Saturday, July 31, 2010

Being God

When Moses protested that he was not a good public speaker Yahweh said that Aaron could be his spokesman. Yahweh would make Moses "like God" to Aaron (4:16). As God speaks to Moses and instructs him, Moses would be like God and speak to Aaron and instruct him.

Later, when Moses again protests that he is not a good speak, a "man of uncircumcised lips" (6:30), Yahweh responds by saying that he has made Moses "God to Pharaoh." And again God says that Aaron may speak on his behalf. Aaron will be Moses' "prophet" (7:1)

Between these two very similar conversations is a concentrated declaration/review of who Yahweh is and what He is planning to do in the Exodus: I am Yahweh who redeems you (6:2-8). In that proclamation, Yahweh says something similar to these other statements. He says that when He redeems Israel and brings them to Himself to be His people, He will be "as God to them" (6:7).

This implies that "being God" is not merely an ontological claim. Yahweh makes Moses like a God to Aaron and Pharaoh, and he has not ceased being a man. And we would likewise insist that Yahweh has not ceased being God while Israel was in Egypt. But if Yahweh's "being God to Israel" is the paradigm for Moses "being God" to Aaron and Pharaoh, then "being God" has to do with speaking, instructing, declaring truth. It has to do with personal presence. When Yahweh is God to Israel, He seems to be specifically referring to Mt. Sinai where He will meet with His people and speak with them. "Being God" has everything to do with presence and communion, and this goes back to the image of God in man. Man is a communing being, and particularly a being who communes through his presence and speech.

This underlines how powerful and dangerous being human really is. God has created human beings to be "gods" whose words and actions are momentous. Our presence and absence echoes God's own presence and absence. Our words mimic His Word which creates, destroys, heals, and judges. Being human has the potential to save and redeem or to destroy and tear down.

No comments: