Monday, February 16, 2015
Finding Common Ground with Gene
At what point does an idol become an idol?
In Isaiah chapter 2, we read that in the day of Messiah's return, man's pride will be humbled and (consequently) all the idols will pass away (Isaiah 2:9-18).
What is this connection between pride and idolatry?
The reality is that there are no other gods and so when man "makes" an idol he is fantasizing both the god and the worship of the god simultaneously--i.e. in the process of imagining a god receiving worship, man fantasizes about what it's like to receive worship.
Idolatry is therefore a state of mind...that utilizes a physical object.
So what is it that G-d hates about an idol?
The reality is that there is nothing inherent in the object that is evil. Rather, the evil arises when man infuses the object with false sanctity.
Can G-d become a physical object? Can He become something palpable? To my understanding, to be "palpable" means to be a physical object by definition.
Yet Gene and I share some common ground:
Gene Shlomovich February 15, 2015 at 11:59 AM
"It sounds like you're saying that G-d can never dwell in the Temple."
G-d doesn't literally dwell in the Temple - He cannot be contained either in the Temple, in a human body or any other physical place. Hashem is everywhere in the Universe at once because He's larger than all of His creation, and there's no place where He's not. However, His presence can come to be at a specific location in a way that is palpable to humans. How that works, I don't think we humans know that. However, with that said, Christianity went much farther than that - it claimed that a Jewish man was god who came down to earth as god/slash/man who was a different person from the Father and even prayed to the father and claimed the father to be greater (which is where your G-d in the Temple analogy breaks down). In that regard the man-god of Christianity followed in the footsteps of the previous demigods of history, as Justin Martyr illustrated in his defense of Christianity to his pagan critics.
RE: "His presence can come to be at a specific location in a way that is palpable to humans. How that works, I don't think we humans know that."
This is good common ground to us both then. We agree that He can become palpable and we agree that this is a great mystery.
This may not seem like much common ground but I think it is. If we both agree that G-d can become something tangible (i.e. a physical object)--as mysterious as that is--then the only thing preventing Gene from believing that Yeshua, a physical person, is G-d is some sort of presupposition that there is something inherently wrong about the human form.
Yet there is nothing wrong about the human form, in my thinking, given that it reflects the image of G-d.
Perhaps I'm being naive but I think the common ground of a palpable G-d is a good beginning.
Posted by Peter at 5:25 AM