The current judicial exercise in ensuring a hard separation between religion and the federal or state governments has a fairly short history. It really dates to the last century when Justice Hugo Black resurrected a comment that Thomas Jefferson had made in reply to a letter from the Danbury Baptist Association. The Connecticut group had written to congratulate him upon his election to the Presidency in 1804. His use of the phrase â€œa wall of separationâ€ is its first occurrence in text in this land, and in its context it was used as part of his explanation as to why he had chosen not to call for a national day of fasting and thanksgiving as his two predecessors had done upon election. Justice Blackâ€™s appropriation of the remark was much more insidious.
Does the Hebrew word in the plural number translated God in Genesis one, prove the author was a polytheist?
No. In the Hebrew tongue words often have the plural form without the idea of plurality. The language was not exact in this particular, like modern languages. The English reader can see this in the first chapter of Genesis; for, although God (Elohim) says in one verse, “Let us make man in our image,” in another he says, “I have given you every herb bearing seed,” etc.; thus using at one time the plural pronoun and at another the singular. The later could not have been used had the Elohim meant a plurality of gods.