Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Ehyeh asher ehyeh

When Moses heard the voice coming from the burning bush and asked for identification, the answer came back, "I Am Who I Am" or Ehyeh asher ehyeh, which according to Karen Armstong is a "Hebrew idiom to express a deliberate vagueness. In her book, A History of God, Armstrong says that when the Bible uses a phrase like "they went where they went," it means: "I haven't the faintest idea where they went." Armstrong notes that when Moses asked who he was, God's reply was in effect saying, "Never you mind who I am!" or "Mind your own business!"

A great book

The Christian Bible was written by a bunch of guys (maybe an occasional gal taking on a guy's name or be willing to let a guy take credit for her writing). So what's the big deal? Why is this book worshipped as the Word of God? Why is it considered to be more sacred than any other well written book?

No doubt there is a tremendous tradition behind the Bible. The book (in one form or another) has been around for nearly 2,000 years. Clearly, it's a great book. Lots of stories and poetry. Lots of worthwhile advice. The book has staying power. It's been translated and re-translated thousands of times. It's been edited and re-edited over and over again. It's been published and re-published endlessly.

It's a great book. But where did all this Word of God stuff originate? A Jewish guy writes a few letters (containing words of wisdom) to some home church communities that he helped found, and all of a sudden they're being called "epistles" and being quoted as the Word of God.