(A.S. and Dutch God; Dan. Gud; Ger. Gott), the name of the Divine Being. It is the rendering (1) of the Hebrew 'El, from a word meaning to be strong; (2) of 'Eloah_, plural _'Elohim. The singular form, Eloah, is used only in poetry. The plural form is more commonly used in all parts of the Bible, The Hebrew word Jehovah (q.v.), the only other word generally employed to denote the Supreme Being, is uniformly rendered in the Authorized Version by "LORD," printed in small capitals. The existence of God is taken for granted in the Bible. There is nowhere any argument to prove it. He who disbelieves this truth is spoken of as one devoid of understanding (Ps. 14:1). The arguments generally adduced by theologians in proof of the being of God are: (1.) The a priori argument, which is the testimony afforded by reason. (2.) The a posteriori argument, by which we proceed logically from the facts of experience to causes. These arguments are, (a) The cosmological, by which it is proved that there must be a First Cause of all things, for every effect must have a cause. (b) The teleological, or the argument from design. We see everywhere the operations of an intelligent Cause in nature. (c) The moral argument, called also the anthropological argument, based on the moral consciousness and the history of mankind, which exhibits a moral order and purpose which can only be explained on the supposition of the existence of God. Conscience and human history testify that "verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth." The attributes of God are set forth in order by Moses in Ex. 34:6,7. (see also Deut. 6:4; 10:17; Num. 16:22; Ex. 15:11; 33:19; Isa. 44:6; Hab. 3:6; Ps. 102:26; Job 34:12.) They are also systematically classified in Rev. 5:12 and 7:12. God's attributes are spoken of by some as absolute, i.e., such as belong to his essence as Jehovah, Jah, etc.; and relative, i.e., such as are ascribed to him with relation to his creatures. Others distinguish them into communicable, i.e., those which can be imparted in degree to his creatures: goodness, holiness, wisdom, etc.; and incommunicable, which cannot be so imparted: independence, immutability, immensity, and eternity. They are by some also divided into natural attributes, eternity, immensity, etc.; and moral, holiness, goodness, etc.
a perfection of his character which he exercises towards his creatures according to their various circumstances and relations (Ps. 145:8, 9; 103:8; 1 John 4:8). Viewed generally, it is benevolence; as exercised with respect to the miseries of his creatures it is mercy, pity, compassion, and in the case of impenitent sinners, long-suffering patience; as exercised in communicating favour on the unworthy it is grace. "Goodness and justice are the several aspects of one unchangeable, infinitely wise, and sovereign moral perfection. God is not sometimes merciful and sometimes just, but he is eternally infinitely just and merciful." God is infinitely and unchangeably good (Zeph. 3:17), and his goodness is incomprehensible by the finite mind (Rom. 11: 35, 36). "God's goodness appears in two things, giving and forgiving."
that perfection of his nature whereby he is infinitely righteous in himself and in all he does, the righteousness of the divine nature exercised in his moral government. At first God imposes righteous laws on his creatures and executes them righteously. Justice is not an optional product of his will, but an unchangeable principle of his very nature. His legislative justice is his requiring of his rational creatures conformity in all respects to the moral law. His rectoral or distributive justice is his dealing with his accountable creatures according to the requirements of the law in rewarding or punishing them (Ps. 89:14). In remunerative justice he distributes rewards (James 1:12; 2 Tim. 4:8); in vindictive or punitive justice he inflicts punishment on account of transgression (2 Thess. 1:6). He cannot, as being infinitely righteous, do otherwise than regard and hate sin as intrinsically hateful and deserving of punishment. "He cannot deny himself" (2 Tim. 2:13). His essential and eternal righteousness immutably determines him to visit every sin as such with merited punishment.
(Matt. 6:33; Mark 1:14, 15; Luke 4:43) = "kingdom of Christ" (Matt. 13:41; 20:21) = "kingdom of Christ and of God" (Eph. 5:5) = "kingdom of David" (Mark 11:10) = "the kingdom" (Matt. 8:12; 13:19) = "kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; 13:41), all denote the same thing under different aspects, viz.: (1) Christ's mediatorial authority, or his rule on the earth; (2) the blessings and advantages of all kinds that flow from this rule; (3) the subjects of this kingdom taken collectively, or the Church.
(good). Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures two chief names are used for the one true divine Being-ELOHIM, commonly translated God in our version, and Jehovah, translated Lord . Elohim is the plural of Eloah (in Arabic Allah); it is often used in the short form EL (a word signifying strength, as in EL-SHADDAI, God Almighty, the name by which God was specially known to the patriarchs. (Genesis 17:1; 28:3; Exodus 6:3) The etymology is uncertain, but it is generally agreed that the primary idea is that of strength, power of effect, and that it properly describes God in that character in which he is exhibited to all men in his works, as the creator, sustainer and supreme governor of the world. The plural form of Elohim has given rise to much discussion. The fanciful idea that it referred to the trinity of persons in the Godhead hardly finds now a supporter among scholars. It is either what grammarians call the plural of majesty, or it denotes the fullness of divine strength, the sum of the powers displayed by God. Jehovah denotes specifically the one true God, whose people the Jews were, and who made them the guardians of his truth. The name is never applied to a false god, nor to any other being except one, the ANGEL-JEHOVAH who is thereby marked as one with God, and who appears again in the New Covenant as "God manifested in the flesh." Thus much is clear; but all else is beset with difficulties. At a time too early to be traced, the Jews abstained from pronouncing the name, for fear of its irreverent use. The custom is said to have been founded on a strained interpretation of (Leviticus 24:16) and the phrase there used, "THE NAME" (Shema), is substituted by the rabbis for the unutterable word. In reading the Scriptures they substituted for it the word ADONAI (Lord), from the translation of which by Kurios in the LXX., followed by the Vulgate, which uses Dominus, we have the Lord of our version. The substitution of the word Lord is most unhappy, for it in no way represents the meaning of the sacred name. The key to the meaning of the name is unquestionably given in God's revelation of himself to Moses by the phrase "I AM THAT I AM," (Exodus 3:14; 6:3) We must connect the name Jehovah with the Hebrew substantive verb to be, with the inference that it expresses the essential, eternal, unchangeable being of Jehovah. But more, it is not the expression only, or chiefly, of an absolute truth: it is a practical revelation of God, in his essential, unchangeable relation to this chosen people, the basis of his covenant.
Smith's Bible Dictionary (1884) , by William Smith.