Sunday, January 16, 2011

An interesting transition

Prior to the writing of the Torah, God was a mysterious person. And when I say person, I mean person. You see, the early Canaanites believed that Jahweh was a physical being, an anthropomorphic character who visits people personally. You can even see this in the Torah, where in Genesis God is described as walking through the Garden looking for Adam (funny, for being God he sure doesn't have a whole lot of control of his creations. He created two people and his omnipotence wasn't enough to find only one of them, ha!). This concept of God changes after some time though. Eventually, he becomes a less personal God, speaking through dreams and Angels (and, occasionally, a burning bush). He changes personality a couple of other times in the Torah, becoming concerned with the kings of Judah and interacts primarily through a priesthood.

My point with that paragraph was that the "God" of today is far different than the God of yesterday. The gods of most ancient religions were physical beings who walked the Earth and interacted with the populace - the early Jewish god was no exception. The interesting thing about the Jewish god is that he can be seen as the transition between the material gods of the ancient worlds and the immaterial gods of the modern world.

I just thought this was interesting. To me, it demonstrates how man-made God is. First off, the one true god shouldn't be changing so rapidly (in theory, he would never change). Secondly, these clear transitions show that as people changed so did their gods, which only makes sense if it was the people who created those gods in the first place.

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