In God's image

All things philosophical, related to belief and / or religions of any and all sorts.
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Big RR
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Re: In God's image

Post by Big RR »

I hear you BP, but I think the two or more translations are preferable to a Cliff notes or Classic comics telling you what it means.

ex-khobar Andy
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Re: In God's image

Post by ex-khobar Andy »

1 Corinthians, 11:7 - KJV

For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

In Greek (Novum Testamentum Graece)

7. Ἀνὴρ μὲν γὰρ οὐκ ὀφείλει κατακαλύπτεσθαι τὴν κεφαλὴν εἰκὼν καὶ δόξα θεοῦ ὑπάρχων· ἡ γυνὴ δὲ δόξα ἀνδρός ἐστιν. (My underlining.)

Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/1-Corinthians/11/7

Ignoring for now the sexist bit, it seems clear enough to me. A man should not cover his head because he is the image of God. If God were a candle or a banana or a partial differential equation then surely the scripture stricture would be against covering up said candle (etc.)

I chose the Corinthians text because I can take a look at the Greek. I'm way out of practice (in fact it's all Greek to me) but the word translated as 'image' is 'εἰκὼν' which I will transliterate as 'ikon.' My Greek Lexicon is in a box in the basement so I have to rely on the available on-line stuff. Per the LSJ* dictionary, the most common translation is Likeness or Image. And of course that is what we understand these days by the word 'ikon' especially in its older usage as a piece of religious art.

*Slice of trivia pie for you. LSJ is Liddell-Scott-Jones. Sir Henry Stuart Jones in 1940 updated the venerable Liddell-Scott dictionary. If the name Liddell rings a bell, you may be thinking of Alice Liddell, Lewis Carroll's young friend who inspired Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Alice was the daughter of Henry Liddell, dean of Christ Church (College), Oxford and the originator of the Liddell-Scott lexicon (1843).

Seems clear enough to me. The talk of the image of God literally means that man (not sure about women - sorry) looks like God. As in head, hair, beard, nose, arms, flowing robe etc. Actually now I think about it, the bit about women seems to confirm it. They do not look like God so it's OK to cover their heads - and in fact in many Christian traditions a woman must cover her head in church.

Big RR
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Re: In God's image

Post by Big RR »

in fact in many Christian traditions a woman must cover her head in church
Of course, so do many Jewish men, and a lot of Christian clergy, especially in the roman catholic catholic, orthodox, and anglican churches. And since the OT is where the image of god is first mentioned, I would think Paul is more rejecting the Jewish custom to cover their heads during worship (or, more likely, affirming the Church in Corinth's rejection of it), rather than restating the understanding of the image of god in men (and whether it is gender specific). Then again, maybe not. That's the problem with isolated quotes

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Gob
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Re: In God's image

Post by Gob »

Any decent omnipotent being would not leave us with this clusterfuck of debate to get to his truth,
“If you trust in yourself, and believe in your dreams, and follow your star. . . you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren't so lazy.”

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MajGenl.Meade
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Re: In God's image

Post by MajGenl.Meade »

Robinson's "Word Pictures in the New Testament)":
The image and glory of God (eikōn kai doxa theou). Anarthrous substantives, but definite. Reference to Gen_1:27 whereby man is made directly in the image (eikōn) of God. It is the moral likeness of God, not any bodily resemblance. Ellicott notes that man is the glory (doxa) of God as the crown of creation and as endowed with sovereignty like God himself.
The glory of the man (doxa andros). Anarthrous also, man’s glory. In Genesis 2:26 the lxx has anthrōpos (Greek word for both male and female), not anēr (male) as here. But the woman (gunē) was formed from the man (anēr) and this priority of the male (1Co_11:8) gives a certain superiority to the male. On the other hand, it is equally logical to argue that woman is the crown and climax of all creation, being the last.
Insisting upon anthropomorphic imagery or indeed any physical imagery at all when the scriptures make it clear that God is not a shape but is "fire", "light" and "spirit" is extremely obtuse. To invent such imagery in the face of the clear scriptural statements that deny it is futile. [Noted that even among Christians, there are those who like the old guy with the beard image]

Oddly in all the scholarly efforts to explain 1 Cor 11:7 quoted here https://margmowczko.com/interpretations ... hians-117/, not one of them suggests that the image of God has anything to do with physical resemblance. There's something for everyone in this link - ancient sexism, modern correction of that, suggestion that Paul didn't write that line but the Corinthians put it in.

In a way, the Bible is a sort of Plan B for all grades of thought. :lol: Even silliness about dolphins. Even Gob's omniscience when it comes to how God went wrong.
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ex-khobar Andy
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Re: In God's image

Post by ex-khobar Andy »

Well now.

I'm not sure we want to be looking to Aquinas for enlightenment. From Meade's link, the bit about how he saw all this:
Furthermore, in regard to what is within, man is more especially called the image of God, inasmuch as reason is more vigorous in him. But it is better to say that the Apostle speaks clearly here. For he said of man that he is the image and glory of God; but he did not say of the woman that she is the image and glory of man, but [Paul] only that she is the glory of the man. This gives us to understand that it is common to man and woman to be the image of God; but it is immediately characteristic of man to be the glory of God.” (The italics are in the piece linked - I have not been back to Aquinas to see if he emphasized this point or whether whoever quoted him did that.)
Does anyone else want that one, or shall I do it? (I'm looking at you, BSG. Sue or Guin? Is your reason vigorous enough today?)

The Greek phrase εἰκὼν καὶ δόξα θεοῦ which Robinson (via Meade) transliterates as eikōn kai doxa theou I had a little trouble with. I've already explained the eikōn bit; kai is and; θεοῦ theou is the genitive declension of θεός God = of God. I did not recognize δόξα doxa (I told you my Greek is rusty - well it was 55 years ago) but I should have - we use it nowadays in doxology which is a hymn such as Gloria in Excelcis Deo which glorifies (praises) God.

If we look at the Bible as translated I think it's pretty obvious that when they said that God and man share an image it is to be taken literally. God looks like a chap and we chaps (sorry ladies) look like him. Any retelling or interpretation of this by later 'scholars' is an attempt to water this down and make it more palatable for more modern Christians of their era.

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MajGenl.Meade
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Re: In God's image

Post by MajGenl.Meade »

Some of those were a hoot all right, exkA! :lol: Very popular with the ladies, no doubt!

As to the substantive, well you make a claim yet can't provide any evidence other than to suggest other people have got it wrong, so there.

Not to mention (OK I will) your resolute refusal to even acknowledge that the Bible itself says that God is fire, light and many things the exact opposite of looking like man - and man has described this God as the exact opposite of themselves as far as appearance goes. But that's OK

I am duly chastised and shall consult you rather than the silly scholars who've devoted lives and brain cells to the cause of understanding. :nana
"I don't have dreams. Either in dreams or life."
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ex-khobar Andy
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Re: In God's image

Post by ex-khobar Andy »

I've been reluctant to respond but I feel I have to.
MajGenl.Meade wrote:
Fri Sep 03, 2021 4:16 pm
Some of those were a hoot all right, exkA! :lol: Very popular with the ladies, no doubt!

As to the substantive, well you make a claim yet can't provide any evidence other than to suggest other people have got it wrong, so there. The claim I am making is hardly extraordinary: if you take the Bible literally, and many many people say you should, then God and man (but not women) have a common image. And by way of evidence I took it back to the Greek of the New Testament and agreed (big of me, I know) with the general translation King James' chaps worked up. 'Other people have got it wrong': well the first example of 'other people' in the link you provided was Aquinas who really should have stopped digging himself further into that hole. Bertrand Russell said of Aquinas that he made his mind up and then 'found' evidence to support his belief. Not uncommon in those days. Mind you, Russell had quite severe standards of evidence and proof: he famously took one hundred pages to prove that 2 + 2 = 4. The Enlightenment has a lot to answer for.

Not to mention (OK I will) your resolute refusal to even acknowledge that the Bible itself says that God is fire, light and many things the exact opposite of looking like man - and man has described this God as the exact opposite of themselves as far as appearance goes. But that's OK. God is love, too. I'm guessing you are referring to John 1: 5 "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." Light and darkness were and are common metaphors for good and evil. I told a story back in February about the (white) Bishop of Madagascar who performed my confirmation. On one of his trips into the interior, he was introduced as Bishop So-and-so: 'His skin may be white but his heart is as black as any of ours!" So there's a possibility that this specific metaphor has some racist origins as well as the obvious. Nevertheless, light, dark, fire, love are all metaphors: good ones, but still metaphors. Philippians 2:15 has it: "That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world." Does that mean that the sons of God (not to mention the daughters. I did once but I think I got away with it.) are themselves Gods (or gods)? Some modern translations substitute 'stars' for 'lights' - if you like I'll go back to the Greek.


I am duly chastised and shall consult you rather than the silly scholars who've devoted lives and brain cells to the cause of understanding. :nana. Fair enough. My rates are very reasonable.

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Sue U
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Re: In God's image

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Love and the Holy
How we can find the Big Bigness when we find one another

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg
Sep 6

***

Isaac grew up. He made it to adulthood, and it was time to get him married off.

Abraham had tasked a servant to go find him a suitable bride from among his kinfolk back in the home country. So the servant did, and came up with a whole Kindness Test for how he’d know who to go for when he got there—the first woman to not only provide him water, but to offer to water to his camels would be the one. Which… you know, honestly, matches have been made on less.

So, lo and behold, here comes Rebecca, and does the camel-watering thing, just like that. He gives her an awesome gold nose ring and some bracelets (actually; Genesis 24:22) and asks her if she’s up for an adventure, willing to travel to new lands to meet and marry a total stranger. She is, indeed—hey, why not?

So the servant and Rebecca travel back to the land of Canaan, where Abraham and Isaac are, and there’s this lovely, romantic scene that unfolds, cinematically, over a few short verses—the rest of the Torah passage that I quote in this post is from Genesis 24:61-67.

Image
Just mentally add in a kind, adventurous young woman wearing a gorgeous gold nose ring somewhere in here.

So first we see Rebecca setting on the journey:
“Then Rebecca and her maids arose, mounted the camels, and followed the man. So the servant took Rebecca and went his way.”
Next verses—scene change!
“Isaac had just come back from the vicinity of Beer-lahai-roi, for he was settled in the region of the Negev. And Isaac went out walking in the field toward evening.”
I’ll pause for a second here to note that the word I’m translating as “walking” could also translate as “meditating”, and is interpreted by the Rabbis (Genesis Rabba 60:14, e.g.) to mean that he was praying. In any case, we have this image of a man, off in solitude, towards evening—not in the evening, but towards evening; one imagines that it’s twilight, that time when everything feels heightened, not-quite, both-and. One pictures him out in this electric time, out in nature, tapping in, connecting to God or the universe or the Big Bigness or whatever words make sense to you.

But he’s out there, in the field, in this state, at this exquisite, intensified time, in a state of profound connection, senses tingling,
“and, looking up, he saw camels approaching.”
And there she is. The text doesn’t tell us, even. We know.

Cut back to her.
“Raising her eyes, Rebekah saw Isaac. She alighted from the camel and said to the servant, ‘Who is that man walking in the field toward us?’ And the servant said, ‘That is my master.’ So she took her scarf and covered herself.”
So, first of all, JPS wants to translate her coming off the camel as “alighted,” other translations choose “descended,” but if you want to get technical about it, that Hebrew word means “fell.” She literally fell off the camel when she saw Isaac. (Insert all your “falling in love” jokes here.) This is how powerful and primal the impact of seeing him was on her. When she saw him, she fell off her camel.

Second of all, yes, a normative reading might be that she covered herself with her scarf out of modesty and as part of ancient Near Eastern gender expectations, but there’s another reading that I much prefer.

The 16th c. Italian Torah commentator Sforno likens her veiling to Moses’ fear of looking too closely at the Burning Bush in Exodus—the sense that she has encountered something so holy, so awe-inspiring that it brings her more than a moment of pause.

And, indeed, if we’re going to make Moses analogies, the obvious one would be Exodus 34:30-35—after Moses comes down from his extended coffee date with God at the top of Mount Sinai, his skin is so radiant that it literally shines with divine glory, and it’s a bit much for the people to handle, so he takes to wearing a veil so as not to make the Israelites too uncomfortable. Moses’ veiling or concealing himself is in the face of divine power, or in the aftermath of it—either way, we see echoes of it here. Something big and extraordinary, something sacred and profound has happened to Rebecca, and it demands not only emotional but physical response.

Isaac had been in a profound state of spiritual connection, and what he saw in that state was... her.

And when Rebecca saw him, it was an encounter with the sacred.

Now, there are plenty of things we can say about love at first sight (does it happen, does it not, I don’t know, I certainly won’t weigh in on that here) or a myriad of other things in these passages, but I want to point at this, this thing:

The ways in which love can be, in itself, a manifestation of the divine.
And that, even, the work we do to love one another is holy work.

Which does not mean that—even though Rebecca and Isaac are serving us serious Rom-Com Crescendo here—offering and receiving love is simple or straightforward. (One only need look at their own relationship as it unfolds over the course of Genesis to know that.)

Love is hard. Love is a painful mirror for our imperfections. And, most importantly, maybe, love isn't a single, fixed state. It's an action, or a series of actions. It is work, active work. The Black feminist theorist bell hooks cites author M. Scott Peck's definition of love, based off the work of the philosopher Erich Fromm. Love is, she claims, the
"will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth."
"The will to extend yourself": To stretch and extend, because someone needs you to, so that they can grow. (Note, this does not mean the abrogation of your own boundaries, or harming yourself. It means manufacturing patience when you have run plumb out because a child needs you to model calmness; it means holding your peace even though you really don’t want to because your spouse needs time, or pushing into difficult-for-you conversations because someone you care about needs support. Extending does not mean breaking.)

Fred Rogers, the Presbyterian minister behind the TV show Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, said once that "to love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” Here and now. And as Rogers notes, loving is about a striving to accept, not in the completed act of acceptance. This striving is also a kind of an extending of the self. And the choice to accept someone, no matter who and how they are—well, there’s nothing more conducive to their spiritual growth than that.

And it might even be that when we let ourselves go down, deep down into that love, that we can meet the transcendent there. As Maimonides, the 12th century philosopher and legal scholar, wrote:
"What is the way to love and be in awe of God? … As the Sages said regarding love, through this you know the One who spoke and [created] the Universe.” (Laws of the Foundations of Torah 2:2)
That is, we know God through love. Our acts of love are the path in.

Whether or not Isaac and Rebecca always related to one another with that extending of the self for the other’s growth (spoiler: they did not), we see the possibility here, and the opportunities for us all.

We can reach out to find one another, and to find the Big Holy Bigness in the process, too.

And, indeed, from Rebecca’s willingness to say yes to this strange, unexpected thing to their mutual encounter with the holy and one another, there was love—and, for a grieving Isaac, finally, this offered him the possibility of something new.

For,
“Isaac then brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he took Rebecca as his wife. Isaac loved her, and thus found comfort after his mother’s death.”
In one another’s arms, some healing could happen.

And some possibilities for finding the holy in one another.
Source: Rav Danya
GAH!

Big RR
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Re: In God's image

Post by Big RR »

Great post Sue; I'm keeping a copy. I have often thought that just as our acts of love bring us closer to god and make us better people, god's love for us makes god a better entity. A bit sacrilegious if you buy the omnipotence/omniscience understanding of the scriptures (after all, how could god improve?), but a belief I still maintain.

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Sue U
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Re: In God's image

Post by Sue U »

I posted this because one, it illustrates the different readings you get from variations in translation (and I always found the story of Rebecca literally falling off her camel at the sight of Isaac to be hilarious), and two, Rav Danya is very good at showing both the historical context and the modern relevance of an ancient text and how it may inform the choices we make in living our own lives.
GAH!

Big RR
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Re: In God's image

Post by Big RR »

It is an interesting read.

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MajGenl.Meade
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Re: In God's image

Post by MajGenl.Meade »

This is an interesting close parallel from 2017 . . . written by a woman and, imagine, making many of the same key points. Not that there's anything wrong with that. :) There are, I suppose, prior discussions on the same ground - it's one of the important aspects of study.

https://blog.israelbiblicalstudies.com/ ... rebecca-2/
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Re: In God's image

Post by Burning Petard »

I thank both Sue and the Gen'l for showing us these truly good teachings.

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rubato
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Re: In God's image

Post by rubato »

MajGenl.Meade wrote:
Thu Sep 02, 2021 7:34 am
...

Adam and Eve earned their loss of privileges by using their rational, free, loving, self-determining, morally aware abilities to choose wrongly.

True or otherwise, it's rational given the premise that God created man in his own image and the other information contained in the same place from whence came that premise. Naturally, men basking in their own image are free to discard the first premise and thus render the rest irrelevant.

PS I do not join in chortling about us being made in the "image of God". It seems not to be sound theology. I think
Bullshit. God made them make that choice and knew they would do it. Mind you, I think this is one of the most logically beautiful stories in all of our culture.

1. God says he is making a creature "like him" and giving him free will.

2. The only theoretical proof of free will is that they defy his laws.

3. The only actual proof that they have free will is that they DO defy his laws.

4. (And this is the best part) When they eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil they have lost innocence of the most profound kind. This is a bell that cannot be un-rung. Before that they did not know that good and evil were a choice; when they chose they were behind a veil that completely obscured the stakes.


If the fall does not happen there is no story and god cannot claim to have created a creature with free will.

A beautiful story with a terrible logic.

yrs,
rubato

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