The Positive and Negative nature of Elohim

When I speak of the positive and negative nature of Elohim, I am not speaking about a "moral" positive and negative, but the "forces" of positive and negative, much like the two poles of a magnet or the forces of the protons (positive) and electrons (negative) of an atom. God is a perfect balance of positive and negative: Good and Bad, Light and Dark, Large and Small, Make and Break, Loud and Quiet, Far and Near, One and Many, Male and Female, etc.

This concept of “balance” is virtually unknown in our western philosophy, but is a very important one in the ancient philosophy of the Israelites and other ancient peoples. From this ancient perspective, “balance” is “order” and anything out of balance is chaos. In the following two verses we can see this balance of positive and negative within the actions of Elohim.

In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1, LT)

I (Elohim) will destroy all [flesh] with the earth. (Genesis 6:13, LT)

In the first verse we see Elohim creating (positive) the world, but in the second verse we see him destroying (negative) it.

And Elohim said, Let there be light, and there was light. (Genesis 1:3, LT)

And Moses drew near to the thick darkness where Elohim was. (Exodus 20:21, LT)

In these two verses we see Elohim being associated with light (positive) and darkness (negative). It is interesting to note that Jews and Christians always associate Elohim with light and Satan with darkness. However, almost every time Elohim appears to the Israelites, he is in the darkness.

In Genesis 1:4 we read that "Elohim separated the light from the darkness." The word for light is feminine while the word for darkness is masculine. Not only is this verse about the balance of light and darkness, but it is also about the balance of the masculine and the feminine.

In the next two verses we see two contrasting attributes of Yahweh, mercy (positive) and a consuming fire (negative).

Yahweh your Elohim is a consuming fire. (Deuteronomy 4:24, LT)

Yahweh your Elohim is a merciful El. (Deuteronomy 4:31, LT)

In Genesis 1:26 we find that the image of Elohim is male (positive) and female (negative). In Genesis 3:5 and 3:22 we see that Elohim is good (positive) and bad (negative). In Joshua 23:15 we read that Yahweh does good things (positive) and bad things (negative). In Deuteronomy 30:1 Yahweh provides blessings (positive) and curses (negative). In Isaiah 45:7 we are told that God makes peace (positive) and evil (negative).

Below is one of the most vivid passages in the entire Bible that demonstrates this positive and negative aspect of ancient philosophy.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, ASV)

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