Friday, February 03, 2006

More on Plural Pronouns

So I was thinking about my previous post on "plural pronouns" and a comment that Backwoods Presbyterian made about the use of plural pronouns being considered heretical by some segments of the Christian population.  Then I thought of this verse this morning:

According to the ESV (note, not the NRSV, which is known for its gender-neutralizing)
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. (Genesis 1:26a)

Breaking it down literally:

wayomer ("and he said", 1st person masculine singular verb)
-elohiym ("God", technically actually plural, but used in the singular to denote the God of Israel)
na-aseh ("let us make", this is a 1st person plural form of –asah which means to make, and its cohortative in meaning so it translates "let us make".  If it wasn't cohortative it would translate "we will make")
-adam ("man", this is a singular noun, but has been understand to mean the human race, both male and female)
betsalmenu ("in our image", this word actually breaks down into three parts.  "be" – in, "tselem" – image or likeness, and "nu" which is the plural possessive pronoun, "our")

What is interesting is that the author mixes pronouns in such a way that it says: God (singular) said let us/we will (1st person plural) make man (a generic masculine singular) in our (plural possessive) image.

If God has chosen to reveal themselves using plural pronouns (twice in one verse!) I see little reason why we cannot use them, as long as we emphasize the oneness of God (which Israel did).      


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