Saturday, 25 April 2009

The goal of God's self-revelation (in the Old Testament)

Taken from Brevard Childs' Old Testament Theology in a Canonical Context.
If one asks what was God's purpose, that is, his motivation in revealing himself, the Old Testament is silent. However, if one asks what was God's purpose, that is, his goal toward which his self-disclosure pointed, then the Old Testament is eloquent in its response. God revealed himself that all may see and know who God is:

I am Yahweh, and there is no other;
besides me there is no God;
I gird you, though you do not know me,
that men may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is none besides me;
I am Yahweh, and there is no other ...
I am Yahweh, who do all these things. (Isa 45:5-7).

Or again, the prophet Ezekiel never wearies of grounding God's purpose with the formula: 'that you may know Yahweh' - and thus have life.


J. K. Gayle said...

Great post! Reminds me of Elie Wiesel's story (from Messengers of God), p 13:

"To disarm Satan and bring him back to reason, God decided to prove to him that Adam was the more intelligent of the two, and thus worthy of his success. All the animals on earth were summoned to appear before Him. Would you know how to name them? God asked Satan. No, he would not. And you, Adam? Adam named them all; and to name things is to possess them. And to God's satisfaction, he was declared the winner. One Midrashic text insinuates that God cheated. Wanting to assure Adam's victory, He asked questions in such a way that Adam could guess the answers; he couldn't possibly lose. Is that to say that without help Adam would have failed the test? No. The last question is proof. God chose not to whisper the answer when He asked: And Me, Adam, what name will you give Me? Adam rose to the challenge. He cast aside his humility and called God by His name. He understood intuitively that God Himself receives His name from man--illustrating the basic Jewish concept that while God is God and man is only His instrument, still God needs man to make Himself known, just as man needs God to acquire this knowledge."

Phil Sumpter said...

Wow, midrash is wierd. I need to get into more of it!

I've just posted on Wiesel here.