Friday, January 20, 2017

According to their kind

In total, the phrase “according to its/their kind” is repeated 10 times in these 7 verses alone (Gen 1:11–12 and 1:21–25). Clearly, the author is emphasizing the creation and reproduction of each species according to its own distinctive type or class. Thus, the ancient audience may have been surprised when they heard or read the next two verses in which the creation of humans is described not as “according to his kind,” as they might have expected, but as “in the image of” and “according to the likeness of” Elohim. This juxtaposition of the oft-repeated “according to its/their kind” with “in the image and likeness of God” suggests that the author was drawing a sharp distinction between humans and the other created beings. However, it also implies that just as the plants and animals were created according to their own type, humans were made, at some level, according to Elohim’s kind, although not literally born of God. The author could have said that God made humans according to his (God’s) kind using lə + mîn, as he did with the plants and animals, but he did not. Rather, he expressed human similarity to the divine with ṣelem and dəmût. Thus, it seems that being created in the image and likeness of God is both comparable to being created “according to God’s kind,” but is distinct from it. In other words, humans are not divine, nor are they members of the heavenly host. They are their own category, type, or species, which is defined by being created in the image and likeness of God. However, at some level, humans belong to the divine class or species, that is, humanity’s kind or type is God.—The "Image of God" in the Garden of Eden, pages 132–33

<idle musing>
Pretty amazing thought, isn't it?
</idle musing>

Thursday, January 19, 2017

But not gods

The biblical author avoids explicit birthing language like that which appears in the mīs pî and the wpt-r texts to describe the ritual creation of a divine image, and even distances ʾādām from Elohim by describing them as made in the image (bəṣalmēnû) and according to the likeness (kidmûtēnû) of God, rather than asserting that humankind is the image and likeness of the divine.—The "Image of God" in the Garden of Eden, page 131

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Laying the ground work

The frequent appearance of dəmût in the descriptions of Ezekiel’s visions demonstrates that the prophet is struggling to describe what he sees. He uses the term to relate the unfamiliar to the familiar, to put into language that which defies description. He did not see a human but something like a human. He did not see a throne, but something resembling a throne. What Ezekiel observed corresponded to and resembled things that were familiar to him, but the referents themselves were foreign. Thus, dəmût refers to correspondence and likeness, but it does not seem to indicate a copy or a facsimile, as can ṣelem.—The "Image of God" in the Garden of Eden, page 125

<idle musing>
She's just laying the ground work here for some serious theology. Have a bit of patience : )
</idle musing>

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

But it looks great!

Impressive, large, public buildings have power—that is why they are built. They speak to us of human power, implicitly ordained by the divine. This is why the powerful from ancient times through today invested and still invest so much money and time in building. The sheer size of our largest human constructions implies a potent mixture of human effort and divine presence or providence; an awesome confluence of divine and human power.—Nicole Wilkinson Duran in in Sacrifice, Cult, and Atonement in Early Judaism and Christianity: Constituents and Critique, forthcoming from SBL Press

<idle musing>
Remind you of anyone?
</idle musing>

But not God

How, then, does Gen 9:6 illumine our understanding of what it means that humankind is created bəṣelem ʾelōhîm? It clearly demonstrates that humans are not God nor are they the ultimate lawmakers. However, it does indicate that there is a profound level of correspondence between God and humans. That is, humankind acts on God’s behalf, in the capacity of a divinely appointed judge and administrator and as one who obeys and enforces the divine law authored by God. Thus, being created in the image (ṣelem) of God has something to do with representing him in the realm of law and justice, but it is clearly distinct from being God himself.—The "Image of God" in the Garden of Eden, page 122

<idle musing>
And some of us forget the last part: we are not God! Or, perhaps more honestly, all of us on occasion forget that we aren't God. .thinsp;.
</idle musing>

Friday, January 13, 2017

Come, let us play God!

God is the creator of humankind, and therefore he, or one appointed by him, is the only one who can take a human life. For another man to do so is tantamount to insurrection. That is, to kill a human being is to exert oneself as Creator-God. Furthermore, because of the correspondence between God and humans, to harm them is, in some way, an attack on God.—The "Image of God" in the Garden of Eden, pages 121–22

Thursday, January 12, 2017

An implication of the imago dei

I must point out that nowhere in the Old Testament is Yahweh referred to explicitly gōʾēl haddām, but Zechariah’s cry for Yahweh “to see and avenge” (yēreʾ yhwh wəyidrōš) and the psalmist’s identification of the Lord as the avenger of shed/poured out/spilt blood (dōrēš dāmîm) indicates that Yahweh was understood to fulfill this role.

What does this reveal about Yahweh’s relationship to humanity? If he is indeed the divine blood avenger, then he is humanity’s nearest kin. Hu-man beings are members of his clan and are, therefore, kin to one another. For this reason shedding human blood (šōpek dam hāʾadam) is fratricide. Furthermore, to murder one’s kinsman is to slay a member of God’s family.—The "Image of God" in the Garden of Eden, page 121

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Opening the mouth in Egyptian ritual

Through the reanimation of their sensory organs, the royal deceased of ancient Egypt were revived through their cultic images so that they could live eternally in the hereafter. This ritual procedure, known as the Opening of the Mouth (wpt-r), was applied to mummies, sarcophagi, and statues of the dead. In the latter two cases, the images were constructed by human craftsmen from stone and/or wood and adorned with precious materials and/or painted details. However, like its Mesopotamian counterpart, the wpt-r indicates that the divine image was also “reborn.” This notion is communicated not only by the verb used to describe the image’s creation, msiʾ, “to give birth, bear,” but by the equipment used for the opening of the mouth (the p –kf set, particularly the p –kf knife), the overall progression of events in the ritual from birth through childhood, and through a series of explicit references in the wpt-r itself to birth and newborn care. Thus, as with Mesopotamian divine statues, Egyptian images of the deceased were “born” or “reborn” through ritual means but they were also constructed from raw materials. The end product was not simply a physical representation. Rather, it was considered to be a living manifestation of the deceased that was now able to consume the sustenance necessary in the afterlife.—The "Image of God" in the Garden of Eden, page 109