Sample clip of my debate with an
atheist on the issue of morality.
Find the whole debate at this link
God Took Human Form (Before the Time of Jesus), part 1 of 5
This essay will focus on one biblical instance of an appearance of God in human form millennia before the time of Jesus and the polemical issues which orbit around it.
Part 1: Considering the Text
Part 2: Considering the Polemic
Part 3: Considering the Polemic (continued)
Part 4: Anthropomorphic Idolatry
Part 5: Face to Face with God
Considering the Text:
Let us consult the Jewish Publication Society 1917 translation of Genesis 18:1-2, 8, 13-14, 17-18, 20-22, 26-27, 33, 19:1 [with added emphasis]:
“And HaShem appeared unto him by the terebinths of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood over against him; and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed down to the earth…
And he took curd, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat…And HaShem said unto Abraham: ‘Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying: Shall I of a surety bear a child, who am old? Is anything too hard for HaShem. At the set time I will return unto thee, when the season cometh round, and Sarah shall have a son.’…
And HaShem said: ‘Shall I hide from Abraham that which I am doing; seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?…And HaShem said: ‘Verily, the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and, verily, their sin is exceeding grievous…
I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto Me; and if not, I will know.’ And the men turned from thence, and went toward Sodom; but Abraham stood yet before HaShem…And HaShem said: ‘If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will forgive all the place for their sake.’…
And Abraham answered and said: ‘Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, who am but dust and ashes…And HaShem went His way, as soon as He had left off speaking to Abraham; and Abraham returned unto his place. And the two angels came to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom; and Lot saw them, and rose up to meet them; and he fell down on his face to the earth.”
Fourteen times in the in the 33 verses of Genesis ch. 18 the man whom Abraham saw is clearly referred to by the Tetragrammaton; the name of the one and only God.
He is referred to as HaShem ten times and as Lord four times. HaShem means The Name and refers to the name that God told to Moses when He was asked what His name was; this is what is known as the Tetragrammaton (the Hebrew characters that appear on the header to this blog spell out the Tetragrammaton).
FYI: the 43rd impression of the Jewish Publication Society’s 1917 translation, which was published in 1960, uses LORD in place of HaShem, as does the newer 1985 translation.
In Genesis ch. 18 we have an instance, millennia before Jesus, in which the one and only God of the universe took on human form. Not merely an apparition, for He ate and drank. Abraham is said to have looked at HaShem yet having seen God’s face, he did not die.
HaShem appears and Abraham sees three “men.” In Genesis 19:1 we find that two of the “men” were angels.
Note very carefully that the text says, “And the two angels came to Sodom.” It is grammatically clear that there were only two angels; if not the text could have said “two of the angels” or simply “two angels.”
There is no dispute about who the third man is:
He is identified by the name of God.
He foretells that Sarah shall have a son.
He foretells that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation.
He is identified as the one who will judge the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah.
He is identified as the one to whom the “cry of it” comes to—in Genesis 19:13 the two angels state, “the cry of them is waxed great before the HaShem.”
And He is identified as the one who has the authority to forgive.
When instances such as this one occur in the Scripture we always find, to say the least, very odd interpretations of the text.
It may be republished in part or in its entirety on websites, blogs, or any
print media for whatever purpose (in agreement or in order to criticize it) only as
long as the following conditions are met: