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God spoke “Behold I will stand there before thee, upon the rock Horeb”

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by paarsurrey, May 2, 2013.

  1. paarsurrey

    paarsurrey Veteran Member

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    Judaism are monotheists, as I understand, and the Christians also claim that they believe in one God, despite their belief in Trinity. Hinduism more so the Santana Dharma or the believers in the Eternal Law are also monotheists, as I understand; so are Zoroastrians and Buddha, as I get it.

    How should we perceive Exodus 17:6?

    [6] Behold I will stand there before thee, upon the rock Horeb: - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible, Book Of Exodus Chapter 17

    God is not a physical being; what is meant by God standing upon the rock Horeb?
     
    #1 paarsurrey, May 2, 2013
    Last edited: May 2, 2013
  2. Levite

    Levite Higher and Higher

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    Phrases like ייתיצב לפנך or עמד לפנך, both usually rendered along the lines of "stand before you," when used in the Tanach in reference to God, are metaphorical, symbolic language. A more idiomatic but true to context translation might be something like "make manifest my presence before you."

    A good explanation for the concept was provided by the Hasidic Master Rebbe Menachem Nachum Twersky of Chernobyl, who noted that, obviously, God is omnipresent ("The world entire is filled up with His glory," Isaiah 6:3). But normally, this presence is tenuously perceptible to us, not visible or audible or otherwise physically sensible, and even for wise and holy people, it can take effort to perceive God's presence, though it is everywhere. But when, in the Tanach, it speaks of God showing Himself or standing forth or appearing, what that means is that God causes there to be a "thickening" of His presence in the world in a certain place, so that it becomes perceptible, with some sort of attendant physical and psychospiritual phenomena to herald it, in order that a miracle can be understood by many witnesses to be a moment of true divine revelation.
     
  3. Gjallarhorn

    Gjallarhorn N'yog-Sothep

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    Your premise has absolutely nothing to do with your question, for starters.
     
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  4. paarsurrey

    paarsurrey Veteran Member

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    Thanks for the explanation.

    How would you explain the following events ?

    Exodus 13:21-22

    [21] And the Lord went before them to shew the way by day in a pillar of a cloud, and by night in a pillar of fire: that he might be the guide of their journey at both times. [22] There never failed the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, before the people.

    Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible, Book Of Exodus Chapter 13


    God is not physical being.
     
    #4 paarsurrey, May 2, 2013
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  5. paarsurrey

    paarsurrey Veteran Member

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    I have now made some corrections; is it OK now? Please
     
    #5 paarsurrey, May 2, 2013
    Last edited: May 2, 2013
  6. Gjallarhorn

    Gjallarhorn N'yog-Sothep

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    Delete your beginning paragraph and the question stands as is. Your opening has nothing to do with the question asked.

    And as for your pillar of fire example, it says show, not become.
     
  7. Levite

    Levite Higher and Higher

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    Yes, this is no different than the other. The cloud and the fire are not God. The cloud and the fire are miraculously aggregated physical phenomena that are like symbolic visual clues that in that place, the omnipresent God is causing His presence to "thicken," in other words, for divine energy to be slightly more concentrated and perceptible in one place than in other places.
     
  8. paarsurrey

    paarsurrey Veteran Member

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    To me; it is essential; all revealed religion are from one source of one true God; whatever the name in the language of the people it originated in. Like Levite has explained; others could also explain it and see their religion in the same light; that makes unity in understanding, in my opinion.
     
  9. paarsurrey

    paarsurrey Veteran Member

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    Thanks for explaining for me.

    How would you explain Moses parting the sea in two columns with his staff and making way for the Israelites?
    (Exodus 14:21-22).
     
  10. Gjallarhorn

    Gjallarhorn N'yog-Sothep

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    Yes, you believe that. But, you are asking for analysis on Biblical scripture. Why would a Zoroastrian have any important information on the topic based on their religion?
     
  11. Levite

    Levite Higher and Higher

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    That I don't know. Some say it is literal, a physical miracle. Others say it is an exaggerated account. Still others say the story is entirely metaphorical.

    Personally, I like to think the story represents at least a grain of miraculous truth. But I also don't know that it matters much if it is literal, exaggerated, or entirely metaphorical.
     
  12. paarsurrey

    paarsurrey Veteran Member

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    Thanks for your answer.

    What is your stance on the following, please?

    1. The water of the river became blood. EXODUS 7:17.
    2. Moses smites all the borders of Egypt with frogs. EXODUS 8:2.
    3. Moses smites the dust of the earth and became lice. EXODUS 8:17.
    4. Moses sends a grievous mourner upon the cattle, the Egyptians cattle died but the Israelite did not. EXODUS 9:3. EXODUS 9:6 to 7.
    5. Moses smites the Egyptians by the dust of the furnace. EXODUS 9:8.
    6. Moses sends rain of hail. EXODUS 9:18.
    7. Moses sends the locusts over Egypt. EXODUS 10:14.
    8. Moses sends the darkness in all the land of Egypt for 3 days. EXODUS 10:22.
    9. GOD said, every first born in the land of Egypt from Pharaoh to the first born of the maidservant, And all first born of the beast. EXODUS 12:29.
     
  13. paarsurrey

    paarsurrey Veteran Member

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    I thought one may.
     
  14. collectivedementia

    collectivedementia home-base umpire

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    Consider the staff to be the same as the pillars of fire and smoke...when Moses was given his instructions for bringing the Israelites out of Egypt he was afraid the people would not listen and that Pharoah would not believe him. God imparted a small measure of His power into the staff to be a sign to everyone(Moses included), to prove he was sent by God.The staff had the power to transform itself into snakes, and to overcome the magicians tricks of the priests of Pharoah.
    Also consider the mantle of Elijah that fell to Elisha upon his ascencion to Heaven. Elisha used that mantle to part the waters of the river,proving the power of Elijah was passed unto him.
     
  15. Levite

    Levite Higher and Higher

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    Again, kind of the same thing. Some say it is a literal account. Others say it is an exaggerated account, dramatized with hyperbole, yet with a grain of truth, perhaps, at the center. Still others say it is entirely metaphorical, not literal in any way. And, IMO, it probably doesn't matter which is the case.
     
  16. paarsurrey

    paarsurrey Veteran Member

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    Please elaborate the last sentence.

    Thanks
     
  17. Levite

    Levite Higher and Higher

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    Because the point of the Exodus narrative isn't to give a history lesson. The point of the Exodus narrative is to relate to the Jewish People the importance of our being free, in service to no one but God; and subsidiarily, to teach us that oppression is wrong, and that God expects better of us; and perhaps as a metaphor (even if the events of the narrative are all or partially historical/factual) for other similar lessons, such as not taking vengeance, or being willing to accept our own value and having the self-respect to behave accordingly, or that freedom from oppression is meaningless if the freedom is not dedicated to a quest for spiritual enlightenment and a more just society, or any of a hundred things like that.

    The Torah is infinitely interpretable, which makes the literal, surface meaning only one potential meaning of a great many, and as often as not, not the most relevant or useful of its meanings.
     
  18. Shermana

    Shermana Heretic

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    And how is the idea of His presence particularly dwelling in the Tabernacle and Temple understood? What is this "Thickening" exactly? Does it imply a greater material manifestation? Can it possibly imply being seen in an actual bodily form?
     
  19. Levite

    Levite Higher and Higher

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    The same thing: that there was, in the holy of holies, a certain perpetual increase in the "presence" of God. Since God is not a physical being, we understand that His presence is carried in the shefa, the divine energy constantly infusing the universe. For the most part, this energy is diffuse, or loose, in order to make space for created things to exist. But God can, and occasionally does, cause it to become denser and tighter at a certain location, in order to bring about revelations. It could be said to be roughly analogous to water vapor becoming liquid water, or perhaps liquid water becoming ice.

    The shefa itself is not physical, and never becomes physical or perceptible to the physical senses, but it can cause the formation of attendant physical phenomena, like the cloud over the ark, or the column of smoke or fire, or the thunder and lightening at Sinai, as a way of signaling to us that something miraculous is taking place. These phenomena, though brought about by the presence of God, are not God, as is alluded to in the story of Eliyahu at Horev in 1 Kings 19.
     
  20. paarsurrey

    paarsurrey Veteran Member

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    It is making God a physical being, in my opinion.
     
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