Saturday, May 30, 2015

God's Finger Is Not Identical with God Simpliciter

"And he gave to Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him on mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God" (Exodus 31:18 KJV).

Finger of God = God's spirit

An illustration might help us to understand what is being communicated here. A person can lose a finger, ear or toe without losing his/her identity, right? A body member is not to be equated with the whole person. Body parts are what could be called "accidents" (per accidens) or properties that we could do without while still maintaining our respective identities.

Now I'm not arguing that Jehovah God could ever lose one of his body members (he doesn't have any body "parts" to begin with), but we should make a distinction between a person's finger and the person him/herself. After all, the body of Christ (the ecclesia) is composed of many members (Rom 12:1-5); yet even if one of those members came down with (spiritual) gangrene and had to be lopped off, Christ's metaphorical body would continue to subsist because it is not absolutely identical with its respective parts (i.e., the whole is greater than the sum of its parts). The individual members just seem to constitute the whole body or provide some type of grounding for its existence.

Similarly, it's possible to distinguish between God's finger and his self. Why should we call the "finger of God," God tout court?


Duncan said...

Exodus 8:19 “It is the finger of God!”

I wonder what the priests meant when they said this?

Edgar Foster said...

They possibly understood the plague to be a manifestation of divine power rather than being as result of magical powers stemming from a human. Some have connected Ex 8:19 with Jesus' use of the expression in Luke.

Duncan said...

This is interesting:-

And this from a rabbinical writing:-

When the plagues were issued in Egypt, they were dealt through the finger of Hashem as the passuk says (Shemos 8:15),“It is the finger of Hashem.” Whereas at the sea, the plagues were issued by the hand of Hashem as it says (Shemos 14:31), “And Yisrael saw the great hand by which the Lord wrought against Egypt.” Thus, everyone is in agreement that in essence, the plagues were 10 in Egypt and 10 at the sea as the mishna says in Avos. Nonetheless, the 10 plagues at the sea were 5 times more severe than those issued in Egypt. This was due to the fact that the plagues in Egypt were dealt by the ‘finger’ of Hashem, whereas those at the sea were dealt by the ‘hand’ of Hashem. The hand has 5 fingers. Consequently, the plagues at the sea were 5 times as harsh.

Edgar Foster said...

Rashi's comment on Exod 8:15:

It is the finger of God: This plague is not through sorcery; it is from the Omnipresent. — [from Exod. Rabbah 10:7]

Duncan said..."Exodus+Rabbah+10:7"&source=bl&ots=8mg6WthlUA&sig=p0kicliUmffHEZTh4pn_523ZPos&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CBwQ6AEwAGoVChMIyZDoyo3wyAIVQ0oUCh3Hpg1s#v=onepage&q=%22Exodus%20Rabbah%2010%3A7%22&f=false

Duncan said...

The problem is, where do you draw the line on using Jewish midrash as a guide?

What is the origin of the decision that demons cannot create or allusions to them attempting to create?

See page 103

the seven evil gods

Vs the seven angels of first enoch?

Much of the Jewish traditions quoted come from Babylon & it's mirroring & reworking such ideas is evident.

Duncan said...

Apologies, forgot to post link prior to pg 103 reference.