July 22, 2024

I woke up at 6:00 this morning with this very thought on my mind. “What is god?” The night before I had studied the Book of Haggai. (I will upload the translation soon) In Haggai 2:12 I came across an unfamiliar Hebrew word, ‘Bagodu‘ (בגדו), translated here as clothing or garment but also interpreted as deceive in other contexts. I began thinking about the Hebrew word גד, the root of this word and wondered if it was the origin of the English word, god. However, just as quickly as the thought entered my mind, it was gone… that is until this morning.

Questions. Questions…

As usual, this brought about more questions… What is the etymology of the English word ‘god’? It was in this line of thought that it dawned on me that when I would google its etymology it would most certainly give me a European origin. How is that even possible? How is it that a species that originated in Africa would have zero linguistic ties to the region? Is it designed that way to negate the validity and significance of Africa as the birthplace of humanity? Is it that the science of Language is failing to catch up to the science of science? Is this a simple oversight or evidence that we, Westerners, continue to hold on to biased, incorrect, and incomplete fallacies of the past?

The study

In light of these questions, I studied the ‘god’ and ‘גד’ in hopes of discovering a clear link between the two. To do this we need also understand a third word, Elahim (אלהים). This is the Hebrew word translated to the English word God.

God in English

God is an English word that most linguists agree derived from the Germanic word, ‘ghut‘ meaning ‘that which is invoked’.

Origin and meaning of god
Photo from https://www.etymonline.com/word/god

However, etymologist and author of the book Words Origins and how We Know Them, Anatoly Liberman, argues that this etymology is unlikely. He says…

If this is how the Germanic word for “God” came into existence, it was not a past participle, and d (ð) was not a verbal ending or suffix.

As a postscript, I’ll say something about the Slavic word bog “god.” Its etymology is believed to be certain because its alleged Sanskrit and Iranian cognates mean “dispenser of wealth” and “god.”

Russian bogatyi (stress on ga) means “rich.” Yet, with regard to bogatyi, we may be dealing with a case of late folk etymology. Bog, I suspect, belongs with Engl. bogey, Russian buka (the same meaning), and Germanic gu-. 


Interestingly, the ‘Proto-Indo-European’ languages, including
Iranian, Russian, Sanskrit and Slavic have the nearly identical meaning as at least one Hebrew interpretation of the word god(גד) – fortune or gathered resources.

So the origin of the word is disputed… This made me even more curious to understand the motive of linguistics to ignore the clear and evident connections between African and European languages.

None the less, a study of the Hebrew word pronounced god, גד, provided more insight about this potential, and likely, connection. In Hebrew, the word pronounced “god” is the same as the name of one of the sons of Israel, “Gad”, correctly pronounced, “God”. Gad is prophecied by Israel as being the one who will be that gathering and who will gather Israel and will tell of restraint, which is indeed the purpose of the gathering in the first place.

גד “god” in Hebrew

In Gen 49:19 when Jacob called his sons together to tell (גיד) them their ‘calling in the after days’, he tells Gad/God these words:

Gad(גד), the one who was a band(גדוד), he will be one who bands (גוד) us and he will tell(יגד) of restraint.

Genesis 49:19

Although there are several ways this can be interpreted since the same root is used repeatedly in this sentence, at its core, the word גד refers to things that are gathered at an entry and exit point. It’s translated to words like fortune, the places where resources are gathered, a troop or a band of people gathered together, a bunch of stuff gathered together, the riverbank where water gathers, and the tendons where muscle gathers.

Still, its most frequently interpreted as “tell”, the gathering together of specific verbal communication that enters one from an external source and exits from that one to whom it was given. The ancients would have simply understood this as the gathering door… the place where or thing that something enters or exits gathered together.

Thus, it is entirely possible that the English and/or the Germanic word meaning to call or invoke and the other European versions of the of the word derives from this Hebrew word “גד”, often interpreted tell and fortune. It may be referring to the gathering that is at the beginning and end of all things or simply the gathering of wealth as being connected to the acts of any deity, we now call gods.

Ultimately, it’s one thing that becomes many than becomes one again like the wealth, tendons, riverbanks, tellings, a bunches, bands of people, and humanity as a whole! In this sense, God/גד represents unity that once was and that will be again.

אלהים “Elahim”

There is the issue that God is not the Hebrew word often interpreted as the ‘God’ of Israel. Rather, the word is Elahim(אלהים), a word that means much more than wealth and tellings, although it is inclusive of these things… and all things.

Elah-eem is the plural form of the Hebrew word for energy or power, Elah. More specifically, it refers to the energy or power source. So it can be said that Yahuwah is the power source of Israel and not god(גד), in this context, meaning wealth. But it can also be said that Yahuwah is God, Israel’s wealth, as the thing upon which they rely.

If you study the word Elahim, you’ll notice that it’s used to refer to others besides Yahuwah… The so-called angels, which are literally messengers or intermediaries, judges of Israel, the un-holy and holy leaders or motivators of any people rather it is a person, place, thing, or ideal are all called Elahim, which we would translate as gods. Infamous bible phrases such as “the gods of the Canaanite”, “the gods of the Gentiles”, “thou shall not worship other gods”, and “gods of stone and wood” is most telling of this truth.

That being said, the English translation of “god” is a misnomer because god(גד) and elahim(אלהים) are distinct things. Although wealth brings power, it is not power except when powered by humanity. Rather, the ability of the wealthy to influence others is the power and human propensity to be influenced by it is what gives it power.

On the other hand, Yahuwah is an influential power source, distinct from other secondary forms of power such as that afforded by wealth, status, or title.

The Bottom Line

Power is the ability and energy that maintins, drives or forces something or someone in a desired direction. God(גד) is anything gathered at the entrance and/or exit of something else.

Yahuwah is greater than both these things. He is the creator and source of power and the beginning and end of all things that has ever been gathered.

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