The Design of Scripture by Brad Scott
The Number One – Unity
- The numbers we will be covering at length will be cardinal numbers rather than ordinal numbers. Cardinal numbers are one, two, three, four, etc. Ordinal numbers are first, second, third, fourth, etc. In almost all languages, the cardinal number one represents unity and ‘how many’, and the ordinal numbers represent primacy, order, or pre-eminance. This is particularly important in understanding that YHVH is one, or that ‘Elohiym (God) is one. This will become clearer as we define the word ‘one’ and research it’s use in scripture.
- One or ‘1’, is unique in the sense that it contains none of the other numbers, but it the source of all the other numbers. Removing it from each number would make each number somewhat less than what it was designed to be. This is one reason (pun intended) that God is one. None of His creation is part of Him per se, for He is spirit, but He is the source of all that there is. When you remove Him from any part of His creation, (perhaps because of sin?) then each part is less than it was designed. God is one, this is clear. He does not need us, but we need Him. Earlier, I stated one of the interpretations of “in my flesh I shall see God”. We see in our own bodies the reason why God is one. We have only one head and one mind. We have two arms to do things two ways, we have two legs to walk different ways, we have two eyes to look two ways, two ears to hear different things, but these things work in harmony when they take their instructions from the one head. This is why His people are called the body and He is called the head (Ephesians 1:22-23). In order to fully understand the oneness of God, we must first define ‘one’.
- One is the cardinal number in Hebrew and is dominantly represented by the word ‘echad. In the Greek, this word is translated primarily as heis, and its feminine neuter form of mia. Heis and mia are the Greek words, like their Hebrew counterpart, that express the thought of ‘how many’. The Hebrew word rishon and its counterpart, protos, express the thought of primacy, position, or order. Protos is where we get the English word prototype, which means the first or original. It is the word used for order or position. For example, compare the word ‘firstborn’ in Colossians 1:15 with Yochanan 1:1. The word for ‘firstborn’ is prototokos. This word is a word denoting position and pre-eminance and not oneness. This is why we are told that the Word of God (the Messiah) was ‘in the beginning’, denoting His pre-eminance. The word mia, however, is the common everyday term for the idea of ‘how many’. The only violation of this in the Greek text is in the occurrences of the phrase ‘first day of the week’ and in Titus 3:10. First day of the week reads in the Greek as ‘mia ton sabbaton’ or ‘one of the sabbaths’ and not ‘first day of the week’. That, of course, is a subject for another time.
- The root meaning of ‘echad, is one, alone, or only. The largest percentage of Hebrew scholars however understand and teach that the word means ‘unity’. This is because of the nature of it’s use in scripture. The Sh’ma states, “Sh’ma Israel, YHVH our ‘Elohiym, YHVH is one (‘echad). Based upon the use of the word ‘echad, the Sh’ma is telling us that there is but one God and one YHVH, and not two or three or hundreds of gods. He is ‘echad because there is no other. He alone is God. The verse in B’reshith 1:26 in which we read that man was created in ‘our’ image, does not violate the oneness of God. It only opens the door to various interpretations as to the nature or essence of the one God, i.e., the Christians trinity or the Rabbinical views of the many attributes of God, or even that He is counting the angels that were with Him. This is why B’reshith 1:26 does not contradict Yesha’yahu 44:24: … ‘oseh kol oteh shamayim levadiy’, ‘who makes all things stretching the heavens alone.’ This simply teaches that there is no other God who created all things, i.e., the number of Gods. It does not teach the nature or essence of the one true God.
- The idea of unity within the one God can be seen in other uses of the word ‘one’.
Meaning of # 3?