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Reading many questions relating to mine and the comments that were given, made me wonder.

When Elohim thought of creating the human being (Bereshit 1:26) He spoke (singular): “Let Us make… and after Our Tzelem and Our Demut” But verse 27 and 5:1 shows that Elohim made (singular) the human being after His Tzelem and His Demut. Why did Elohim refer to Us and Our, when in fact it was He and His?

marked as duplicate by Monica Cellio Mar 1 '15 at 20:46

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  • You have at least three questions here: one about the plural (which appears to be a duplicate), one about the specific case of "we" in the creation of Adam, and one about Adam being created "male and female". I'm putting this on hold for now; I suggest you edit this to focus on either the "let us make" part (if not covered by the duplicate) or "male and female he created them", and then ask the other separately if you like. Thanks. – Monica Cellio Feb 27 '15 at 16:10
  • Oh drat, I just realized that not only have we had this question before but I answered it before. Sorry about that! (In case you're wondering, my very-similar answers came from a common source.) – Monica Cellio Mar 1 '15 at 20:46
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"Eloha" means a force. Pagans at the time believed there was one force in charge of life, one in charge of death, one in charge of day, one in charge of night, and so on.

So the Jewish creation story is stressing that one God is "all-forces", i.e. in charge of everything, making everything. Hence the plural.

Once God made the earth, the elements were in place for a natural progression, thus God says, "let the earth produce vegetation." And so on, until the animals are around. At that point God turns to the earth and says -- "to make humans, you [earth] & I -- i.e. we -- need to work together." The body is following the progression of nature, but the soul comes from God.

(That's Nachmanides' reading.)

  • great comment, but what about adam (human being) made feminine and masculine according to the tzelem and demut of Elohim? – J.Levi Feb 27 '15 at 14:00
  • Still no such word as Eloha. – Double AA Mar 30 '16 at 19:30
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The term is similar to the "royal We" that is used in English. That is, it is a matter of referring to the ruler in the plural. Consider the French usage of "vous" for you (plural) or as a sign of respect. In actuality, we see other usages as

The Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made thee a god אֶלהִים, (Elohim) to Pharaoh, and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.”

(Exodus 7:1)

Similarly we see when speaking about a slave belonging to the master, we have the plural term ba'alim used, even though it refers to a single master. I have a posting about this elsewhere but do not have the time to search it out.

Also see Why is the word for G-d in Genesis plural?

  • great comment, but what about adam (human being) made feminine and masculine according to the tzelem and demut of Elohim? – J.Levi Feb 27 '15 at 14:03
  • @Yishai I had answered the question and posted it before finding the duplicate question. I added it to the answer when I found it and only then realized that it would be a duplicate. – sabbahillel Mar 1 '15 at 0:39

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