Second Response to Gil Torres
Dear Gil (I hope it’s OK that I am using your first name – if you have a problem with this, please let me know and I will stop. My first name is Yisroel.)
Thanks for taking the time to pen your respectful response. It is my prayer that this discussion leads the two of us only closer to the God of truth. I understand your desire to have our discussion limited to one topic and I agree with you that it is indeed wise for us to deal with one topic at a time. Still, you have made points about the incarnation (in your comments to me) and about the context of Scripture (in your comments to Annelise). I will therefore attempt to respond to both of these in this article (- these two issues are in fact related to each other.)
You spoke of the burning bush, the pillar of cloud and fire, the bronze serpent and the Ark of the Covenant. You seem to see in these some precedent to the Christian doctrine of the incarnation. Do you believe these were “incarnations” of God? Do you believe that the pillar of cloud was part of the trinity?
Did you ever ask yourself, if these narratives were put into Scripture for the sake of teaching us how to direct our worship, why then were they not presented as such? In other words; I am sure that you recognize that Deuteronomy 4 describes the Sinai experience as a teaching that was presented to Israel for the explicit purpose of teaching them towards who it is that they are to direct their worship. The text makes this abundantly clear. Why are these narratives (the bush, cloud, serpent and ark) not described by the text as teachings that have a bearing on the direction of worship?
Do you realize that the arguments that you are using to justify worship of Jesus could just as easily be used to justify the worship of another person (or animal, plant, rock, angel)?
How would you respond to someone who claims that he or she found a fourth person in the godhead? What would it take to convince you that there are more persons in the godhead than the three that you already believe in?
Before Jesus came to the earth the Jewish people already stood in a relationship with God. This relationship is compared to a marriage bond. What was that relationship based on? What was the reason that the Jew’s heart should have been devoted to God and to God alone? Did that relationship allow for the inclusion of other entities into the relationship?
It seems that you have misunderstood Annelise’s comments about the context of Scripture. I will try to articulate the point from another angle.
Do you believe that Israel is to discover their God only through a scholarly study of Scripture? Did God not provide a more direct teaching to Israel concerning this matter?
What method did God set in place so that we can realize that Scripture is truly His word?
One last question. Do you think that we disagree with each other because: A) One of us knows that Scripture supports the opposite position but the position is maintained out of rebelliousness towards God. B) One of us is spiritually blinded. C) One of us just happens to be reading Scripture carelessly. D) One of us is approaching Scripture with the wrong set of preconceived notions.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal