT words used for the Supreme deity have the basic meaning of, “strength,” why did the King James and other English translators used the word “God” instead? The translators could have translated the word “elohim” as “the mighty One of mighty ones,” or “the Strongest One.”

In like manner, Bible translators could have translated the Hebrew word “el” as “one with strength” or “the Strong one.” Rather than be true to the Hebrew meanings, for some unknown reason, the King James and subsequent translators have used the Anglo-Saxon word “God,” which means “the invoked one.”

The NT is much less complex in its use of words for “God.” The NT manuscripts are primarily in Greek, with the exception of some Aramaic. The King James Version and other Bible translators have blundered by using a generic word, “God” to refer to the Almighty.

The problem with associating the Almighty with lesser deities is more than mere semantics. When the Logos inspired both OT and NT writers to pen the inspired text of scripture, He knew the importance of word meanings.

It is NOT BY ACCIDENT that the Logos used the Hebrew word ‘Elohim’ and the Greek word ‘Theos’ as the primary word to describe Himself (as if to show the futility of such). Elohim and Theos are virtually identical in meaning, and to translate both words with an Indo-European bastard language is taking away from our understanding of Him as The Strong One, or as our Source of Strength. And quite possibly this same Logos use’s the word Al-lah to express an attribute of Himself.

A word on the word ‘Allah:’

However, it must be understood that the term Allāh is derived from a contraction of the Arabic definite article al- “the” and ʾilāh “deity, god” to al-lāh meaning “the [sole] deity, God” (ὁ θεὸς μόνος, ho theos monos). L. Gardet, Allah, Encyclopaedia of Islam. These contractions are called Cognates.

Cognates (in linguistics, cognates are words that have a common etymological origin). Etymological meaning the study of Etymology, is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time. By an extension, the term “etymology (of a word)” means the origin of a particular word.

Coganates of the name “Allāh” exist in other Semitic languages, including Hebrew and Aramaic.

Columbia Encyclopaedia says: Derived from an old Semitic root referring to the Divine and used in the Canaanite El, the Mesopotamian ilu, and the biblical Elohim and Eloah, the word Allah is used by all Arabic-speaking Muslims, Christians, Jews, and other monotheists.

Biblical Hebrew mostly uses the plural form (but functional singular) Elohim. The corresponding Aramaic form is ʼĔlāhā in Biblical Aramaic and ʼAlâhâ in Syriac as used by the Assyrian Church, both meaning simply “God”.

The Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon

In the Sikh scriptures, Guru Granth Sahib, the term Allah (Punjabi) is used 46 times respectively. The name was previously used by pagan Meccans as a reference to a creator deity, possibly the supreme deity in pre-Islamic Arabia.

L. Gardet, “Allah”, Encyclopedia of Islam

Smith, Peter (2000). “prayer”. A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá’í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 274–275.

The concepts associated with the term Allah (as a deity) differ among religious traditions. In pre-Islamic Arabia amongst pagan Arabs, Allah was not considered the sole divinity, having associates and companions, sons and daughters–a concept that was deleted under the process of Islamization. In Islam, the name Allah is the supreme and all-comprehensive divine name, and all other divine names are believed to refer back to Allah.

Murata, Sachiko (1992). The Tao of Islam : a sourcebook on gender relationships in Islamic thought.

Allah is unique, the only Deity, creator of the universe and omnipotent.

Allah.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopedia Britannica

Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa

Arab Christians today use terms such as Allāh al-ʾAb (“God the Father”) to distinguish their usage from Muslim usage.

Lewis, Bernard; Holt, P. M.; Holt, Peter R.; Lambton, Ann Katherine Swynford (1977). The Cambridge history of Islam. Cambridge, Eng: University Press. p. 32

There are both similarities and differences between the concept of God as portrayed in the Qur’an and the Hebrew Bible.

F.E. Peters, Islam, p.4, Princeton University Press, 2003

It has also been applied to certain living human beings as personifications of the term and concept.

Nation of Islam – personification of Allah as Detroit peddler W D Fard  

“A history of Clarence 13X and the Five Percenters”, referring to Clarence Smith as Allah

There is absolutely no question that Allah was worshiped by the pagan Arabs as one of many polytheistic gods. Allah was worshiped in the Kabah at Mecca before Muhammad was born. Muhammad merely proclaimed a god the Meccans were already familiar with. The pagan Arabs never accused Muhammad of preaching a different Allah than the one they already worshiped.

1. Many scholars say “Allah” is derived from a compound Arabic word, AL + ILAH = Allah. “Ilah” in Arabic is “God” and “Al” in Arabic is a definite article like our word “the”. So from an English equivalent “Allah” comes from “The + God”. Others, like Arthur Jeffery say, “The common theory is that it is formed from ilah, the common word for a god, and the article al-; thus al-ilah, the god,” becomes Allah, “God.” This theory, however, is untenable. In fact, the name is one of the words borrowed into the language in pre-Islamic times from Aramaic.” (Islam: Muhammad and His Religion, Arthur Jeffery, 1958, p 85)

2. Although “Allah” has become known as the proper name for the Muslim God, Allah is not a name, but a descriptor that means literally, “the God”. All pagan cultures have these generic terms that refer to their “top god” as “the god”. In comparison to the perfect monotheism of Judaism and Christianity, “Allah” was originally no more a proper name for the Muslim God, than the word Hebrew “Elohim” (God) or Greek “Theos” (God) are proper names of the one true Being of the Bible (that is when He shows Himself). “JHVH or Jehovah” seems to be the only revealed name for the “Elohim” (plurality of God’s) of the Old Testament (Ex 3:13; 6:3) and “Jesus,”or the Logos, is the only revealed proper name of “Theos” in the New Testament (Acts 4:12). Islam has no proper name for their God, but merely transformed His name by universal use and cognates. Thus generic Allah a proper name. So although today, Muslims use “Allah” as a proper name, it was never used this way originally. Allah, therefore is equivalent to “elohim” and “ho theos” but not “JHVH/Jehovah” or “Jesus”. However, Muslims will claim that Allah is the name of God that corresponds to Jehovah. However, if they continue to insinuate such wouldn’t it be also fair to say that both the Father and the Son are called “ho theos” (The God). Jesus is called “The God” many times in the New Testament: John 20:28; Heb 1:8. An important conclusion from this, is that the mere fact that “Allah” is equivalent to “elohim” and “ho theos” – which by all definition means a name and a title/descriptor – they must be one and the same. Therefore anything more or less is argumentative & based on who’s linguistically correct; us or them, them or us. Certainly, the title God is incorrect form both sides. you and  does not mean they are directly corresponded. It certainly doesn’t prove Allah is the same as the God of the Old or New Testament. It also doesn’t prove that JHVH is the God the Old or New Testaments. Why you may ask? Because, the Indo-European title ‘God’ is a relatively new Descriptor of the Almighty and thus does not apply or hold any water. It does not prove that Muslim’s worship the same God as Christians or the other way around. However, it does necessitate an opposite explanation concerning the name of this Being – who never called itself “God”, but rather a Name – EL originally in ancient times before Moses. I’ am that I’ am is not a descriptor, but an actual name. Thus in time, this EL revealed that Eternal Logos which is now revealed in Christ Jesus.

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