For example, the King James Version translates Gen. 1:1 as,

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

If I translate it as,

In the beginning, the god created the heavens and the earth.

Would any denomination object to that translation?

  • Many 2nd-language English speakers do this - I assume you mean as an intentional decision?
    – Ryan Frame
    Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 23:48
  • It would be an intentional choice, sure.
    – user900
    Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 23:55
  • Should I ask a seperate question about the use of capitals for 'He'/he', 'His/his' in different editions of the Bible or can that be included in the question? Commented Oct 12, 2013 at 11:09
  • Out of curiosity, why are you asking? Is there a specific doubt you're trying to address? Or simply idle curiosity?
    – Flimzy
    Commented Oct 13, 2013 at 0:17

2 Answers 2


No denomination I know of would not object to that text. The reason being that using "God" refers specifically to the god of Israel and Christians, whereas "the god" refers to some god creating the heavens and the earth, meaning that "the god" only gains meaning from context. Should this excerpt be taken without its reference (Genesis 1:1) and its reader not knowing it was from the Bible, it would look like it was simply referring to a god, not the God.

  • 2
    Welcome to the site! Nice first post! Don't take this next as a commentary on the quality of your answer, it's just standard to invite new visitors to check out the following posts, which are meant to help newcomers "learn the ropes": help page and How we are different than other sites? Commented Oct 12, 2013 at 0:26
  • From what I've learned from participating on this site, it appears that Jehovah's Witnesses would take that as a good translation. I think they start John's Gospel with "a god"
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Oct 12, 2013 at 4:05

I'm not sure that denominations would actually object to that as a theological point so much as a linguistic point. אֱלֹהִים translates to "God" or "Divine beings" (yes, the word can be plural). And while ὁ θεὸς , on the other hand (the words used in Acts 3:13 to say, "the God of Abraham") translate to the God, in the Hebrew they are rendered as אֱ"הֵ י, which also does not have a definite article.

As to use of "the God", it is syntactically awkward in English unless contextualized (so "the God of Abraham" is fine). This is especially true since "God", in a monotheistic construct (the dominant concept in western nations), functions as much as a name as it does a title or description. While it is not syntactically incorrect to say, "the Barak Obama"*, people will look at you strangely. And this has much to do with the way the Hebrew was structured. For example, Psalm 90:2 has the line "Thou Art God". When I cross checked German, Italian, and French translations I found that there was no definite article there.

* Not saying that he should be equated to God, but he was the first person I thought of when I thought, "who is someone that everyone will know?"

  • Excellent, I answered theological objections and you answered linguistic, we're covered regardless of which version he was looking for!
    – Devon M
    Commented Oct 12, 2013 at 16:54
  • Although "I'm not sure that denominations would actually object to that as a theological point" is a misled statement,as I pointed out its problems from a theological standpoint
    – Devon M
    Commented Oct 12, 2013 at 16:55

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