Creation vs. Relation
Looking into the Names of God
Think of the world as one big clock. Time turns, and the seasons change. Tides move in and out, and birth and death continue in their cycle. Naturally, a clock cannot create itself, so there must be a clockmaker. However, many believe that the Creator set the world into motion only to take a step back and let the gears spin on their own. While this analogy might explain God as a Creator, it does not fully illustrate the depth of a relational God. The image of the clock is cold and mechanical, but the one painted in Genesis is far more personal.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1 ESV). In the very first verse of the Bible, God is referred to in the original Hebrew as “Elohim.” This name of God describes Him in His first recorded act of speaking the world into existence. Elohim literally means “The Mighty One,” defining Creator God as a source of awe and reverence, and while in its original Hebrew this name might appear as plural, many believe that this is a way to describe the plurality of the Godhead, or the Trinity. It helps us to see that the Creator is not in need of His creation, but that He took the time to craft it anyway, for a larger purpose we may not fully understand.
However, further reading of Genesis reveals a second name for God which gives an even deeper insight into the personality of the Creator. “...in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens” (Genesis 2:4b ESV). This second title of God, “Jehovah,” is considered the most sacred among the Jewish people. So much so that only the high priest would ever speak it once a year on the Day of Atonement in the holiest part of the temple. Jehovah is the name God gave to the ancient Hebrews, a way of relating to Him, of describing Him, literally translating to, “I AM WHO I AM,” (Exodus 3:14 ESV). It is the most personal name of God, and therefore, the most holy. This name reveals that God wishes for a relationship with His creation, not just a view of the spinning wheels of the clock. The following verse in Genesis 2 reveals that the LORD God had not yet caused rain to fall. This shows that God still has a hand in His creation.
We can take comfort that the God who created everything is both mighty and personal, strong and loving. At times it may seem like the world has devolved into absolute chaos, but God is in control of every drop of rain that falls to the earth. We know that every day that passes, even the worst ones, are part of a greater story, and by learning the names of God, we can come to understand and relate to our Author.