My name is ElShaddai Edwards and I live in the Minneapolis (Minnesota, USA) metro area with my wife and our two sons. I was born and raised in Homer, Alaska, then moved south to attend college in Minnesota. After almost two years of fruitless studies in math, physics and quantum astrophysics, I shifted gears and graduated with a degree in music.
In my professional life, I’ve worked at software development and IT firms in a variety of marketing and business positions. I currently work as a User Experience (UX) Designer for Digitaria, a full-service digital agency with offices in downtown Minneapolis. In addition, I moonlight as a freelance web designer, creating custom WordPress websites for local ministry programs and small businesses.
About the name
The title for this site is based on a translation of my given first name, ElShaddai, one of the first Hebrew names for God in the Bible. Most English Bibles translate El Shaddai as “God Almighty” as traditionally rendered from the Greek pantocrator and Latin omnipotens. However, in the Septuagint, there is also a tradition for translating Shaddai with the Greek hikanos, which means “the Sufficient One” (cf. Ruth 1:20 and Job 21:15, 31:2 and 40:2 in the NETS translation).
Perhaps based on rabbinical exegesis rather than strict etymology, this alternate translation doesn’t appear in our modern Bibles, which generally conform to the traditional English rendering. That said, my earliest memory of my father explaining my name (probably after I’d sat down with his copy of Strong’s and traced every occurrence of Shaddai in my NASB OT) was along the lines of “God is sufficient for the needs of His people”. I don’t think I could argue with that!
This blog’s tagline plays off of one of my favorite translated phrases in the New/Revised English Bible:
“When I [Paul] was starting for Macedonia, I urged you [Timothy] to stay on at Ephesus. You were to instruct certain people to give up teaching erroneous doctrines and devoting themselves to interminable myths and genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation, and do not further God’s plan for us, which works through faith.
This instruction has love as its goal, the love which springs from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a genuine faith. Through lack of these some people have gone astray into a wilderness of words. They set out to be teachers of the law, although they do not understand either the words they use or the subjects about which they are so dogmatic.”
– 1 Timothy 1:3-7 (REB)
The phrase “a wilderness of words” is a translation of the Greek adjective mataiologia. Strong’s defines mataiologia as “vain talking, empty talk”. The corresponding noun is mataiologos (cf. Titus 1:10), defined as “an idle talker, one who utters empty senseless things.” In his Daily Study Bible series, William Barclay notes that the root adjective mataios “applied to heathen worship. The main idea was of a worship which produced no goodness in life.” The NASB suggestively captures this idea with the translation “unfruitful discussion”.
It’s very easy to get caught up in writing words and not think about the meaning or impact of what you write. Paul wrote about the “wilderness of words” as being a place where those who have strayed find themselves when they try to teach others from the scripture. I sometimes feel that way about blogging; as a sinful man, I find myself convicted by the Spirit with respect to my heart and faith, and I question if I really should be writing words of posterity that may be taken as instruction by others.
This blog then is a place to capture my life as a sinner in God’s kingdom who, as Paul writes, discovers “that when I want to do right, only wrong is within my reach. In my inmost self I delight in the law of God, but I perceive in my outward actions a different law, fighting against the law that my mind approves, and making me a prisoner under the law of sin which controls my conduct. Wretched creature that I am, who is there to rescue me from this state of death?”
None but God. For He alone is sufficient for all our needs.