Monday, October 10, 2005

I was sitting and eating my lunch during my break at work, and pieces of tuna fish from my (self-made) tuna wrap fell to the floor. I was watching a row of ants doing their thing, and realized that, as an analogy, the way I was watching them work is the way that G-d watches us. I realized, of course, that I was not aware of what the ants were thinking, neither as a group nor as individuals, but realized that G-d is cognizant of what each human being is thinking at every moment of his or her life. This is one element of the nature of the relationship between humanity and G-d.

This thought then drifted into another thought, and I realized that this is the Jewish conceptualization of the relationship between G-d and humanity, per the Torah. If this is the Jewish understanding, I wondered, then the Christian understanding would be that G-d Himself made Himself into one of the very ants which He presides over, and interjecting Himself among them into their society. At the same time, however, the ant which He made Himself into is not just Him, but is regarded as a separate being from Him which has an understanding of Him deeper than any of the surrounding ants. Therefore, it is Him and not Him at the same time.

What could a bunch of ants possibly learn from G-d who puts Himself into their form in order to communicate with them? It seems that His original manifestation, the Torah, and subsequent manifestations, the monarchy, the prophets, the entire body of Oral Law, and every subsequent insight (all who uphold the Torah), don't seem to do the job for them; they need a "more intimate" G-d than the G-d of the Torah. Nothing that Jesus said or did could, if we care about pragmatism, be on par with what G-d said. A G-d that speaks to them from a mountain but does not show Himself to them is too distant for Christianity, they want a G-d that will speak face to face with them, even though every instance of the Torah's mention of "G-d's face" or "G-d's hand" is anthropomorphism. I am shocked that I have met seemingly intelligent Christians who believe that when Moses spoke to G-d face to face as "one does with a friend," that he really saw G-d's face; I wonder what color His eyes were. The Torah says that G-d has no physical image and that no human can see Him directly and live, but apparentally G-d was born in Bethlehem, Israel (or was it Nazareth?) sometime in the 1st century, was murdered when He was 33 years old, and looked like a Jew named Josh. Apparentally He also like to build tables.

Christianity desires a direct communion with G-d and therefore rejects the Torah's viewpoint of a G-d that only speaks to some in a direct form (the prophets), through kings (the monarchies) and through a text of instruction (the Torah) but speaks (spoke actually) to all through the choice of death (actually, the death of a separate being), even though that distinct being only revealed himself to some twelve people (or more, based on the belief of his resurrection). Nevertheless, some 33% of the world (which is the world's Christian population) has not spoken to Jesus personally, yet they believe in him with full faith as if he revealed himself to them through direct prophecy at the foot of an obscure mountain in the middle of a bleak desert.

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