Recently I had a discussion with a Mormon friend of mine; we were talking about the Mormon belief that Jesus Christ, and God the Father are “separate and distinct” gods and that Mormons believe that Jehovah (YHWH) is Jesus’ name and that Elohim is God’s name.
I had forgotten about this discussion until doing my morning reading. I was going through Deuteronomy 32, and I noticed that Lord and God are presented as equivalents within the parallelisms. Parallelisms are common in the OT and are characteristic of Hebrew poetry.
Here is the passage:
My teaching will drop like the rain, my sayings will drip like the dew,
as rain drops upon the grass, and showers upon new growth.
For I will proclaim the name of the Lord; you must acknowledge the greatness of our God.
As for the Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are just.
He is a reliable God who is never unjust, he is fair and upright.
Aside from being a beautiful passage, what do we see? Clearly, Moses is speaking of God here. There is a lot of parallelism going on because this is in song form. The first line and the second line of each couplet are equal and complimentary.
teaching = sayings
drop like the rain = drip like the dew
drops on the grass = showers upon new growth
Proclaim the name of the Lord = Acknowledge the greatness of our God.
His work is perfect = His ways are just.
Never unjust = fair and upright
But what’s notable is that “Lord”, and “God” are aligned in the Hebrew parallel style just as all of the other synonyms. This song is written from Moses’ point of view…he is referencing one God; the God of the burning bush.
Not only that; before our passage, it says that Moses writes the words of this song down and commands them to put it in the Ark of the Covenant. He tells them:
31:26 “Take this scroll of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God.
The phrase “Lord your God” in Hebrew is:
“YHWH attem Elohim,” clearly speaking of one entity. Just as in the preceding song of Moses; Lord and God are synonymous; one is the proper name of God, the other is the generic term for God, as in “Fred, your teacher.”
If the words YHWH and Elohim are to be understood from the Mormon point of view (that YHWH is the name of Jesus and that Elohim is the name of God the father) then none of this would make any sense, it would become:
31:26 “Take this scroll of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the Jesus Christ your God the Father”
That turns the verse into gibberish.
In fact; a simple search of the words “YHWH” and Elohim” reveals that the reference “Lord God” or “Lord your God” is found 562 times in the Old Testament in the context of referring to God.
So, where does the evidence lead us? To the idea that “YHWH” is Jesus’ name, and that “Elohim” is God’s name and that they are “separate and distinct gods” or that both words refer to the same being?
In other words; does the Mormon belief hold up under scrutiny?
If you are Mormon, do you have any thoughts on what I’ve written here?