Thursday, November 02, 2006

In Our Image, After Our Likeness

The following paragraph is from Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd. The publication here is courtesy of Oren Mass
The principle of polarity works also within the known spiritual world. Examples of this are judgment and mercy, law and grace, severity and goodness, each of them forming a power field, with their harmonic interplay being an indispensable precondition for the proper functioning of human society. Love comprises both of these aspects. Thus, true lovers, for all their mutual affection, will always respect and honor one another. Love would degenerate quickly if it consists only of lavish kindness. On the other hand, it would not be love if only severity prevailed.

The Bible indicates this in the two different accounts of Creation, namely chapters I and II of Genesis. These two chapters are not two different traditions (E and J) put side by side by clever editors, as some modern scholars like to point out. They are closely interrelated through their common and central theme of ADAM.
In the first chapter, which speaks mainly of the creation of nature, the term Elohim (God, the purposefully directed creative force) is used. This term always goes with the aspect of the law, e.g. the laws of creation, of nature, of cause and effect. In some instances, the word Elohim must be translated as judge.

The creation of Adam, too, is recorded under this aspect. To be more accurate, verse 26 of the first chapter, which introduces the Divine intention, reads: "Let us make Adam (man) in our image, after our likeness." The following verse (27) then records the actual creation of Adam in God's image, but significantly omits the term "after our likeness". The Torah indicates by this omission that the "likeness" of God is not merely a product of that part of Creation, which is subject to the rigid laws of nature. It is rather the goal of a process of development and growth beyond these laws. Only Man enjoys this privilege and destiny.

No comments: