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Yahweh: The Storm of God - John MacArthur TMS Chapel

Updated: Oct 8, 2023



YHWH: The God that Is vs. the God that Becomes

The meaning of God’s names, especially YHWH, is central to Jewish theology. Two approaches have dominated: the philosophical, focusing on God’s essence (“being”) and the kabbalistic, focusing on God’s evolving relationship with Israel (“becoming”). Some modern thinkers such as Malbim and Heschel have looked for new syntheses or formulations.

The Multiple Names of God

The Bible has multiple names for God. Jean Astruc (18th cent.), one of the founding fathers of biblical criticism, used the pattern of divine names YHWH and Elohim in Genesis and early Exodus to explain the contradictory accounts in the Bible. He suggested that they derived from two different sources that made use of one or the other of these names for God.[1] This insight laid the groundwork for what eventually matured into the Documentary Hypothesis.

The multiplicity of divine names—and not just YHWH and Elohim—are equally crucial for the development of Jewish theology, or, more correctly, theologies. After listing all the names used for God in his classic study of them, the Jewish theologian Arthur Marmorstein (1882-1946), who was both a yeshiva trained rabbi and a professor at Jews College, observed.." from the article: YHWH: The God that Is vs. the God that Becomes


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