Name of the Creator
subject of the name of the Creator
of the heavens and the earth is
one of the most important and exciting
topics in the Bible. Your investment
of time in studying this section
carefully will be well worth every
with a capital "G,"
is specifically called "God"
277 times in the Third Edition of
A.A.’s Big Book. That Big Book also
contains 107 specific pronouns—he,
him, his, and himself—which are
similarly capitalized and hence
unquestionably refer to "God."
Counting the additional places where
A.A.’s Big Book contains references
to our Creator—calling Him "Creator,"
"Father of Light," and
"Spirit"—the Creator is
thus specifically mentioned in the
Big Book more than 400 times. (See
Dick B., The Good Book and The
Big Book, pp. 49-50.) Not surprisingly,
but certainly unfortunately, the
Big Book nowhere calls the Creator
by His proper name. Nonetheless,
the Big Book distinguishes the Creator
from any other "god" or
kind of "god."
Wilson, author of almost every word
in the Big Book’s basic text, can
quickly be seen as articulate and
careful in his grammatical usages.
Especially when dealing with, and
capitalizing, certain words! In
the "Handbook of Style"
section of the Merriam-Webster’s
Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition,
the following is stated about capitalized
are used with almost all proper
nouns–that is, nouns that name particular
persons, places, or things (including
abstract entities), distinguishing
them from others of the same class.
. . . The essential distinction
in the use of capitals and lowercase
letters at the beginnings of words
lies in this individualizing significance
of capitals as against the generalizing
significance of lowercase. . . .
the sub-subsection titled "Religious
Terms," the following is also
stated in the "Handbook of
Style" section of Merriam-Webster’s
Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition:
Words designating the Deity are
Personal pronouns referring to the
Deity are usually capitalized, even
when they closely follow their antecedent
God is not the author of
confusion, but of peace, as in all
churches of the saints (1 Cor. 14:33)
concerning therefore the eating
of those things that are offered
in sacrifice unto idols, we know
that an idol is nothing
in the world, and that there
is none other God but one.
though there be that are called
gods, whether in heaven or in earth,
(as there be gods many, and lords
to us there is but one God,
the Father, of whom are all
things, and we in him; and one Lord
Jesus Christ, by whom are
all things, and we by him (1 Cor.
is therefore no doubt, considering
the many references by Bill and
Bob to the Bible, that Bill was,
in the Big Book and his other early
writings, specifically talking about
the "Deity" of the Bible.
His capitalized references to God,
the Creator, Maker, and Father,
were not referring and did not refer
to a "group," a "doorknob,"
a "lightbulb," "the
Big Dipper," or some other
vague "higher power" of
Bill’s own making. Bill’s intent
to designate our Creator is further
evident from the frequent mention
by Bill (and Bob) of his "Heavenly
Father," just as Jesus did
in the "Sermon on the Mount"
(Matthew chapters 5 to 7). In other
specific, biblical references to
the Creator, Bill spoke of Him as
the "living God," as "God
Almighty," and as "God
our Father"– all terms in and
from the Bible. A Bible which refers
to false gods, but never to the
Creator as one of these false gods,
or as a group, as a lightbulb, or
as a "higher power."
not surprisingly, but certainly
regrettably, the Big Book did not
refer to the Creator by his personal
name. We will see in a moment that
the Creator Himself made it possible
to identify Him with exactness and
clarity. That identification comes
with the use of His proper, personal
are many reasons for getting Bill’s
biblical references to "God"
and our "Creator" straight.
They start with the need for identifying
our Creator’s actual name.
First, as will be discussed below,
in the Bible, God specifically declares
what His name is—many times. He
indicates the importance of that
very name to Himself. He states
clearly that His name is
"my holy name." Second,
there is endless confusion today
in A.A. talk about strange new gods,
higher powers, and inanimate objects
such as chairs and bulldozers.
Creator long ago explicitly distinguished
the difference between Himself and
the kind of phoney idols that are
proliferating today. Psalm 115 says:
unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but
unto thy name give glory, for thy
mercy, and for thy truth’s
should the heathen say, Where
is now their God?
our God is in the heavens;
he hath done whatsoever he hath
idols are silver and gold,
the work of men’s hands.
have mouths, but they speak not:
eyes have they, but they see not:
have ears, but they hear not: noses
have they, but they smell not:
have hands, but they handle not:
feet have they, but they walk not:
neither speak they through their
that make them are like unto them;
so is everyone that trusteth
Israel, trust thou in the Lord:
he is their help and their
shield. (Ps. 115:1-9)
115 makes obvious the absurdity
of trusting in a lightbulb, as some
AAs declare today that you
can do. And a word to the wise is
Sam Shoemaker spoke to AAs at their
international convention and decried
the use of "absurd names for
God." Such absurdities, of
course, can be eliminated in a moment
by referring to the Creator of the
heavens and the earth by His proper
name which He Himself sets forth
in the Bible. And He makes clear
in the Ten Commandments that there
are to be no other "gods"
before Him–no gods, graven images,
follow therefore specific references
in the Bible to the Creator’s holy
name and explanations of what the
Creator has said about His name
in the Good Book.
you want to get to know someone,
one of the first things you usually
want to know is his or her name.
And peoples’ names tend to be very
important to them. The Bible indicates
in many ways that the name of the
Creator of the heavens and the earth
is very important to Him also.
shalt not take the name of the
LORD thy God in vain; for the
LORD will not hold him guiltless
that taketh his name in vain
(Exod. 20:7, emphasis added)
ye shall not swear by my name
falsely, neither shalt thou profane
the name of thy God: I am
the LORD (Lev. 19:12, emphasis added)
he hath set his love upon me [i.e.,
the LORD], therefore will I deliver
him: I will set him on high, because
he hath known my name. (Ps.
91:14, emphasis added)
ye in his holy name: let
the heart of them rejoice that seek
the LORD (Ps. 105:3, emphasis added).
sent redemption unto his people:
he hath commanded his covenant for
ever: holy and reverend is his
name (Ps. 111:9, emphasis added).
I will sanctify my great name,
which was profaned among the heathen,
which ye have profaned in the midst
of them; and the heathen shall know
that I am the LORD, saith
the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified
in you before their eyes (Ezek.
36:23, emphasis added)
will I make my holy name
known in the midst of my people
Israel; and I will not let them
pollute my holy name any
more: and the heathen shall know
that I am the LORD, the Holy One
of Israel (Ezek. 39:7, emphasis).
Somewhere between the fifth and
the second centuries bce a tragic
accident befell God: he lost his
name. More exactly, Jews gave up
using God's personal name Yahweh,
and began to refer to Yahweh by
various periphrases: God, the Lord,
the Name, the Holy One, the Presence,
even the Place. Even where Yahweh
was written in the biblical text,
readers pronounced the name as Adonai.
With the final fall of the temple,
even the rare liturgical occasions
when the name was used ceased, and
even the knowledge of the pronunciation
of the name was forgotten [David
J. A. Clines, "Yahweh and the
God of Christian Theology,"
Theology 83 (1980), pp.
the Bible, the Creator of the heavens
and the earth specifically tells
us His name many times. That name
in the Hebrew Old Testament is represented
by four Hebrew letters—Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh
(or YHWH)—and these four
letters are sometimes called the
writing"). YHWH, Strong’s
number 3068, occurs 6,519 times
in the Hebrew Old Testament underlying
the KJV [according to the Blue
Letter Bible (BLB) on the Internet
and 6,828 times in the Hebrew Old
Testament from which the NIV was
translated [The Hebrew-English
Concordance to the Old Testament
(HECOT, p. 630)]. In fact, YHWH
is one of the 35 most frequently
occurring terms in the Hebrew Old
to the pronunciation of the
four Hebrew letters YHWH,
Kenneth L. Barker states:
is almost universal consensus among
scholars today that the sacred Tetragrammaton
(YHWH) is to be vocalized and pronounced
Yahweh. [Barker, "YHWH
Sabaoth: ‘The Lord Almighty,’"
The NIV: The Making of a Contemporary
the Encyclopaedia Britannica
Christian scholars after the Renaissance
and Reformation periods used the
term Jehovah for YHWH, in the 19th
and 20th centuries biblical scholars
again began to use the form Yahweh.
Early Christian writers, such as
Clement of Alexandria in the 2nd
century, had used a form like Yahweh,
and this pronunciation of the tetragrammaton
was never really lost. Other Greek
transcriptions also indicated that
YHWH should be pronounced Yahweh
"Yahweh," emphasis added]
to the meaning of the Creator’s
name YHWH, "Yahweh,"
Exodus chapter three provides important
And Moses said unto God, Who am
I, that I should go unto Pharaoh,
and that I should bring forth the
children of Israel out of Egypt?
And he said, Certainly I will
be [ehyeh] with thee;
and this shall be a token
unto thee, that I have sent thee:
When thou hast brought forth the
people out of Egypt, ye shall serve
God upon this mountain.
And Moses said unto God, Behold,
when I come unto the children
of Israel, and shall say unto them,
The God of your fathers hath sent
me unto you; and they shall say
to me, What is his name?
what shall I say unto them?
And God said unto Moses, I AM
THAT I AM [ehyeh asher ehyeh]:
and he said, Thus shalt thou say
unto the children of Israel, I
AM [ehyeh] hath sent
me unto you.
And God said moreover unto Moses,
Thus shalt thou say unto the children
of Israel, the LORD [YHWH,
Yahweh] God of your fathers, the
God of Abraham, the God of Isaac,
and the God of Jacob, hath sent
me unto you: this is my name
for ever, and this is my
memorial unto all generations.
Go, and gather the elders of Israel
together, and say unto them, The
LORD [YHWH, Yahweh] God of
your fathers, the God of Abraham,
of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared
unto me, saying, I have surely visited
you, and seen that which is done
to you in Egypt (Exod. 3:11-16,
KJV, emphasis added).
best known modern Bibles [such as
the NIV, NASV, and the Revised Standard
all differ from the KJV and agree
with each other in their translation
of the Hebrew words underlying "I
AM THAT I AM" in Exodus 3:14:
said to Moses, "I AM WHO I
AM.f This is what you
are to say to the Israelites: ‘I
AM has sent me to you.’" (NIV)
said to Moses, "cI
AM WHO cI AM"; and
He said, "Thus you shall say
to the sons of Israel, "cI
AM has sent me to you." (NASV)
said to Moses, "I AM WHO I
AM."e And he said,
"Say this to the people of
Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’"
NIV and RSV also offer alternative
translations in their footnotes
relating to verse 14:
I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE
(NIV, footnote "f")
I AM WHAT I AM or I WILL BE WHAT
I WILL BE (RSV, footnote "e")
the NIV and NASV provide information
concerning the relationship between
the term "I AM" which
occurs three times in verse 14 and
the term "the LORD" [YHWH]
in verse 15:
Hebrew for LORD [in verse
15] sounds like and may be derived
from the Hebrew for I AM
in verse 14 (NIV, footnote "g")
AM" in verse 14 is] Related
to the name of God, YHWH,
rendered LORD, which is derived
from the verb HAYAH, to be
(NASV, footnote "c").
the chapter titled "YHWH Sabaoth"
quoted earlier, Barker points out
the importance of Exodus chapter
3 relative to the meaning of "Yahweh":
verse [i.e., Exod. 3:14] is a divine
commentary on—or exposition of—the
meaning of the name Yahweh (v.15).
Grant, in his article "Being
Involved" which is posted on
the Internet [http://www.pbc.org/dp/grant/exodus/exo003.html],
seems to indicate that his name
is "I AM" (or "I
WILL BE"), for he tells Moses
to tell the people that "I
AM" has sent him [verse 14].
This is the first_person singular
form of the verb "to be."
God has used it elsewhere already
in this passage in conveying his
nature. In Exodus 3:12, he says,
"I will be with you."
Although in the New American Standard
translation, the name "I AM"
and the verb "I will be"
appear to be different tenses, they
appear in the same Hebrew tense,
and they are one and the same word.
. . .
. . God twice identifies his name
with a word translated "the
Lord" (3:15, 16) [i.e., YHWH,
Yahweh]. This word is likely the
third_person singular form of the
verb "to be" and means
. . . "HE IS" or "HE
WILL BE." The transliteration
from Hebrew into English, near as
we can tell, is "Yahweh"
the New English Translation’s discussion
of Exod. 3:14 in note 47 states:
verb form used here [for "I
am" in verse 14] is . . . ('ehyeh),
the Qal imperfect, 1csg, of the
verb "to be," hyh (haya).
It forms an excellent paronomasia
with the name [Yahweh]. So when
God used the verb to express his
name, he used this form saying,
"I AM." When his people
refer to him as Yahweh, which is
the 3msg form of the same verb,
it actually means "he is."
Some commentators argue for a future
tense translation, "I will
be who I will be," because
the verb has an active quality about
it, and the Israelites lived in
the light of the promises for the
future. The Greek translation [of
the Hebrew Old Testament known as
the Septuagint or "LXX"
(for the supposed 70 translators)]
used a participle to capture the
idea [i.e., ego eimi ho on,
"I am he who is"]; . .
. The simplest meaning is the English
present tense, which embraces the
future promises. The point is that
Yahweh is sovereignly independent
of all creation and that his presence
guarantees the fulfillment of the
covenant. Others argue for a causative
Hiphil translation of "I will
cause to be," but nowhere in
the Bible does this verb appear
in Hiphil or Piel (http://www.bible.org/).
meaning of God’s holy name Yahweh
has been frequently discussed in
scholarly literature through the
years. If the reader would like
to pursue this matter further, here
are several additional sources for
consideration: (1) "Yahweh,"
Encyclopædia Britannica Article
(2) "Jehovah (Yahweh),"
Catholic Encyclopedia (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/);
and (3) our Appendix 1, The Creator’s
Name is Yahweh!
are some key verses in which the
Creator’s name Yahweh occurs:
planted a tamarisk at Beersheba
and there he invoked Yahweh, the
everlasting God. [Gen. 21:33 Jerusalem
KJV translates "there he invoked"
as "called there on the name
of" in verse 33 because the
Hebrew Old Testament contains the
word shem, "name."
God also said to Moses, "You
are to say to the sons of Israel:
‘Yahweh, the God of your fathers,
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac,
and the God of Jacob, has sent me
to you’. This is my name for all
time; by this name I shall be invoked
for all generations to come (Exod.
Bill Wilson’s usage of the phrase
"God of our fathers" in
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions,
AAWS, 1987, p. 29.)
spoke to Moses and said to him,
"I am Yahweh. To Abraham and
Isaac and Jacob I appeared as El
Shaddai; I did not make myself known
to them by my name Yahweh."
(Exod. 6:2, 3 JB)
let them know this: you alone bear
the name Yahweh, Most High over
the whole world (Ps. 83:18 JB).
name is Yahweh, I will not yield
my glory to another, nor my honour
to idols. (Isa. 42:8 JB)
listen, I am going to make them
acknowledge, this time I am going
to make them acknowledge my hand
and my might; and then they will
know that Yahweh is my name.
(Jer. 16:21 JB)
© Dick B.
B., PO Box 837, Kihei, HI 96753-0837; 808
874 4876; email@example.com