5.3.3.1 God's name

When God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, He stated His name (Exodus 3: 14). This was at the same time an act in which God revealed His being. The name "Yahweh", which God made known here, can be translated as "I shall be who I shall be" or also as "I am who I am". In this way, God reveals Himself as the One who is totally identical to Himself, unchangeable, and eternal.

Out of reverence, Jews avoid speaking the name of Yahweh. To this day, whenever this name of God appears in the text of the Old Testament, Jews speak the name "Adonai" ("Lord"). This is an effort to avoid the danger of taking the name of God in vain, even unintentionally.

The Old Testament also mentions other names for God, for example "the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" or the "Lord God of your fathers". These names refer to divine acts in history as experienced in the time of the patriarchs. God is also called "Lord Sabaoth" ("Lord of hosts"). Here the term "hosts" refers to the angels.

God is also described as "Father" (Isaiah 63: 16). When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He told them to address God as the "Father in heaven" (Matthew 6: 9). The designation "Father" makes it clear that human beings may turn to the loving God in childlike trust in all matters.

In the great commission given to the Apostles (Matthew 28: 19) and in the blessing recorded in 2 Corinthians 13: 14, God is referred to as "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit". This name reveals the divine being in hitherto unknown clarity: God is triune, and is invoked and worshipped as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is forbidden to speak of the three divine persons in an inappropriate manner.

See also