Generic and Specific
Two reasons why the Bible translation societies, putting the names of supreme beings in Bible translations, is unbiblical
by Sandy Simpson, 5/18/2014
In my article “Blasphemizing the Bible” (http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/blasphemizingthebible.html) I give a number of examples of how a lot of modern Bible translation societies are putting the names of “supreme beings” in the Bible in the place of God or YHWH. In this article I'm going to examine two of the excuses they make for making those substitutions in the Bible in many hundreds of different languages today.
(1) They claim that God has many different names and therefore they think they are justified in putting the names of various gods of various cultures in Bibles, as long as they are considered “supreme beings”.
(2) The second excuse they give is that the names of the “gods” they are placing in the Bible are generic terms for God, like the words “God”, “Theos”, “Dios” and “Elohim”. By generic I mean a word that can be used for any deity whether of the one true God or other false gods who claim to be God.
I will go through both of these excuses and show that they are both unbiblical, therefore the Bibles they have translated with names of other gods in them, or names they claim are generic, prove that they have “blasphemized” those Bibles.
God Has Many Names?
The claim that God has many different names, therefore any “supreme being’s” name can be used for God, is false. God has one name that He revealed to Moses.
Exodus 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am (YHWH): and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.
The Bible says over and over again that any true believer needs to worship God in “His name”, not in “His names”. The Bible never teaches that, in fact it forbids it for true believers. There are many instances of calling for the worship of God “in His name” but none stating “in His names”.
1 Chronicles 16:29 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
Psalm 29:2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
Psalm 86:9 All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord; they will bring glory to your name.
Revelation 15:4 Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
Psalm 96:2 Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.
Psalm 116:13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.
Isaiah 65:1 [ Judgment and Salvation ] “I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’
Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
His name is YHWH or YHVH, revealed first to Moses. There is no other name of God. God’s Son is Yeshua, based on YHWH. In English we often use Jehovah and Jesus, which is fine. Any other “names” of God are actually titles or attributes of God attached to His one Name, YHWH. God’s name is “I Am”, YHWH, Yahweh in Hebrew or Jehovah in English. That is the name He told Moses when he asked and the name by which He must be worshipped. Other names in the Bible for God are not His “Name” but attributes added to His Name to describe Who He is.
JEHOVAH (Yahweh)-JIREH: “The Lord will Provide.” Gen. 22:14.
JEHOVAH-ROPHE: "The Lord Who Heals” Ex. 15:22-26.
JEHOVAH-NISSI: “The Lord Our Banner.” Ex. 17:15.
JEHOVAH-M'KADDESH: “The Lord Who Sanctifies” Lev. 20:8.
JEHOVAH-SHALOM: “The Lord Our Peace” Judges 6:24.
JEHOVAH ELOHIM: “LORD God” Gen. 2:4; Judges 5:3; Isa. 17:6; Zeph. 2:9; Psa. 59:5, etc.
JEHOVAH-TSIDKENU: “The Lord Our Righteousness” Jer. 23:5, 6, 33:16.
JEHOVAH-ROHI: “The Lord Our Shepherd” Psa. 23.
JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH: “The Lord is There” Ezek. 48:35.
JEHOVAH-SABAOTH: “The Lord of Hosts” Isa. 1:24; Psa. 46:7, 11; 2 Kings 3:9-12; Jer. 11:20 (NT: Rom. 9:29; James 5:4, Rev. 19: 11-16).
These “names of God” are His actual name, YHWH (Jehovah), with an attribute added to describe Him. The name of God, the One “What” eternally existing in three “Whos”, is YHWH.
Let's deal with some of the other attributive descriptions of God which are not His Name but describe Who He is.
ADONAI: An attributive description for God meaning “Lord” in our English Bibles. Also used 215 times to refer to men. First use of Adonai, Gen. 15:2. (Ex. 4:10; Judges 6:15; 2 Sam. 7:18-20; Ps. 8, 114:7, 135:5, 141:8, 109:21-28).
SHEPHERD: An attributive description. Psa. 23, 79:13, 95:7, 80:1, 100:3; Gen. 49:24; Isa. 40:11.
JUDGE: An attributive description. Psa. 7:8, 96:13.
ABHIR: An attributive description meaning 'Mighty One', (“to be strong”) Gen. 49:24; Deut. 10:17; Psa. 132:2, 5; Isa. 1:24, 49:26, 60:1.
BRANCH: An attributive description meaning “The Branch”: Zech. 3:8, 6:12; Isa. 4:2; Jer. 23:5, 33:15.
KADOSH: An attributive description meaning “Holy One” Psa. 71:22; Isa. 40:25, 43:3, 48:17. Isaiah uses the expression “the Holy One of Israel” 29 times.
SHAPHAT: An attributive description or the “Judge” Gen. 18:25
KANNA: An attributive description meaning “Jealous” (zealous). Ex. 20:5, 34:14; Deut. 5:9; Isa. 9:7; Zech. 1:14, 8:2.
PALET: An attributive description meaning “Deliverer” Psa. 18:2.
YESHA: An attributive description meaning “Savior” Isa. 43:3. From this the name of Jesus (Yeshua) comes which harkens back to YHWH. Messiah (Christ) or Mashiach or Mashiyach is an attributive name meaning “Anointed One”.
GAOL: An attributive description meaning “Redeemer” (to buy back by paying a price). Job 19:25.
MAGEN: An attributive description meaning “Shield” Psa. 3:3, 18:30.
STONE: An attributive description. Gen. 49:24
EYALUTH: An attributive description meaning “Strength” Psa. 22:19.
TSADDIQ: An attributive description meaning “Righteous One” Psa. 7:9.
ZUR: An attributive description meaning “God our Rock” Deut. 32:18; Isa. 30:29.
'ATTIQ YOMIN (Aramaic): An attributive description meaning “Ancient of Days,” Dan. 7:9, 13, 22.
MELEKH: An attributive description meaning “King” Psa. 5:2, 29:10, 44:4, 47:6-8, 48:2, 68:24, 74:12, 95:3, 97:1, 99:4, 146:10; Isa. 5:1, 5, 41:21, 43:15, 44:6; 52:7, 52:10.
THE FIRST AND LAST: An attributive description. Isa. 44:6, 48:12.
THE ANGEL OF THE LORD: An attributive description. Gen. 16:7ff, 21:17, 22:11, 15ff, 18:1-19:1, 24:7, 40, 31:11-13, 32:24-30; Ex. 3:6, 13:21, Ezek. 1:10-13. Seen in the theophanies, or pre-incarnate appearances of the Son of God in the OT (See I Cor. 10:3 NT).
We then move on to the “El” attributive descriptions. Elohim is a generic term for God which can be used for the true God, Who is a Trinity, angels or fallen angels.
Elohim (אֱלֹהִים) is a grammatically singular or plural noun for "god" or "gods" in both modern and ancient Hebrew language. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elohim)
In the context of YHWH it is attributive of Who He is, and so attributes were tagged on to El or Elohim.
EL: a general word for “god” in the Middle East, like “god” in English. Gen. 7:1, 28:3, 35:11; Nu. 23:22; Josh. 3:10; 2 Sam. 22:31, 32; Neh. 1:5, 9:32; Isa. 9:6; Ezek. 10:5.
ELOHIM: God (a plural form of “El”, more than two, used with singular verbs); Elohim occurs 2,570 times in the OT, 32 times in Gen. 1. God as Creator, Preserver, Transcendent, Mighty and Strong. Eccl., Dan. Jonah use Elohim almost exclusively. See Gen. 17:7, 6:18, 9:15, 50:24; I Kings 8:23; Jer. 31:33; Isa. 40:1.
EL SHADDAI: The generic word for “god” with an attribute added meaning God Almighty or “God All Sufficient.” 48 times in the OT, 31 times in Job. First used in Gen. 17:1, 2. (Gen. 31:29, 49:24, 25; Prov. 3:27; Micah 2:1; Isa. 60:15, 16, 66:10-13; Ruth 1:20, 21)
EL ELYON: The generic word for “god” with an attribute added meaning “Most High” (from “to go up”) Deut. 26:19, 32:8; Psa. 18:13; Gen. 14:18; Nu. 24:16; Psa. 78:35, 7:17, 18:13, 97:9, 56:2, 78:56, 18:13; Dan. 7:25, 27; Isa. 14:14.
EL-OLAM: The generic word for “god” with an attribute added meaning “Everlasting God” (God of everlasting time) Gen. 21:33; Psa. 90:1-3, 93:2; Isa. 26:4.
EL-BERITH: The generic word for “god” with an attribute added meaning “God of the Covenant” Used of Baal in Judges 9:46. Probably used originally to refer to the God of Israel.
EL-GIBHOR: The generic word for “god” with an attribute added meaning “Mighty God” (Isa. 9:6).
EL ROI: The generic word for “god” with an attribute added meaning “God of Seeing” (Hagar in Gen. 16:13.)
We also have the general word for “god” in Greek.
THEOS: General Greek word for “god” as in English “god”. Capitalized in the Bible it refers to YHWH.
There is only one name of God, YHWH, Yahweh or Jehovah. There are attributive names given to each person of the Trinity by which we may also worship God, as we may worship Him by naming his attributes above.
FATHER: The Person of the Father, which is also an attribute of YHWH. 2 Sam. 7:14-15; Psa. 68:5; Isa. 63:16, 64:8; Mal. 1:6.
SON: The Person of the Son, which is also an attribute of YHWH. Joshua or Yeshua which means “Savior”, or Jesus in Greek. Messiah (Christ) or Mashiach or Mashiyach is an attributive name meaning “Anointed One”.
HOLY SPIRIT: The Person of the Holy Spirit, which is also an attribute of YHWH. Qodesh Ruwach in Hebrew (Is. 63:10) or Hagios Pneuma in Greek (Luke 11:13).
The reason Father, Son and Holy Spirit are attributive is that it spells out their position in the Godhead. My name is Sandy Simpson, not “father” even though I am one and my children can call me that. Therefore we can conclude that using a word like Allah in the Bible is ruled out because it is not the true name of YHWH nor is it an attributive name attached to YHWH. It is actually the name of a specific deity from Babylon that was first used by Mohammed. So what is the oldest reference to “Allah” discovered in antiquity? Who was he and what did he represent?
The answer should shock many in the scholarly community. The oldest reference to “Allah” (before this publication), according to Kenneth J. Thomas, was discovered in Northern and Southern Arabia dating back to the fifth century B.C. (Kenneth J. Thomas, Allah in Translations of the Bible, references to René Dussaud, Les Arabes en Syrie avant l’Islam (Paris, Ernest Leroux, 1907), pp. 141f., and Hitti, loc. cit., pp. 100f., citing the work of F. V. Winnett, A Study of the Lihyanite and Thamudic Inscriptions (Toronto: 1937), p. 30) But new research linking “Allah” being worshipped as a deity can be found in the Epic of Atrahasis chiseled on several tablets dating to around 1700 BC (Date from Stephanie Dalley’s introduction to Atrahasis, in her Myths from Mesopotamia, p. 3.) and was not found in Arabian records, but in Babylonian. What should shock historians and theologians alike is that this much older reference to the literal name of a deity called “Allah” was never even linked by any of the experts on Assyriology who have written on the subject or any of the translators of the Atrahasis epic. Even more troubling for Muslims today is that this deity was described nearly four millennia ago to be a god of “violence and revolution”. The beginning of the Epic of Atrahasis describes Allah as how all of the gods labored endlessly in grueling work, under the rule of the patron deity Enlil or Elil. (The Oldest Reference to Allah, Theodore Shoebat, http://shoebat.com/2012/09/13/the-oldest-reference-to-allah/)
Supreme Beings Are Generic Terms for God
The claim that terms like Allah are also a generic term for God is specious. There are two issues here. (1) Can the word "Allah" be used in place of "YHWH" and (2) can "Allah" be used in the place of a generic term for deity such as "God"? As to (1) the Koran defines "Allah" as a Oneness deity that has no son. Therefore he cannot be, by definition, "YHWH". "YHWH" is God's name, not Allah. In the case of (2) "Allah" is not a generic term such as "God" in English Bibles as it refers to a specific false god with roots as far back as Babylon and one of the hunderds of gods worshipped at Mecca from which Muhammad chose "Allah" thus creating Islam. If Bible translation societies had simply looked at the Arabic "Shahada", their declaration of faith, they would have discovered the generic term for "god" there ... "There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah." The word used in Arabic for "god" is "illah" (god) and for "God" is "Illallah" (Allah). So they use the term "illah" to refer to "deity", which could be used to refer to either the true God or a false god. The fact that Bible translation societies put the word "allah" in the place of the generic word "God" in the Bible is then completely erroneous and misleading. They are basically following the agenda of Don Richardson, YWAM and others who are using the names of false "supreme beings" in many cultures in Bible translations in order to attempt to syncretize Christianity with all the world's cultures and religions. So Allah is not God’s name nor is it a generic term for God. Thus it should have been ruled out.
Other “supreme beings” being used in the Bible, because translation societies claim they are generic terms for God, are dealt with in the article “Blasphemizing the Bible”. Some examples of “supreme beings” that are referring to a specific “deity” and were not used as a generic term for “god” until Bible translators mistakenly put them in Bibles would be:
“Allah”(Surawak, Malaysia Bible and many Arabic Bibles - various Bible translators)
“Hananim” (Korean Bible, International Bible Society)
Some terms that ARE generic and can be used to either refer to the one true God or false gods, and which up until recently were used in Bibles are:
English - “God” means God, generic
God - Most English translations
French - “Dieu” means God, generic
Dieu - Louis Segond
Dieu - La Bible du Semeur
German - “Gott” means God, generic
Gott - Deutsch (German) Elberfelder
Gott - Deutsch (German) Luther
Greek - “Theos” means God, generic
Theos - Greek Nestle-Aland
Theos - Greek NT (Scrivener-1894) UTF8
Theos - Greek Septuagint
Theos - Greek Stephanos
Theos - Greek (Transliterated)
Theos - Greek Wescott Hort
Hungarian - “Isten” means God, generic
Isten - Hungarian KÃ¡roli
Italian - “DIO” means God, generic
DIO - La Nuova Diodati
Netherlands - “God” means God, generic
God - Het Boek
Norsk - “Gud” means God, generic
Gud - Det Norsk Bibelselskap 1930
Portuguese - “Deus” means God, generic
Deus - O Livro
Deus - João Ferreira de Almeida Atualizada
Romanian - “Dumnezeu” means God, generic
Dumnezeu – Romanian
Dumnezeu - Romanian Cornilescu Version
Spanish - “Dios” means God, generic
Dios – Reina-Valera 1960
Dios - Nueva Versión Internacional
Dios - Reina-Valera 1995
Dios - Reina-Valera Antigua
Dios - La Biblia de las Américas
Middle East – Elohim
So, in conclusion, you cannot use the word Allah in the Bible. That is because it is (1) a name of a specific deity and not the name of God, YHWH and (2) because Allah is not a generic term for God. So based on this article and my proofs you cannot do what some Bible translation societies are doing. I would recommend that the business of Bible translation be handed back over to missionaries who did a far better job of making sure they were not putting the name of a false god in the Bible.