By Robert Wurtz II
Eloiyim is a plural noun. When we recognize that the Shema tells us that God is ONE we may understand God to be a plural unity when we know the meaning of ‘echad.'. The Shema reads:
Shmai Yisrael Adonai Eloheynu Adonai Echad.
Hear O' Israel the Lord your God is ONE.
The Hebrew language has two words that can be translated "ONE": echad and yachid. Whereas yachid (yah-keed) refers to the number one (i.e., absolute unity), echad (ek-kawd) refers to a composite unity. An example of this is in the book of Genesis chapter 2, verse 24, where it says that a couple joined together in marriage shall become one flesh. Since the Shema uses the word echad, not yachid, it is reasonable to say that God's essence or nature is that of a composite unity.
Jesus teaches us that His desire is that believers be ‘echad' (plural unity) even as He and the Father are ‘one' (plural unity). In his prayer found in John 17, Jesus prays. . . 'that they may be one, as thou Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one [echad] in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."(vs. 21) The manifestation of this echad, this binding together in unity, should result in love for the Lord and for each other. "That the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them."(vs. 26) Jesus is our example of echad with God. If a person says that he is echad with God but does not manifest love, then by definition, echad could not exist. To be one with each other we must walk in step with God and His will. To do this we must walk in the power and influence of the Holy Spirit.
It is not sufficient to say that the term Eloyim simply means the plurality of God's greatness and majesty as it forms a bias against the clear biblical teaching that God exists as one substance and 3 persons. This issue that we would have trouble with is understanding unity in the sense that the Godhead is in absolute one mind and one accord. This is where understanding what Jesus meant when He prayed that we would be ‘one' even as He and the Father are ‘one.' When we say God is three persons we do not mean the 'three headed god' concept that is often thrust upon the doctrine; but a triunity of persons that exist in perfect harmony.
Gary Hedrick writes; 'Each Person of the Godhead was in eternal fellowship with the other two Persons before the world was created. All three were actively involved in the Creation: the Father (Genesis 1:1), the Son (John 1:1; Colossians 1:16), and the Ruach Hakodesh, or Holy spirit (Genesis 1:2).
For centuries, the rabbis have struggled with Genesis 1:26, where God says, ". . . Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: . . ." The plural noun Elohim (God), used in conjunction with the plural pronouns "us" and "our," argues persuasively for the existence of a plurality within the Godhead.
But doesn't the idea of divine plurality contradict the Jewish Shema, which declares that ". . . The LORD our God is one LORD" (Deut. 6:4)? Not when we realize that the Hebrew word echad (one) is often used to designate a compound unity rather than a simple unity. Note that the same word is used in Genesis 2:24 when Adam and Eve were married and became basar echad, or "one flesh." This is not intended to be an exhaustive study but will serve to introduce you to some of the issues from a Messianic Jewish viewpoint.
Gary Hedrick "Seven Things God Was Doing Before Genesis 1:1"