Tuesday 15 March 2016

Ex 7:1 the face of God

If God is logic, how could Adam and Abraham meet and talk with gods? In the Bible, "Elohim" refers not just to God, but people who represent God, such as judges. In other posts I will focus on the ancient rulers who claimed to be gods, and their messengers. People still try to represent God today. God is logic, and abstract principle, yet humans can also be logical (or think they are). 

This post is about the men Moses saw as representing God. Starting of course with Moses himself.
And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. (Exodus 7:1)
Other people could also speak for God (by this point, after Abraham, "Lord" and "God" were synonyms)
And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. And they said, Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the Lord heard it. (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)  (Numbers 12:1-3)
The reference to being meek suggests that Moses was taking instruction from somebody. Whoever this was had a policy of never showing his face. 
Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen. (Exodus 33:20-23)
Is this because his advisor was a woman, his Ethiopian wife? Or just to avoid any risk of graven images? Another possibility is that Moses had brought advisers from Egypt. Some scholars have pointed out similarities between the monotheism of Moses and of the apostate Pharaoh Akhenaten. Given that Moses' message was "escape from slavery to Egypt" it would make sense for these advisers to have extreme secrecy. But all of this is idle speculation. Whoever advised Moses does not matter: only what they said matters. The truth of logic is contained in the logic, not in who says it.

The voice of God

Moses' decisions were called God's decisions, and Moses' words were called God's words (Exodus 18:15-16). The spirit (literally the breath) of God filled Moses and gave him all wisdom and understanding (Exodus 35:31). Why? Because Moses' words were logical (or are supposed to be: I will later blog about the case against Moses).

When Moses came down from the mountain, it is said the Lord passed in front of Moses and then spoke. Given that the people were not permitted to see God other than as smoke, this probably indicates that God's voice was the voice of Moses (Exodus 34:5-7) or of a priest.

Most of the time (e.g. when routinely acting as judge to his people) Moses just received God's words in his mind. This is how later prophets usually experienced God: as ideas in the head. That is, "a still small voice" (1 Kings 19:11-13).

Later posts might cover Jesus as God. But that's enough for now.

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