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"God the Son" is generally agreed to be Jesus.

Do reformed theologians agree that "God the Father" is Jehovah, or is this only something claimed by the denomination calling themselves Jehovah's Witnesses?

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Jehovah is an English rendition of the proper name of God from the Hebrew Bible, also rendered "Yahweh" or YHWH, which means I AM and is referred to as "The Tetragrammaton". It isn't specific to Jehovah's Witnesses, and can be found in many older English translations of the Bible.

In the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) the doctrine of the Trinity isn't really formulated (Jews would say it isn't there at all) so there is no concept that the name for "God" applies to only one person of the Trinity. It is usually thought that the name(s) refer to "God as a whole".

Jesus in fact equates himself with Yahweh (Jehovah) when he says "Before Abraham was, I AM" (John 8:58).

  • Not to be contrary, but just FYI: the Tetragrammaton (Ex. 3:15) doesn’t really mean “I am” (which is from Ex. 3:14). The “etymology” section of your Wikipedia link explains that. Also FYI, the “I am” statement(s) in John is probably not a reference to the Tetragram (at least if you believe the “scholars”) although people certainly make that connection. Regardless, it remains an important trinitarian statement. – Susan Jul 23 '15 at 22:51
  • You are I presume citing the part of the etymology section which says: 'Many scholars propose that the name "YHWH" is a verb form derived from the biblical Hebrew triconsonantal root היה (h-y-h), which means "to be"', (among other related things). – DJClayworth Jul 23 '15 at 23:27
  • Yup, it’s not a form that’s attested anywhere AFAIK, but in theory it could be a hifil of a hwh (variant of hyh), but it would have to be third person. “He causes to be” or some such thing. – Susan Jul 24 '15 at 0:00
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Reformed theologians regularly use the name "Jehovah" (or its equivalent, "Yahweh"), but they do not limit the name to God the Father: they believe it refers to the Godhead, that is, it is also the name of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Regarding Jesus being Jehovah, see John Calvin's Institutes:

Isaiah prophesies, that “the Lord of Hosts” shall be “for a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offence,” (Isa. 8:14). Paul asserts that this prophecy was fulfilled in Christ (Rom. 9:33), and, therefore, declares that Christ is that Lord of Hosts. In like manner, he says in another passage, “We shall all stand before the Judgment-seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” Since in Isaiah God predicts this of himself (Isa. 45:23), and Christ exhibits the reality fulfilled in himself, it follows that he is the very God, whose glory cannot be given to another. (3.14.11)

Again, the prayer of faith is addressed to him—prayer, which specially belongs to the divine majesty, if anything so belongs. For the Prophet Joel says, “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord (Jehovah) shall be delivered” (Joel 2:32). And another says, “The name of the Lord (Jehovah) is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it and is safe,” (Prov. 18:10). But the name of Christ is invoked for salvation, and therefore it follows that he is Jehovah. (3.14.13)

Regarding the Holy Spirit being Jehovah, Calvin continues:

And when Isaiah had introduced the Lord of Hosts as speaking, Paul says, it was the Holy Spirit that spoke (Acts 28:25, 26). Nay, words uniformly said by the prophets to have been spoken by the Lord of Hosts, are by Christ and his apostles ascribed to the Holy Spirit. Hence it follows that the Spirit is the true Jehovah who dictated the prophecies. (3.14.15)

John Frame, in his Systematic Theology, finds the same connections:

[The NT writers] clearly equate the lordship of Jesus to that of Yahweh. Frequently they cite OT passages that speak of Yahweh and refer those to Jesus. (p451)

As with Jesus, there are many places where NT writers refer to OT texts dealing with Yahweh and apply them to the Holy Spirit. (p471)

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I believe Murray Harris would be considered reformed..

Harris says: It would be inappropriate for elohim or YHWH ever to refer to the Trinity in the OT when in the NT QEOS regularly refers to the Father alone and apparently never to the Trinity. [1]

According to Harris, θεός must refer to the Father as: "When (hO) QEOS is used, we are to assume that the NT writers have hO PATHR in mind unless the context makes this sense of (hO) QEOS impossible” (Harris, Jesus as God, p 47)


[1] Murray J Harris https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murray_J._Harris Murray J. Harris (born 18 August 1939) is professor emeritus of New Testament exegesis and theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He was for a time warden of Tyndale House at Cambridge University. He gained his PhD from the University of Manchester, studying under F. F. Bruce


Who is Jehovah in the OT?

  1. A related question demands brief treatment. To whom did the NT writers attribute the divine action described in the OT? To answer "the Lord God" (YHWH elohim) = LXX KURIOS hO QEOS) is to beg the question, for the authors of the NT wrote of OT events in the light of their Trinitarian understanding of God. A clear distinction must be drawn between what the OT text meant to its authors and readers and how it was understood by the early Christians who lived after the advent of the Messiah and the coming of the Spirit. Certainly the person who projects the Trinitarian teaching of the NT back into the OT and reads the OT through the spectacles of the dynamic or Trinitarian monotheism of the NT is thinking anachronistically. On the other hand, it does not seem illegitimate to pose a question such as this" To whom was the author of Hebrews referring when he said (1:1), "At many times and in various ways God spoke in the past to our forefathers through the prophets"? That it was not the Holy Spirit in any ultimate sense is evident from the fact that in neither the OT nor the NT is the Spirit called "God" expressis verbis. A LXX equivalent of YHWH, viz., KURIOS, is regularly applied to Jesus in the NT so that it becomes less a title than a proper name, it is not possible that hO QEOS in Heb. 1:1 denotes Jesus Christ. for the same sentence (in Greek) contains "(the God who spoke...) in these last days has spoken to us in a Son (EN hUIW)."and, in spite of the fact the LXX that the Since the author is emphasizing the continuity of of the two phases of divine speech (hO QEOS LALHSHS... ELALHSEN), this reference to a Son shows that the one who speaks in both eras and hUIOS as his final means of speaking shows that in the author's mind it was not the Triune God of Christian theology who spoke to the forefathers by the prophets. That is to say, for the author of Hebrews (as for all NT writers, one may suggest) "the God of our fathers," Yahweh, was no other than "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (compare Acts 2:30 and 2:33; 3:13 and 3:18; 3:25 and 3:26; note also 5:30). Such a conclusion is entirely consistent with the regular NT usage of hO QEOS. It would be inappropriate for elohim or YHWH ever to refer to the Trinity in the OT when in the NT QEOS regularly refers to the Father alone and apparently never to the Trinity.. (Murray J. Harris in "Jesus as God," page 47, fn 125)

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