If there is anything that is discontinuous with me, it is meaningless. If it is truly separate from me, it does not exist for me; I cannot participate in its life and it cannot participate in mine. Things only have meaning for me as they relate to me. It is pointless to make a distinction between me the subject and something that is not-me. What else is there but me the subject? Of what importance is anything except as it relates to me?”—The Bible Among Other Myths, page 53
This has some important ramifications:
When this understanding is projected on the divine, the result is obvious. Deity must be part of me as I must be part of it. To say that I am not divine, or that the divine is not me, or to say that the deity is not the world, or that the world is not the deity, is to make life uncontrollable and meaningless. As the source the divine is the subject, but as the manifestation it is the object. Because of continuity, it must be both at once. To distinguish between the source and the manifestation is to make the source unreachable through the manifestation, a circumstance that is highly undesirable.—The Bible Among Other Myths, page 53
Oswalt applies this to the Golden Calf incident:
Since Moses was worshiping the invisible One, the source, on the mountain, why should not the people worship one of his visible manifestations as a part of the Many in the valley? So God could be the invisible Creator and the visible created (the bull) at one and the same time. The text shows us that this is how they were thinking when it tells us that Aaron said of the image, “Behold your God [Heb. 'elohim] who brought you forth from Egypt” (Ex. 34:4, lit. trans.)
Aaron and the people did not consider themselves to be doing anything heretical. After all, this is religion as they had observed it in Egypt for years. As the source, God is One, and other than creation. But as a manifestation he is many and a part of creation. The mythmaker sees no contradiction. But Moses understood that the God who was revealing himself to the Israelites was somehow distinctly other than creation. Thus, no blurring of God and creation could be allowed to exist. To permit it to exist would be to deny that nature of reality as Yahweh was revealing it to his people.—The Bible Among Other Mythspages 53-54 (brackets his)
Did you follow that? I hope so, because it is essential to his arguments throughout the book. Oswalt is arguing that the mythmaker looks around at reality as (s)he sees it and projects that onto the divine. There is no distinction (his principle of continuity) between the two realms. What you do in the visible realm is effective in the invisible realm because the two are essentially one. This is why magic, rituals, liturgies, etc., are effective; you are forcing something to happen in the divine by declaring it in the visible.
This reasoning is the basis for the “name it, claim it, stomp on it and frame it!” reasoning of some “christians'” use of the Bible. Many people use the Bible as a book of magic; find a verse you like, or a promise that is appealing, speak it forth verbally and, voila! it has to happen. By speaking it, you have tied God's hands; he has to do it! Talk about paganism at its most blatant! Yet, that is accepted in some circles as “good Christian practice.”