The other day I introduced Joseph's Bones by Jerome M. Segal. He writes the book which covers the first six books of the Hebrew Bible as one reading a novel. He tries to write with little regard for the traditional understanding, but just as one reading the Hexateuch for the first time.
I've already informed you of a few thoughts from the book. Here is a bit more for you to mull over. Please let me know what you think.
First of all, you know how people say you can't understand light unless darkness exists? You can't appreciate joy and happiness without the days of suffering and pain? Well, along the same lines, sort of, the author says we cannot have a God without humans. Or God needs us in order to have the god/human relationship. We are God's "Other." Oh, let me just quote it from the book.
"...It is only by virtue of being the God of a people that God can be God. What is at stake for God -- and here I mean from the very beginning of the story, when he creates man in his image -- is the question of his own reality. God's fundamental project is To Be, and for this he needs mankind, and ultimately he decides that he needs a specific people, the Israelites. The paradox is that a god that calls himself 'I Am' can only be if there are others that recognize him as God." (pg. 111)
"Perhaps being a god involves having a certain position in a relationship, just as being a master or slave requires the existence of the other. Perhaps a being is a god only if it is recognized as such, only if it is prayed to, only if it is seen as a god by a non-god." (pg. 113)
Do you agree that we are God's "Other" and that He needs us in this way? Do you believe God only exists if we recognize Him in a superior state of being than our own?
Also the book portrays God as having to restrain Himself from killing these creatures He made. Thus the rainbow given after the Flood. Thus the reason He put Moses as a mediator between Himself and the Israelites. Moses was His rainbow. The reminder to not destroy all the people. Leviticus was a covenant God gave to restrain His own behavior.
About God giving Moses His name as "I Am That I Am" -- "It suggests that God is saying that his nature, his way of being, is somehow different from that of humans, conveying a kind of self-sufficiency or independence of being." (pg. 105) Which the author says is entirely not how God - who is portrayed as actively and emotionally involved in the lives of the Israelites - actually is.
OK, thoughts on any of this?