What’s in a name?

Writing a novel requires creativity in the writing, but also in the tedious stuff, like naming all those characters who do all those really great/terrible things. And, giving some depth to those characters is a good thing too. (I’ve been reading a lot about that recently in both Jeff Gerke’s book and his blog.)

So, where did my story names come from?

Well, Katrina, if you haven’t figured it out, is based on my own name. I mean, what’s a 12-year-old to do but name her main character after herself? The adaptation is probably because my first Spanish class was also in sixth grade, and though Catalina is actually the Spanish version of my name, Katrina is closer to what most people think first.

Then, I needed Katrina to have a really good friend. Growing up, one of my favorite Bible stories was David and Jonathan, and Jonathan was a really good friend to David. So, my boy got his name. Not sure where Renée or DaRelle came from, but Nathaniel was suggested by my friend Michelle, and Wendy gave me Callawilder-before we looked in the baby name book and found the name Cadwallader. Add in Jacaab and Dianne, and I’ve listed the four main couples in the Journals of Ingrelan.

My fantasy world is not extremely different from this world, but it is not this world. Therefore, it didn’t seem right to give God the same names. So, I created my own. Yav, Yasu, and Yaruach make up Yavim. Yav comes from Yahveh, ruach is the Hebrew word for ‘spirit,’ and -im is the Hebrew plural.

Yahveh, or Yahweh, is translated in your Bibles as LORD, and is related to the use of I AM. In the Hebrew culture, it was only ever written, not spoken, out of reverence. Eventually, Jehovah became the oral version. You can see the plural use of -im in the other name for God used in Genesis, Elohim, translated as Lord. Since El = God and -im = plural, Elohim is the plural God, and often used to refer to His majesty, like the royal ‘we.’

I like how that use of -im can adapt or expand the meaning of another of our names for God: Immanuel. Literally, ‘with us God’ (Im = with, nu = us, and El = God), grammarians flip it around to ‘God with us’ so it makes more sense in English. Now, if you go with the other meaning for -im, the plural, then Immanuel becomes ‘plural, us, God.’ I’d like to think of this as ‘God, us, together as one,’ and take that to mean God is not only with us, but also in us, around us, truly a part of us.

No. We’re not God. There is only one God. But, that one God is a loving God who stitched each one of us together before we were born. The Father (Yav) knows us more intimately than we can imagine, yet still desires our company. The Son (Yasu) is the friend that sticks closer than a brother, never abandoning us, even if we abandon Him. And the Spirit (Yaruach) will dwell in us, giving guidance and special gifts, such as service, teaching and, sometimes, prophecy.

Did I just state a contradiction? One God, but three Gods? I agree that the Trinity is one of the hardest concepts to grasp. I once explained it to some curious students this way: to them, I was Kate the teacher, but I am also Kate the daughter, and Kate the friend. There are a lot of other models out there, and many are probably better than that. But, on the spot, with teenagers, I think I did pretty well. 🙂

And with those thoughts, Kate the writer is going to sign off, until next week.


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