Tuesday, May 9
These incidents of seeing God may seem irrelevant, but they’re not. They concern inspiration and the reliability of Scripture. Inspiration means no errors, no contradictions. Seeming contradictions call for resolutions. We can just assume there is no contradiction even though we can’t find a solution, but it’s comforting if we can resolve the problem. The examples of “seeing God” in yesterday’s blog have some legitimate solutions, but we need to be careful that we don’t make matters worse by poor exegesis or faulty interpretation. Without going into great detail, here are some likely explanations. 1. God often took on a human form, not to be seen in his glorified form. 2. Some incidents were “manifestations of God”—visions, theophanies, and epiphanies. 3. Darkness or cloud cover would prevent someone from actually seeing God. 4. In some cases it was seeing God’s “glory” or “presence,” not necessarily God himself. 5. There is a distinction between seeing a part of God, but not his face. 6. Figures of speech—metaphors, hyperboles, symbols, et al.—are subject to various interpretations. All this seems sufficient to explain the seeming conflicts, including the Ex. 24 passage. A second question remains. Why does the Bible state clearly that one cannot look on God and survive? What is God trying to get across to us? Why is he making such a big deal about the gulf that exists between a holy God and sinful man? Is he being too severe in penalizing a man for seeing God? For one thing, it teaches us how much we need God. Without his intervention, we are all bound for hell. He wants us to understand the desperate situation we’re in. This paves the way for redemption. He loves us and will do whatever it takes to accomplish his purposes. Fear of God and fear of punishment has a purpose. In short, God is not eager to see us die; he’s eager to see us live.