El Shaddai

So as promised we begin today to look at the “names of God” in the Bible. We have looked at one name, the one that appears at the very beginning of the Bible – “Elohim” – it comes 2,570 times – and means “Absolute, unqualified and unlimited energy.” He is truly an OMNIPOTENT God!

Let’s look at one of the “Elohim” names – “El Shaddai” – it is translated “God Almighty”. Notice the “El” that stands for “Elohim” now added to that is “Shaddai”. What does that signify? It’s original meaning is lost in obscurity. Some scolars think it means “strong” or “mighty.” The traditional view is that it is related to the word “breast” – some preachers refer to it as the “Mother-love-of-God” and translate it as “the many breasted One”. My Hebrew teacher (Alec Motyer) translated it as the “God of BIG hugs” – it is a very, very tender expression.

At the height of the feminist movement some started to refer to God as “She” and “Mother”. There is absolutely no warrant for this. Our God is perfect – lacking nothing. “El Shaddai” is underlining that He has all the “maternal” qualities.

When the word first appears (Genesis 17) Abram is over ninety and he still has no children and God is saying to him – I am “El” (All Powerful) but also “very, very tender – “Shaddai” – “The God of BIG hugs.”