Friday 5 July 2024

What of Jeremiah 10:11? A response to Rabbi Yisroel Blumenthal.

There is an article written that I am going to take a look at and provide some points. I hope the responses I supply are satisfactory or in the very least of interest.

The original article by Rabbi Blumenthal I have linked to here: https://judaismresources.net/2011/05/17/tell-them-jeremiah-1011/

Take a look and judge both of our words. Firstly, let’s read the introduction.

"Trinitarian Christians believe that it is entirely appropriate for a person to direct absolute religious devotion towards one Jesus of Nazareth.

Throughout history the Jewish people have proclaimed, often at the cost of their life, that this aforementioned belief is idolatry.

The Jewish position is quite easy to understand. After all, Jesus looked like a man, walked like a man, breathed like a man – as the common adage about a certain water-fowl goes – he was a man!"

A fair point, more to comment on later.

"A common Christian reaction to any insinuation that their belief is idolatrous is to launch an offensive, as if those who don’t worship Jesus are the ones who are lacking in their faith in God. “Don’t you believe that God could do anything?” the Christian challenges. “If God wants to make Himself into a man – who are you to tell Him that He can’t?”

There are several ways to respond to this “challenge”.

First, it should be pointed out that such arguments could be used, have been used and are being used to justify worship of any idol. “Who are you to tell God that He can’t become a graven image? or a cat? or a holy cow?”

Second, try asking the missionary if God could commit suicide? Or if He could get appendicitis or a hernia? Could he get lost, confused or disoriented? How about losing his mind – could God do that to Himself?

The argument presented does showcase a flaw in the Christians who do present this point. It’s to me a case of not thinking through the point or the implications of said point, much like how some people carelessly say “Jesus fulfilled all 613 commandments.” even though there are commands in the Torah that only men were obligated to keep and that only women are able to keep, especially when it comes bodily discharges as found in Leviticus 15. Of course God himself would never take the form of an idol or a cow. Even if it were in the realm of possibility, it’s not a decision God would undertake.

There are limits on what God could do even when not in an incarnation, such telling a lie, breaking a promise and having an impure thought as some examples of things he cannot do.* If he were to take a human incarnation (which the New Testament thrusts upon me), aside from sin, the main thing is that the body would be subject to certain ailments, even the common cold.

These are of course hypothetical scenarios of course as the New Testament doesn’t elaborate on that.

As for confusion, That depends on the type of confusion. I cannot offer a definitive answer for that. A lack of food and drink can bring exhaustion and disorientation but the likely hood of dementia or some other disease as another form of confusion like it would be unlikely. Again, this is hypothetical.

Could God make Himself “not God”?

No, but he can lay aside his divine prerogatives and take the form of a slave, if one takes the Trinity takes into account. Though the Trinity is it’s own topic which is quite lengthy.

"The basis of our worship of God is that He is the Creator of all. By definition, any created being – is “not God”. For God to turn Himself into a created being – and to then go and demand the worship that is coming to Him as Creator is like saying – light turned into darkness and it still provides illumination.

Finally – you could tell the missionary that God taught us everything we need to know about worshipping Him at Sinai (Deuteronomy4:35) – if He would have wanted us to worship Jesus – we would have seen Jesus at Sinai.

Chances are that you will not convince the missionary – but at least he or she will not use that argument in your presence anymore."

This goes into the issue of truth claims. If Jesus was a fraud, then the charge of idolatry from the Jews would be justified and Christians will be a people to be most pitied. If he was true, then clearly the Trinity is something to be embraced and not rejected, as the concept of the Trinity is a preventive measure against idolatry, something that many cults can’t deal with.

As for Deuteronomy 4. The argument presented by the Rabbi though an interesting argument presumes (I hope I am understanding correctly) that Jesus must be revealed there on Sinai or he is not to be accepted.

This really isn’t the point of Deuteronomy 4 as it doesn’t preclude the idea of God appearing in visible shapes, be it Moses beholding the image of God or as found in Isaiah 6 when God is seated on the throne. The warning against idolatry still stands but the command doesn’t stop God appearing in a visible shape albeit temporarily, as he did that in Genesis 18 and Exodus 24.

The people of Israel would not have needed Jesus to be explicitly seen at Mt Sinai in order for the Christian position to be valid, the main criteria for that would be if Jesus himself told the truth and his claims of himself were accurate, especially the claims he made that no creature could make, which would be blasphemy if Jesus was a mere creature. 

Not to mention, John 1:18 says the following: "No one has ever seen God; the only God(or rather only begotten Son, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. ESV."

Putting aside recent consensus on whether it says unique or begotten, what is the point of John? His claim that Jesus is the one who makes God (Here referring to the Father) known. To see God here is to perceive or understand him and it is through the Son we can do that. If Jesus' claims were true, which I believe they are, then this wouldn't violate Deuteronomy 4. If however they are false claims, then Deuteronomy 4 gives ample justification for a rejection of Jesus and Christianity by extension.

As the late Dr Immanuel Schochet once said in his debate with Michael L Brown. “The onus of proof is on the one who claims that Jesus or anybody else, Shabbatai Tsvi or Bar Kochba, or David Koresh or Jimmy Jones or I don’t care who that they are the Messiah. It’s up to them to offer proof.

Judge both of our words and see where the truth lies.

Answering Judaism.

Addendum: Suicide would not be on God’s mind to commit for that would be murder. A human can lay down their life for others but they cannot kill themselves.

*Some corrections have been made above on what God cannot do as I didn’t proof read properly.

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