Abstract Concepts (The Spectrum of Idolatry part 3)

"Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And thy saw the God of Israel: and there was under His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel He laid not His hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink." (Exodus 24:9-11)

This, to me, is one of the most powerful passages in all the Bible. It's as if all the mystery has been removed. God is standing there and life is good. We get to eat and drink and all the while, "He laid not His hand". It would seem in the Old Testament that things were a tad more serious. The statement implying God wasn't going to strike them dead for being so close. Evidently, they must've been there by invitation. And then David comes along and the image mentioned above begins to take shape:

"Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid Thine hand upon me." (Psalm 139:5)

Very simply speaking, I feel you can't write something like that—sourced from an original thought, as it were—unless you've actually experienced it. And experienced it for yourself, I might add. Granted, we get ideas and we run with them and layer on them our own embellishments. But it can be hard to pin down exactly God's features. You know you see Him, though, how else can I say it? Let me back up a bit here and fast-forward, scripturally to the New Testament.

"No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us." (1 John 4:12)

So, John writes again the same thing he declared in his gospel (1:18). I'm trying to wrap my mind around this evident contradiction. Perhaps if I checked the original versions, there may be a distinction of which I'm not aware. Maybe something in the Hebrew and Greek allows for me to accept how Moses was able to see Him and yet I can't. Not with my eyeballs, anyway. Can I "see" with something other than my "eyes"? Waxing a tad pedantic, admittedly, I feel I should point out that there are indeed other ways of "seeing". And it's these places to which God points as I believe He wants to be seen.

"Philip saith unto Him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?" (John 14:8-9)

To me, that's the most ubiquitous question in the universe: "Why won't God show Himself?" So either Jesus is crazy or He's saying something around which we cannot wrap our minds unless we believe. When people talk about "God", my opinion is that they are all referring to the same one. With God as "God", it rules out any other religion's pantheon as that very word indicates there's more than one. Jesus says a couple chapters prior that "[He] and the Father are one" (10:30). This replaces duality (and evident contradiction?) with unity. But the one statement is buttressed with the other. We can talk all around and about "God" all we want. According to Christ, however, we cannot then separate Him from God. If they're one—and I want to "see" God—I cannot overlook Jesus. Talk about God. How He's "the Creator". The embodiment of "the universe". But He's revealed Himself to humans through Jesus. Any of the former ideologies and eidolon belief systems bereft of Jesus are essentially idolatry. Because we cannot see God except through the lens of Christ.

"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." (Matthew 5:8)

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Josh Ingram

I started writing a blog in the Summer of 2011 and I find myself many years later, doing the same thing. Really, I found myself somewhere in the aforementioned process and so now it’s just polish and refinement. I write whenever the Spirit moves me. In other words, uh, hebdomadally. Okay, word. Word.