Who Was Present At Creation?

Genesis 1:2 “... And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

Some argue that the Spirit of God, which moved upon the face of the water was a separate, distinct personal being referred to as the God the Holy Spirit. But the text itself gives no evidence for this. 

The Biblical Concept of “Spirit” 

The word, “spirit” is described as wind, breath, mind, spirit (Strong’s H7307 Ruwach; roo’-akh)

1. “Spirit” is the breath of God, His spoken word and the creative, life-giving power:

Psalms 33:6 “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” (“breath of his mouth” is the same word as “spirit” in Gen 1:2-Strong’s H7307)

Psalms 33:9 “For he spake, and it was done, he commanded, and it stood fast.”

The word, “moved” in Gen 1:2 is described as shake, move, flutter (Strong’s H7363 Rachaph; raw-khaf) 

Hebrew 12:26 “Whose voice then shook the earth: but not hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.”

The spirit of a person is manifested by the words spoken by the person:

“To whom hast thou uttered words? and whose spirit came from thee?” (Job 26:4)

For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.” (John 3:34)

"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: THE WORDS THAT I SPEAK UNTO YOU, THEY ARE SPIRIT, AND THEY ARE LIFE." John 6:63

Thus, when we utter words, we are revealing whose spirit we have. We either have the spirit of the world, or the spirit of God, which is Holy Spirit. When God's Word is spoken, His words are "spirit, and they are life" to those who believe and accept it.

2. Holy Spirit is also the omnipresence of God; it is His own Spirit

Psalms 139: 7-10 “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”

Psalms 51:11 “Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

Thus, we can say that the "breath" or the life-giving presence of God "moved upon the face of the waters." Not another being.

3. Spirit is the mind

“And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit [Strongs G4151: pneuma] that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?” (Mark 2:8) Jesus perceived [Strong’s G1921: epiginwskw - epiginosko “to know, that is to understand”] in His Spirit. The Spirit of Jesus is where He knew and understood things. The Spirit of Jesus is the mind of Jesus.

“And the Spirit [ruwach H7307] of the LORD fell upon me, and said unto me, Speak; Thus saith the LORD; Thus have ye said, O house of Israel: for I know the things that come into your mind [ruwach H7307], every one of them.” (Ezekiel 11:5) In this verse ruwach was translated “spirit” in one place, and “mind” in another.

Clearly you can see that the spirit of an individual is the mind or thinking of that individual. (See Gen 41:8, Psalm 77:3,  Daniel 2:1-3; 7:15, John11:33, John 13:21, Isaiah 40:13, Romans 11:34)


Who is Elohim in Genesis 1?

Genesis 1:26 “Then God [אֱלֹהִים 'elohiym, el·ō·hēm'; Strongs H430] said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Does this verse mean that there were more than one or rather three Gods present in the creation of the world? 

The Hebrew word for God is Elohim. Elohim ends with the masculine plural suffix "-ים". From this some might conclude that Elohim signifies a numerical plural, i.e. denoting multiplicity and translate it accordingly as gods. 

But before we determine if Elohim is a single God or multiple gods, we must consider whether the word, Elohim is really a numerical plural.

In Hebrew, a numerically plural noun has three characteristics:
1. It receives a plural suffix;
2. It receives a plural verb;
3. It receives a plural adjective.

The first characteristic, the plural suffix, is familiar to the English speaker. In English, most nouns have the plural suffix "s" or "es" to indicate something that is more than one. For example, dog is the singular while dogs is the plural. 

But Hebrew adds another dimension by matching adjectives and verbs to the noun. 

In Hebrew, a plural noun gets a plural verb and plural adjective. In contrast, English verbs and adjectives do not change to match the noun. 

For example, in English:
Singular: The big dog guarded.
Plural: The big dogs guarded.

But in Hebrew:
Singular: The big (singular) dog (he) guarded. שָׁמַר הַכֶּלֶב הַגָּדוֹל
Plural: The big (plural) dogs (they) guarded. שָׁמְרוּ הַכְּלָבִים הַגְּדוֹלִים

Thus, if Elohim is really a numerically plural noun then it should also get plural verb and plural adjective.

In the very first verse of the Genesis, we read, בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים meaning "Elohim (he) created". 

Were Elohim a numerical plural, the verse would have to say בָּרְאוּ אֱלֹהִים "Elohim (they) created".

The same thing can be found with the adjective. The adjective for Elohim is singular, not plural:

Thus we find אֱלֹהִים צַדִּיק "righteous (sg) Elohim" (Ps 7:10) and not אֱלֹהִים צַדִּיקִים "righteous (pl) Elohim".

Genesis chapt. 1

vs. 5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness HE called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

vs. 10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called HE Seas: and God saw that it was good.

vs. 16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: HE made the stars also.

vs. 27 So God created man in HIS own image, in the image of God created HE him; male and female created HE them.

Note: the pronouns used in Genesis 1 are all singular pronouns denoting a singular antecedent (God-Elohim).

So why does Elohim have a plural suffix if it is numerically singular with a singular verb and singular adjective? 

It turns out there is a special type of plural in Hebrew that has a plural suffix even though it is numerically singular with a singular verb and singular adjective. These nouns are called majestic plurals.

The meaning of the plural suffix in the majestic plural is NOT that there is more than one of the noun, but that the noun is "great, absolute, or majestic".

One clear example of Elohim used not as numerically plural can be found in Exodus 7:1 when God tells Moses that He will make Moses an Elohim to Pharaoh: 

"And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god (Elohim) to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet."

Certainly this does not mean that God made Moses into a god, but rather that he would speak to Pharaoh with authority through Aaron who would serve as God's mouth-piece in the way that the prophets often did in the Old Testament.

Point being, was Moses a god of plurality? Certainly not!

Elohim in Genesis 1 therefore refers to plural of majesty which is simply a grammatical form that denotes greatness, meaning "great God".

However, it's worth noting that the word Elohim is not always a majestic plural. When referring to the pagan gods, the term Elohim is usually a numerical plural. For example, the second commandment forbids us to worship אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים "other (pl) gods". In this phrase, not only does Elohim have the plural suffix, but it receives a plural adjective אֲחֵרִים other (pl). This tells us that in the second commandment Elohim is used not as an majestic plural but as a numerical plural denoting multiplicity.

Additionally, Elohim doesn't always necessarily refer to a deity... it simply may denote greatness or something majestic as in Nineveh was "exceeding (Elohim) great city." 

"So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding (Elohim Strongs H430) great city of three days' journey. Jonah 3:3

Who was it that actually said, "Let us make man in our image"

Let us consider Ellen G. White’s statement below:

“After the earth was created, and the beasts upon it, the FATHER AND SON CARRIED OUT THEIR PURPOSES, . . . And now GOD SAID TO HIS SON, ‘LET US MAKE MAN IN OUR IMAGE.’” (The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, pp. 24, 25)

"Satan was once an honored angel in heaven, next to Christ. His countenance, like those of the other angels, was mild and expressive of happiness. His forehead was high and broad, showing great intelligence. His form was perfect; his bearing noble and majestic. But when GOD SAID TO HIS SON, "Let us make man in our image," Satan was jealous of Jesus." {EW 145.1}

“Before the fall of Satan, the FATHER CONSULTED HIS SON IN REGARD TO THE FORMATION OF MAN.” (Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts, Volume 3, page 36, ‘The temptation and fall’, 1864)

"The GREAT CREATOR assembled the heavenly host, that HE might in the presence of all the angels confer special honor upon HIS SON." SR 13

Note: It was the Father, THE GREAT CREATOR, who said to His Son, "Let us make man in our image." "Us" therefore refer to Father and the Son and do not refer to a triune God or Trinity talking amongst themselves; there is no mention of a third being called, God the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, not a single Scripture says that we are made in the image of the Holy Spirit nor in the image of a triune God. Whereas, we are told that the Father and the Son share the same image-the Son is the "express image" of the Father(Heb 1:3) and we are made in their image.

Thus, according to these statements, “God” in Genesis 1:26, can only be referred to a singular God, namely the Father.  It was the Father who spoke to His Son, Jesus Christ, “Let us make man in our image”; no mention of any other “third” God.

Father is the Great Creator, who created all things through the Son

It was God the Father who, through Jesus Christ, created all things. God the Father was the author of the creation in cooperation with the Son who executed the Father purpose.

 “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in GOD, who created all things BY Jesus Christ:” Ephesian 3:9

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, BY WHOM ALSO HE MADE THE WORLDS;" Hebrews 1:1-2

Colossians 1:16: "For BY him [Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:"

John 1:3 "All things were made BY him; and without him [Christ] was not any thing made that was made."

Rev. 4:11 “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou [referring to the Father] hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

Proverbs 30:4 “Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?”

"our image, in our likeness"

Some conclude that the expression, "our image, in our likeness" refers to the image and the likeness of the three Gods who make up the God of trinity.

Notice what Ellen White has said about the how Christ and the Father share the same image:

“I saw a throne, and on it sat the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. I gazed on Jesus’ countenance and admired his lovely person. . . . I ASKED JESUS IF HIS FATHER HAD A FORM LIKE HIMSELF; HE SAID HE HAD, BUT I COULD NOT BEHOLD IT”-Letter From Sister Harmon,” Day-Star, March 14, 1846, 7.

“A complete offering has been made; for "God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son,"—NOT A SON BY CREATION, as were the angels, NOR A SON BY ADOPTION, as is the forgiven sinner, but a SON BEGOTTEN IN THE EXPRESS IMAGE OF THE FATHER’S PERSON, and in all the brightness of his majesty and glory, one equal with God in authority, dignity, and divine perfection.” {ST May 30, 1895 par. 3}

“From eternity there was a complete unity between the Father and the Son. THEY WERE TWO, YET LITTLE SHORT OF BEING IDENTICAL; two in individuality, yet one in spirit, and heart, and character.” --The Youth Instructor, December 16, 1897 par. 5

The Son of God was next in authority to the great Lawgiver. He knew that his life alone could be sufficient to ransom fallen man. He was of as much more value than man as his noble, spotless character, and exalted office as commander of all the heavenly host, were above the work of man. He was in the express image of his Father, NOT IN FEATURE ALONE, BUT IN PERFECTION OF CHARACTER. Spirit of Prophecy V.2 p.91

The Scripture affirms the Spirit of Prophecy:

“Who [Christ] being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person” Hebrews 1:3

"Who [Christ] is the image of the invisible God" Colossians 1:15

"...Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." 2 Corinthians 4:4

Therefore, the first man and the woman were CREATED ultimately in the IMAGE of the FATHER for the Son is the EXPRESS IMAGE of Him. Since the Son is the EXPRESS image or "little short of being identical", the human pair could be "made" in THEIR IMAGE.