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Question:  If God was the only person or spirit on earth, in Genesis 1:26, when God said "Let us make man," who else was he referring to when he mentioned "us"?

Answer:

That plural pronoun on Genesis 1:26, Genesis 11:7, and Isaiah 6:8 are examples where a good interpretation can result in more than one possible answer or understanding. See Chapter One on the topic "Goals of Proper Interpretation".

It is easy for many commentators to take these verses as a references to the Doctrine of Trinity. Such interpretation, although possible, should be handled carefully and fairly since we are looking for the intended meaning of the author.  During the Old Testament time it was difficult to find any author teaching a trinitarian-monotheistic theology. I believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, but I would always follow the principle of Bible Interpretation.

Here are some of possible explanations for the first person plural pronoun "us". (1) Reference to Trinity (see explanation above). (2) The conversation in the heavenly court scene so God is talking to angels or heavenly beings. (3) The word God itself is plural (Elohim), so some call this plural of majesty.  Any of these explanations are possible, but there is only one right answer although we are unaware of it.

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