Friday, April 02, 2004

I am not making a biblical argument. I can read New Testament Greek, but I do not know very much Biblical Hebrew, so I have no idea what the words behind these verses are, or what the Talmudic commentaries on them might say. They can be read literally (if you're a Mormon) or figuratively (if you belong to pretty much any other Christian denomination - and please no emails about how Mormons aren't Christian - I will ignore you because I don't really care about that issue).

Again, I am not trying to interpret these verses or make any argument about their content beyond what I will discuss after I list them to give some context.

Exodus 33:11a (KJV) And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.

here are a few other translations: (I prefer the NASB myself):
Exodus 33:11a
(REB) The Lord used to speak to Moses face, as one man speaks to another
(NASB) Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.
(NIV) The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.
(Amplified) And the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.

Okay - why am I listing this verse? Not to make any argument about whether God has a literal face or not, but because I was told THAT THIS VERSE DOESN'T EXIST!!!!!!!!

Why? Well, a particular theorist (who is an atheist or at least agnostic anyway) we were reading was making a point about how truth is unattainable. This quickly descended into relativistic tripe, but the main example this French theorist used was Moses. And this theorist said that Moses could never (and by extension we can never) look God in the face. Looking God in the face was tantamount to discovering the truth and if we ever did that, we would be destroyed.

I said "but wait - the book of Exodus says that Moses spoke with God face to face - even if that was symbolic, it shows this theorist either 1) knows very little about scripture, or 2) ignores evidence that contradicts her point."

The response from my teacher and a fellow classmate? "You must be mistaken. If that verse exists this theorist, and Levinas whom she is borrowing from, have no philosophical legs to stand on. You must be wrong. That verse can't exist."

I insisted it did, and the teacher said "well, lets just move to another topic."

I also recall that a few weeks ago another classmate insisted that Abraham didn't sacrifice Isaac because he saw the ram in the thicket and so decided that was a sign from God. I seem to recall an Angel appearing there and stopping Abraham, but my classmate was adamant that if that ram had not been there, Abraham would have killed Isaac.

Yep. And if Lazarus hadn't died, Jesus wouldn't have raised him from the dead.


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