You Can't Escape God, 1978
Another era of divinely contrived experiences for Adam's lineage.
ANOTHER ERA OF DIVINELY-CONTRIVED EXPERIENCES FOR ADAM'S LINEAGE, beginning in the time of Abraham, comprised a real-life drama so complex and colossal that it moved upon a stage 2000 miles wide and took more than 600 years for its enactment.
Within the continuity of these new events there were many plots and sub-plots running concurrently, each of them a portion of God's program for the advancement of Mankind. Thus, one of the related purposes was an additional genetic molding of the Adam lineage as a central core of the Hebrew people.
As we have earlier noted, God began his genetic intervention in this lineage by choosing Adam to become its progenitor. Another genetic maneuver took place when God used the Flood to cull-out the giants or other undesirables whose origin had threatened to mar the heredity of Adam's descendants. Hence, we are now about to observe how the Deity took further steps in the molding of Adam's posterity, continuing to do this in ways that were just as scientific as the most advanced practices of modern geneticists. Also, we are going to note the corroboratory significance of how the momentous events of this six-century period were interlocked in a maze of cause-and-effect relationships much too complex and over too long a period of time to have been unplanned happenings or products of merely human contriving; how, instead, they could have occurred only by the planning and interventions of God himself.
In dealing with God's genetic interventions, however, we shall find ourselves excitingly free from the fact that to many readers of the Bible its records of "who married whom" have usually seemed too trivial and soporific to invite enthusiastic reading. Indeed, we shall find that the details of divine maneuvering connected with certain marital relationships can be quite as absorbing as the clues of a modern mystery drama and as sentimental as though they were merely romantic fiction.
The Bible begins its records of this second era by telling of Terah, the l9th generation of Adam's lineage, taking his near relatives on a westward migration of several hundred miles from the city of Ur to the village of Haran. Terah had been the father of three sons, Abram, Nahor, and Haran (of the same name as the village.) However, Abram -- later to be renamed Abraham -- and Nahor were the only sons who accompanied Terah on the journey. Haran had died before the migration began; however, one of his sons, named Lot, was among the travelers. Sarai, the wife of Abram, was also in the party; she was a daughter of Terah, although she and her husband had different mothers. Nahor was accompanied by his wife, Milcah, who was a daughter of Lot; thus, she was also a granddaughter of Haran.
Thus, from those relationships we perceive that the main core of Adam's descendants were already participating in the process known to geneticists as in-breeding, and in later portions of our study we shall note how these and other genetic contrivings within this stock were to serve a divine purpose even though the participants were unaware that they were actually responding to the guidance of God. Meantime, we note that the effect of in-breeding is to emphasize and perpetuate any existing characteristics of a lineage. For example, the characteristics of Terah would be doubly transmitted to any progeny of Abram and Sara. Likewise, whatever Terah inherited from his forebears would be emphasized in any progeny of Nahor and Milcah.
After Terah died (at the age of 205 years), Nahor and Milcah remained in the village of Haran while Abram, Sarai, Lot, and Lot's wife moved southward to Canaan. The occasion for that departure came, Genesis says, when God spoke to Abram, giving instructions and promising to "make of thee a great nation." This again raises the question of whether God was present in person. Was it, instead, a case of Abram's intellect being so fortified by particles of the Holy Spirit that he experienced an "inner dialogue" which was as though God had spoken directly to him? Our logic responds that although the Scriptures often suggest the physical presence of God when, in reality, only a mental dialogue occurred, this launching-forth of Abram was quite probably one of the special occasions when God was present in person. Indeed, taking into consideration our earlier conclusion concerning the Deity's access to an orbiting Annex of Heaven, it is deducible that God was frequently on Earth during the period extending from Abram to Moses.
Arriving in Canaan, Abram gave Lot first choice of the lands they would occupy and this was the beginning of a genetic sub-plot within the larger drama that had begun with the departure from Ur. Lot chose land of superior fertility near the city of Sodom, unaware that its people were so wicked that God would later approve their destruction for reasons obviously analogous to those which in Noah's time caused God to eliminate the giants. In other words, the Sodomites not only were depraved but also were bad genetic risks.
After Lot chose the land near Sodom, God promised that Abram's descendants would inherit the land of Canaan. Then, in advance of the destruction of Sodom, two angels warned Lot to flee with his family to a safe distance, a warning which is significant for three reasons. First, this is the Bible's first mention of angels having face-to-face contact with humans on Earth. Second, the warning to flee to an apparently considerable distance suggests that Sodom was to be destroyed not by ordinary fire but probably by an underground explosion of petroleum or by some kind of nuclear holocaust. Third, the fact that Lot was warned shows that someone possessing more than human wisdom knew in advance what would be forthcoming.
We shall not be digressing, therefore, in noting at this point that the Bible repeatedly tells of angels participating in earthly incidents and showing that although they were anthropomorphic they were easily recognized as of a species different from our own. Moreover, our logic has earlier shown the inevitability of angels having come into existence in Heaven and of having a means for journeying to Earth.
Despite the warning given by the angels, Lot's prospective sons-in-law remained in the danger zone when Lot, his wife, and his two daughters fled. Then, says Genesis, Lot's wife "looked back" and was punished by being turned into a "pillar of salt." What really happened, of course, is that she went back and perished in Sodom's destruction. Thus, the reference to a pillar of salt simply means that not even the bodies of the victims remained intact when the heart of the destroyed city subsided; it had reduced the body of Lot's wife to a mound of ashes resembling the crystals of salt.
The Sodom sub-plot, however, was not yet finished. Instead, we find that Lot took refuge with his daughters in a cave where these young women assumed they would spend the remainder of their lives and that, except by resort to incest, their lineage's would die out. Let us perceive, therefore, that to women of that time it was a moral duty to contribute to Earth's population. So it was that Lot's daughter plied him with wine until while he slept he performed the acts by which each of them later gave birth to a son, one of whom was named Moab, a matter of subsequent genetic significance. Hence, in the details concerning the origin of Moab we have further proof of the veracity of the related Scriptures because if the writers had been merely contriving a religious fiction they would not have reported an incestuous relationship when they had no knowledge of what this infant's future significance would be.
Thus, later in our study we shall note the importance of the tribe founded by Moab in the structuring of the central core of the Adam lineage. Meantime, however, we can already perceive that even the participation of Lot and his daughters in acts of incest were simply a means of giving to the resulting infants another emphasis of the genetic inheritance which traced back to Adam. Accordingly, our logic is led to a conclusion that so great was the importance of a special genetic structuring of that lineage that God not only permitted a moral exception in the case of Lot and the daughters but also either contrived or at least anticipated the circumstances that led to the consummation of it.
Concurrent with the experience of Lot, Abram was also encountering a succession of theologically important genetic events. One of these began when Sarai, being barren, told him to take Hagar, and Egyptian girl, to produce a child for his inheritance.. Thus, further testifying that even Abram had previously absorbed a portion of the longevity-immortality ingredient once concentrated in the Garden of Eden, is the fact that the father of Hagar's male infant was 86 years old when the child was born. Hagar named the boy Ishmael, and we shall note further significance pertaining to him later.
In Ishmael's thirteenth year, God announced to Abram a covenant which would thereafter apply to the Hebrew people, and this was probably another instance of the Deity appearing in person. On this occasion, Genesis says, Abram "fell on his face," a detail which supplies a logical affirmation of God's presence. God then changed Abram's name to Abraham, and Sarai's to Sarah, to symbolize their newness, and Abraham was told to "walk before me and be thou perfect." In broader terms, this meant that Abraham was designated to be chief custodian, on behalf of Mankind. of the awareness of the oneness of God and of the distinctions between good and evil. Also at this time, God reaffirmed his earlier promise concerning the lands that the descendants of Abraham should inherit -- "from the wadi of Egypt to the great river Euphrates."
God did not fully explain why the covenant included a provision that all male Hebrews thereafter should be circumcised. He simply told Abraham it should be "as a token of the covenant betwixt me and thee." This meant, of course, it would be a mark of identification and of commitment. But why did God choose so bizarre a physical mark? The answer is of theological importance because it further testifies of a pattern of divine planning for the Hebrews as a Chosen People on behalf of Mankind.
Thus, God repeatedly made it clear that he wanted the Hebrew people to be knitted together as the original group-custodians of successive levels of not-yet-completed theological truth. Accordingly, for the sake of religious unity he made provision for them to possess a geographical unity. Likewise, circumcision was simply one of several elements in the entire scheme for religious unity. For example, non-Hebrews could be admitted to the genetic stock of the Hebrews only by accepting the Hebrew religion and this means that no non-Hebrew could be accepted unless he was sincere enough to accept circumcision. Hence, Hebrew circumcision was not a requirement that was capriciously imposed. Moreover, the testimony that it was specified by God is not refuted by modern evidence that the Egyptians used the same practice sooner than it was adopted by Abraham and his descendants. Instead, it is significant that God was establishing certain direct linkages between the Hebrews and the Egyptians. Thus, Abraham had already become the father of a son born to an Egyptian woman, and that son was to become the progenitor of a whole new half-Hebrew race. Likewise, Abraham was also to become the father of a son born to a Hebrew woman, and this son's later descendants were to spend four centuries in bondage among the Egyptians.
Our next item of corroborative consistency between the logic of modern science and the Biblical records concerns God's intervention to enable Sarah to become the mother of the son who would possess the special genetic inheritance which God had been molding ever since the time of Adam to become a central core of the Hebrew people. Thus, because Ishmael was a half-divergence from that lineage, God gave notice that Sarah would be come the mother of a son to be named Isaac, and it would be this younger son of Abraham who would be the successor custodian of the covenant and whose descendants would be of the special lineage. Hence, we also note at once that Isaac would be another product of genetic emphasis because Terah had been the father of both Abraham and Sarah.
Now as Sarah was 90 years old when the birth of Isaac was promised, her potential ability to become a mother was obviously due to her possession of some trace of the same longevity-immortality ingredient -- the Holy Spirit -- that also was possessed by her 99-year old husband. On the other hand, Sarah's previous failure to produce a child shows some special act of God must have been supplied to terminate her barrenness. To be specific, one of Sarah's ovaries had to be caused to perform an extremely late-in-life ovulation.
To modern minds, of course, the idea of a woman bearing a child at the age of ninety has seemed so absurd that atheists have regarded such a phenomenon in the case of Sarah as one of many items of the Scriptures to be ridiculed as patently false. In response, Christians have had only the retort that "with God all things are possible" -- thereby casting doubt even on the existence of God by implying that their religion is based on claims of violations of the immutable laws of the Cosmos. In contrast, few Christians have thought of Sarah's experience as having been a process of scientific physical healing -- performed by God rather than by his Son. Yet, what kind of therapy could this have been? An approach to the answer is that it was one of the same processes that Jesus employed, centuries later, in healing blindness and other physical afflictions. However, we shall defer a scientific explanation of the process that was applied to Sarah until a later chapter of our study deals with the healings performed by Jesus.
Now because all modern Jews trace elements of their lineage back to Abraham and Isaac, while Abraham and Ishmael are similarly considered to be progenitors of the modern Arab peoples, there is still today a genetic as well as a geo-political significance in the respective origins of Isaac and Ishmael. Thus, we note that Hagar, while awaiting the birth of Ishmael, fled into a nearby wilderness to escape the jealousy of Sarah. There, an angel told Hagar her infant would be a boy and that he would grow up to be less restrained by civilizing influences than the other descendants of Abram. He would "defy all his brothers," and would find "every man's hand against him," the angel said. Yet, some years later an angel also told Hagar that God would make of Ishmael "a great nation".
When Isaac had grown to manhood the time arrived for him to acquire a wife and this involved sending a servant from Canaan to the distant village of Haran to find a bride -- a highly significant arrangement because there were other Hebrew and non-Hebrew women available in nearer places. Furthering the same significance, the woman so chosen to become Isaac's wife was Rebekah, who not only was a granddaughter of Nahor (a brother of Isaac's father) but also was a great-granddaughter of Haran (the other brother of Isaac's father.) Hence, Rebekah not only represented a genetic concentration of the special Adam lineage but also one that was almost identical to that of Isaac, her husband.
The consistent steps of accomplishing further divinely-desired concentrations of the special lineage were next connected with the birth of twin sons, Esau and Jacob, to Isaac and Rebekah. Significantly also, even as an angel had told Hagar that Ishmael would be of a nomadic disposition, Rebekah had foreknowledge that Esau would be a "cunning hunter, a man of the fields" (i.e., of the open spaces), whereas Jacob would be "a plain man, dwelling in tents." Thus, as our logic alone could anticipate, it was Jacob rather than Esau who would be God's choice as a successor to Isaac. However, Esau had preceded his brother in their twin-birth and this made Esau the senior in respect to patrimony; hence, there was need for still more manipulations to enable Isaac to fulfill God's genetic purposes.
The problem was solved when Rebekah prepared Jacob to receive Isaac's deathbed blessing. By putting goat skins on Jacob's arms so that to Isaac's touch they seemed to be the arms of Esau, Rebekah arranged a deception whereby Isaac named Jacob rather than Esau as his successor. Let us perceive, however, that a quantity of the Holy Spirit in Rebekah's mentality had allowed her to comprehend that God was forming a special lineage among the Hebrews; and accordingly, she realized that Jacob's personality would be better than Esau's to serve that purpose. Further illustrating how the separation of the lineage's of Isaac-Jacob and of Ishmael-Esau was accomplished, the Bible later records that Esau married several women, none of them tracing any part of her ancestry back to Adam except in Esau's marriage to one of the daughters of Hebrew Ishmael.
When it came time for Jacob -- as a full inheritor of the Adam lineage -- to marry, still another case of juggled genetics was involved as the Canaan branch of the family turned again to the Haran branch to find a bride. As Genesis reports it, Jacob thus ultimately found himself married to both Rachel and Leah, the daughters of Laban. This means that Jacob's wives were not only great-granddaughters of Nahor but also great-great-granddaughters of Haran -- the brothers of Abraham who was Jacob's grandfather. In addition, Nahor and Milcah were the grandparents of Rebekah who was Laban's sister and Jacob's mother. Thus, any children born to Rachel and Leah with Jacob as their father would repeat again a multi-sided reinforcement of the characteristics of the Adam lineage.
Such repeating and re-repeating of the genetic reinforcing process is by itself sufficient evidence of God's intention to make the Adam lineage a very special core of the Hebrew people. Significant also, however, is the intricacy by which -- for example -- Jacob's marriage to the two sisters was accomplished. Thus, as Genesis relates it, Laban agreed that Rachel should become Jacob's wife on condition that the prospective bridegroom should first serve him as an employee for seven years. Yet, after Jacob's fulfillment of that provision, he found himself on the morning after his marriage to Rachel in bed with Leah who had been substituted in the darkness for her sister. Later, Laban allowed Jacob's marriage to Rachel to be consummated also and explained that Leah had been previously substituted because she was the elder of his daughters. However, our logic finds God's influence in this marital mix-up not only because upon its genetic impact upon two branches of Adam's lineage but also because of the important roles played in much later Hebrew history by the respective descendants of these sisters. In other words, we find that Laban was inspired to do what he did by the impact of the Holy Spirit upon his intellect even though he thought he had been motivated only by an earthly objective.
The results of Jacob's marriage to Leah began when she gave birth to a son named Reuben. Then Rachel, who had been barren, arranged to have Bilhah, a servant girl, become the mother of two children of Jacob. So it was that Bilhah gave birth to Dan and Naphtali. Not to be outdone, Leah made a similar arrangement of Zilpah, another servant girl, who gave birth to Gad and Asher. Ultimately, Rachel herself became the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, while Leah became the mother of Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulon, in addition to Reuben.. Thus, Jacob became the father of twelve sons, all of whom were to become involved -- in Egypt -- in a subsequent phase of God's plan for the Adam lineage.
In Egypt, great theological and moral truths were to be taught to the Adam-Jacob lineage and to others of the Hebrews, not only for their own advancement but also to be preserved by them as custodians on behalf of all of Mankind. Before we can appropriately examine those teachings, however, we shall need to observe the details by which God contrived to get Jacob's sons to move to Egypt from Canaan.
Thus, as God had surely foreseen, Joseph's brothers sold him as a slave to a caravan of traders who "happened" to be passing through Canaan, bound for Egypt. In turn, the traders sold Joseph to Potiphar, one of the Egyptian Pharaoh's officers. This, in turn, set the stage for Potiphar's wife to give false witness against Joseph so that he was imprisoned in Egypt on a charge of attempted seduction. Now to appreciate the significance of such a series of interlocking cause-and-effect relationships, let us note -- for example -- that if Joseph had been exiled instead of imprisoned or even if he had been sent to some different jail he would not have met the Pharaoh's butler as a fellow-prisoner and if he had not made that acquaintance all of the other events which followed would not have occurred. In other words, the meeting of the butler and Joseph had been divinely foreseen as one of the many linkages in God's plan.
In prison, Joseph interpreted some dreams of the butler so lucidly that when the latter was restored to employment in the Pharaoh's palace he recommended the young Hebrew to interpret a dream for the monarch. But when Joseph was hustled into the Pharaoh's presence to be told that the ruler had dreamed of seven fat cattle being devoured by seven lean cattle, Joseph had earlier anticipated the nature of the problem most likely to prey on the king's mind, and had an interpretation already to deliver. Thus, as Joseph explained, the cattle symbolized Egypt's cycle of seven years of high food production followed by seven years of low food production. Hence, Joseph suggested the Pharaoh should institute a national program of taxation whereby a fifth of each good year's crops would be seized from each producer-owner thereof, to be placed in government warehouses as a carry-over for the lean years. So it was that -- recognizing Joseph's potential to be an efficient administrator of such a program, and noting how such an arrangement of sweetly-explained taxation could be molded to special advantage for the political aristocracy of the Egyptian State -- the Pharaoh adopted the proposal and appointed the young Hebrew to manage the economic affairs of the nation; to be chief in everything except for the power and the prestige of the ruler himself.
We perceive, therefore, that Joseph was a man of idealistic intentions who, as God had foreseen, simply failed to anticipate the ultimate consequences of his program. In other words, Joseph thought the nation could be run more efficiently as a "welfare state" -- with all economic functions in the hands of bureaucrats -- rather than on the principles of individualistic self-responsibility. Little did Joseph realize, however, that no matter how beneficent his program of centralized management might seem at first to be on behalf of the Egyptian people it would make the rank-and-file subjects mere puppets of the State, unable to resist an inevitable later enslavement at the hands of a ruling political aristocracy.
GOD'S CHOOSING OF THE SLAVERY EVIL to be the first great lesson-by-experience to be learned by the ancient Hebrews, and the fact that he made this learning process extend for as long as 400 years, lead to the question of why he gave this particular subject such major priority and such awesome emphasis..
That the lesson was taught in a manner to ensure that the record of it would never be lost suggests that its truths not only were vastly important in antiquity but also are of equal of greater importance today. However, to comprehend what those truths were, are, and ever will be, we shall need to review briefly the conduct attitudes and practices of Protomen, still dominant in the time of Joseph.
We note again, therefore, that our Protomen ancestors had no concepts of "good" or of "evil" to inhibit them from robbing each other or bodily or non-bodily property. In other words, there was no awareness that every human being has a spontaneous right of self-ownership of his body and a parallel spontaneous right to use moral processes for the acquirement of an individualistic ownership of other kinds of property, as well; rights cannot be morally violated. Thus, in their original lack of awareness that every form of evil is actually some process of stealing, all Protomen were amorally unhesitant to rob other Protomen of bodily property (by minor or maximum physical injury) or of non-bodily property (such as food, shelter, land areas for hunting, or weapons.) In many cases, however, a process of robbery could not be repeated against a previous victim because, as a result of previous aggression against him, he was either dead or physically incapable of any labor by which he might have produced new quantities of property into sufficient abundance to activate a potential aggressor into new aggression.
Later, however, as Protomen and the early Real-men learned how to domesticate animals into "animal slavery," some of our ancestors came up with the idea of putting some of their fellow-men into human slavery. Instead of killing or maiming a victim so he could be robbed only once, they realized that by holding him to perform labors as a prisoner he could be robbed on a daily basis as long as his life-span extended. Thus, we perceive that the essence of slavery is the condition in which a man is denied "free market" conditions for the producing, the buying, and the selling of goods and is compelled instead to surrender a principal portion of the fruits of his labor to a non-competitive "buyer" at whatever price the latter may unilaterally choose.
At first, the practice of stealing by slavery was usually applied only in small packages whereby a slave-holder might have just one or perhaps no more than half a dozen slaves. But then, as our analysis of the Hebrew experience in Egypt will amplify, the slavery process finally reached a level at which thousands or millions of slaves were subject to a single master, a political aristocracy, headed by a king, and known as the "State."
Now let us note that God was and is opposed to human slavery not only because it is just one step short of murder as a maximum form of stealing but also because the individual slave, although learning by experience the victim's view of evil, cannot become practiced in self-responsibility for a volitional rejection of evil. This is because a slave is merely a robot, not having power to make any real decisions of his own. Stated in theological terms, a slave lacks freedom for his brain to make decisions of choosing between good and evil in a process of enabling his soul -- during slavery -- to become qualified for admission to Heaven.
Hence, we perceive God's central reason for imposing a slavery lesson on the Hebrews with major priority and awesome emphasis in the operation of his plan for Mankind. It was because humanity needed to learn as early as possible a lesson that would stand forever: That slavery is evil and must be resisted on the grounds that (l) it is incompatible with God's normal process of preparing souls for Heaven, and (2) it is contrary to the justice requirements for human happiness on Earth. Moreover, it is evident that God wanted the Hebrew experience to serve as a warning forever to all Mankind of how easy it can be even for men who may be motivated by "good intentions" to prepare the way by which other men can be enslaved of their own volition. In other words, he wanted the experience of the Hebrews to show how easy it could be for a political group committed to compulsory collective ownership of property to surrender voluntarily their individualistic ownership of property into the hands of a state by luring them with the so-called privilege of escaping normal self-responsibility for their own welfare.
Plainly, therefore, God used the slavery experience of the Hebrews to teach Mankind that we must construct economic-social-political systems in accord with the moral principles of Individualism (*) -- not only to provide the happiness of justice on Earth but also to supply the moral guidelines for acquiring the volitional attitude of love which enables our souls to win admission to Heaven. Accordingly, let us examine the events of the slavery lesson in Egypt and how it led to further manifestations of God's existence, his nature, and his power.
Thus, as the Bible records it, when Pharaoh accepted Joseph's economic-social-political program of Collectivism it was initially applied as a process of taxation whereby the State acquired a fifth of the people's food production each year until the government's warehouses were bulging.
(*) Only the basic anti-stealing principles of Individualism will be mentioned herein; instead, an amplified analysis of the economic-social-political mechanisms necessary for morality in a World which has become heavily populated and highly complex must be reserved for a volume projected as a sequel to the present study.
However, when the poor crop years arrived, the slave-citizens were not permitted to take back and consume the wealth in the State's possession -- which they otherwise could have accumulated by individual thrift. Least of all would there have been any means or intention for a take-back at quantities pro-rata to what the taxpayers had previously put-in. Thus, in a technical sense, the previous taxpayers had to purchase from the State the food which the State had previously seized; moreover, those purchased had to be made at whatever non-competitive prices which the State's ruling political aristocracy might unilaterally fix.
At first, the people paid for their food purchases with money, and "Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh's house." Then "when money failed . . . . they brought their cattle unto Joseph, and Joseph gave them bread in exchange." Finally, the people came to him and said, "There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our lands. Wherefore . . . . buy us and our land, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh . . . . and Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for the Egyptians sold every man his field . . . . so the land became Pharaoh's."
Such was the manner in which the people ceased to be individual owners of property and thereby became mere slaves of the Egyptian State. They called themselves "servants unto Pharaoh" but this was just a euphemism for the fact that they were actually slaves of the political aristocracy -- the government -- which possessed the means for total dominance of every person's life. They were slaves because a rank-and-file individual could no longer practice self-responsibility for his own welfare. Instead, he had to do whatever kind and quantity of work that Pharaoh's bureaucracy told him to do. He had to surrender to the State the totality of his work-produced goods at whatever price the State might choose. Then, as a consumer, he had to buy back whatever goods the State had not already consumed and at whatever price the State might unilaterally choose. The slave couldn't enter into more favorable arrangements with anyone else as a competitive buyer of what was produced or as a competitive seller of what the people desired to consume because there wasn't anyone else allowed by the State to function in competition with the State itself. Moreover, there were many adequate ways to prevent the slaves from escaping to any other country or to engage in any successful uprising.
Of course, the political aristocracy headed by the Pharaoh was not subject to recall by a ballot-box process, but even if elections had been held it could simply have kept the names of any opposition candidates off the ballots. Moreover, had it been necessary, the Pharaoh could have employed ancient equivalents of modern propaganda techniques to persuade the slaves to remain in servitude voluntarily by concealing from them the advantages of achieving freedom.
Now it is true that the Pharaoh possessed sufficient military power to have acquired the collective ownership of all property without going through a taxation process to do it. Nevertheless, it is significant how he insisted on a legalistic process. In other words, although the whole operation was simply a flim-flam, the Pharaoh wanted to persuade the people (and perhaps himself) that the seizure of all property was really an honest transaction. In contrast, many other dictators of ancient and modern times have been less fussy about legalistic formalities; to confiscate property from individual ownership, they simply killed any owner who offered resistance.
In Joseph's time, the terms by which the State's political aristocracy kept the slaves in slavery were probably not as harsh as they subsequently became. Indeed, it is even possible that both the Pharaoh and Joseph had benevolent (but ill-advised) intentions. In any event, Joseph was in a position to show favoritism to some of the Pharaoh's subjects, and so it was that he persuaded his eleven brothers (and presumably their families and retinues which may have comprised several hundred persons in each unit) to move from Canaan to Egypt where he settled them on fertile land so that they achieved a favored property even though they were exposed to the hazards of slavery themselves. Little was it realized by these brothers or by their early descendants, however, that by subjecting themselves to the principles of slavery in an arrangement specially cushioned for themselves they had actually cooperated in the construction of political machinery which would be ever-ready for an easy and inevitable take-over by some later generation of rulers who would impose intolerable conditions on the rank-and-file people. Thus, the descendants of Jacob's sons in Egypt did not awaken to their predicament until "there arose up a new king over Egypt, who knew not Joseph."
Under the new Pharaoh, who simply used the Collectivist machinery already existing, all that mattered to the whim of this despot was his determination to glorify himself, his cronies, and the State -- at the expense of the slaves. Thus, as these were incapable of resisting the State's power, the new Pharaoh appointed commissars to afflict the Hebrews in their labors and to increase the taxes on them. Thousands were dragged away from their homes to toil like animals in the construction of so-called "treasure cities" whose only benefit was to the ego of the Pharaoh himself. In further detail, the Scriptures record that the commissars made the lives of the Hebrews "bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field." Yet, even all that oppression was not enough to satisfy the paranoiac head of this Collectivist State. Thus, ceasing to think of the slaves as a primary source of the despotism's wealth, this new dictatorship began to apply even a particularly nasty form of genocide by commanding that mid-wives should kill all male Hebrew infants at birth, while "every daughter ye shall save alive."
Hence, it is not surprising that one Hebrew mother hid her infant son among the reeds at the edge of the Nile. Neither is it surprising that the saving of this particular child from death was more than merely a coincidence. Obviously, God himself had pre-chosen this male infant -- later named Moses -- to become the leader of the Hebrews in a divinely-engineered escape from their slavery. Mooreover, although four centuries had passed since God had been extremely active in manipulating the genetics of the central core of the Hebrew people, the Bible notes that Moses was a descendant of "the house of Levi." In other words, he was a descendant of the Levi who had been born to Jacob and Leah in a genetic plot arranged by Leah's father.
Thus, as we perceive such evidence of a continuity of divine planning, we are not surprised that the mother of Moses was divinely inspired to hide him in his infancy in such a manner that he would survive to serve God's purposes. She did this, as the Bible records it, by placing the infant where it was certain he would be discovered and rescued by a daughter of the Pharaoh -- whereby Moses would grow to manhood in the king's own palace, not as a slave but as though he had been born a member of Egypt's governmental aristocracy itself. Yet, Moses learned he was a Hebrew; his awareness of this is shown where Exodus tells how he rescued a Hebrew slave from being beaten by an Egyptian overseer. In turn, because the overseer was killed in that encounter, Moses had to go into hiding in the land of Midian. There he married a woman named Zipporah and there he remained among his own people until God called him to lead the Hebrews in a dramatic escape from their captivity.
THE AWESOME IMMENSITY OF GOD'S POWER was the second great lesson that the Deity would teach the Hebrews in Egypt -- as a sequel to their experience in slavery.
God did not give the ancient Hebrews a scientific explanation of his power; there was no way they could have understood it if it had been given. He had a special reason, however, to demonstrate to them the force that was at his command. The reason was that they needed proof of his omnipotence to give them courage enough to risk a flight from slavery while facing the menace of the Pharaoh's fury and more distant unknown perils. Indeed, even Moses needed to be convinced that God would successfully resist the rival powers of the Egyptian monarch.
Accordingly, God took the initial step of demonstrating his power to Moses by making a mysterious voice-contact with him. Exodus says Moses had taken notice of a "flame of fire in the midst of a bush," that burned but was not consumed. Then Moses heard a voice which seemed to originate in the bush, declaring that "I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob."
Of course, many people have disbelieved there was any bush that burned without being consumed or that any voice came from within it. Similarly, we know there have been volunteer apologists or skeptics who have suggested the bush was simply a variety noted for flame-colored flowers, and that Moses merely imagined he heard the voice of a living God. However, our logic deduces this was one of the occasions when God was nearby in person.
Thus, we now deduce that the "fire" in the bush was actually the radiance of a quantity of the Holy Spirit which God had projected there from a relatively distant location. In other words, the electronic particles were in a sufficient quantity and were sufficiently compacted to be luminous (even as also occurred on certain other occasions to be analyzed in later chapters herein.) Hence, we can easily comprehend how it was that to the eyes of Moses it appeared the bush was afire and why he was astonished that it was not consumed.
In turn, we deduce that God, keeping himself hidden at a distance, simply beamed emanations of the Holy Spirit into the bush and used that beam as the carrier of his voice -- even as modern science has learned how to project a laser beam of light which also can carry spoken messages. Obviously, a God who had a head-start of some millions of years, as compared to Earth's electronic engineers of today, had a know-how sufficient to project sounds and light into a "burning bush" or wherever else that he might have chosen.
Our deduction that God so used the Holy Spirit in this instance is supported further by the Bible's significant notation that Moses was warned by the voice not to get too close to the bush because "whereon thou standest is holy ground." What that warning meant, we now can perceive, was that God did not want Moses to become so saturated with particles of the Holy Spirit that an unintended degree of longevity would result as had earlier happened to others of Adam's lineage in similar contact with "holy ground" in or near the Garden of Eden. As a matter of record, however, Moses did live to the age of 120 years, indicating that he did receive abnormal quantities of the Holy Spirit either on this or other occasions.
In the conversation that followed the approach of Moses to the radiant bush, God's voice announced that Moses had been divinely chosen to lead the Hebrews in escape from the slavery of Egypt. There were, however, to be three preliminary steps. First, Moses was to make several visits to the Pharaoh to ask permission for the departure. Second, God was to "harden the heart" of the Pharaoh to ensure the king's rejection of the entreaties. Third, God was to perform a wonder -- a demonstration of his power -- at each of the rejections until finally the consent of the Pharaoh would be given.
Why did God propose to harden the heart of Pharaoh, and by what process? Many Christians have thought it strange that God seemed to be handicapping his (purported) objective of obtaining the king's consent. Others have assumed that God was attempting to convert the king to the still-immature Hebrew religion. In contrast, we now can perceive that the purpose was simply to provide a series of pretexts by which the related demonstrations of God's power would give confidence to Moses and to the Hebrew people.
Still other Christians have supposed that to harden the heart of Pharaoh meant that God has to use some kind of remote hypnotism. Let us see, therefore, that God simply anticipated the psychological pressures which the chain of events would put upon the king to make him irrationally stubborn. In the first place, just to deal with Moses as a representative of slaves was enough to send the Pharaoh's blood pressure soaring. In the second place, by competing with Egypt's magicians in a series of tests in which the Egyptians would invariably be the losers, God was playing a game of one-upmanship which was bound additionally to infuriate the ruler. Moreover, it is evident that God chose a series of minor wonders because he knew their repetitive psychological impact, as a means of giving confidence to Moses and to the Hebrew slaves, was preferable to frightening them with a single but more awesome wonder.
Next, let us consider the wonders which Exodus says God performed each time the Pharaoh rejected Moses' requests. Did God really turn the Nile into blood, as Exodus avers? Did he really afflict Egypt with various plagues? Did he really cause an epidemic which was fatal to some Egyptian children including the Pharaoh's son, although it passed-over the Hebrews? Let us agree that by showing God did some of the wonders attributed to him it will be unnecessary for our logic to examine the others.
Thus, turning the Nile to "blood" meant simply a temporary turning of its color to red, even as we sometimes speak of a "blood-red" color. But even turning the Nile to a red color does not imply a use of (non-existing) "metaphysical" powers. For example, it could have been arranged for Moses to conduct the Pharaoh to the water's edge at a pre-determined time -- while far up-stream one of God's angels applied an electronic force to topple a bank of red-colored soil into the downstream current, even as modern Man has colored the same river by the use of explosives. Yet, God's coloring of the Nile was no less a miracle because he used some physical method; even in such a case as this there still would have been involved a use of powers stemming from a divine omniscience.
As for the plague of locusts, an un-metaphysical explanation begins with the fact that some numbers of these insects would have visited Egypt (as still today) at a pre-known time regardless of any contributory act by God. But the added fact that locusts mature underground and become unusually voracious when those areas experience extreme wetness suggests it would have been strictly within the laws of nature for God to have caused or to have known of heavy rains in the areas of incubation with the result that locusts in abnormally large numbers suddenly appeared and did extensive damage to Egypt's food crops.
Finally, the fatal sickness which struck some Egyptian children and the Pharaoh's son can be explained in terms of nature -- albeit, commanded by God -- rather than leaving it as a matter of dubious wonderment. Thus, as Exodus relates it, God had told Moses to instruct the Hebrews to put splashes of animal blood on the entrances to their homes on the night foretold for this epidemic. Later, the Hebrews erroneously supposed this meant perhaps that God or his angels spent the night before the Exodus looking at the entrances of all dwellings in Egypt to determine where there should or should not be victims. In contrast, we deduce what really happened was that God caused winds to blow across a virus-infested swamp land and into areas occupied by Egyptians rather than by Hebrews. Moreover, the virus -- probably carried by mosquitoes -- may have encountered a racial immunity among the Hebrews. Whatever the nature of this plague may have been, however, what is really significant about it is that the Hebrews were told in advance of the specific night when it would strike the Egyptians.
As for Hebrews' belief that the blood-streaks on their dwellings were visual check-marks for "pass-overs", what we need to comprehend now is that the actual purpose was simply to establish an impressive ritual for future commemorations of the escape from slavery. Let us perceive that God was even more aware than Man has been of the psychological importance of religious ceremonials for the learning and remembering of the wisdom which he was helping Mankind to acquire. Thus, when God gave instructions for the house-markings and for certain foods to be eaten at annual commemorations of the Exodus, he was simply establishing the principal ceremonial details for memorializing the experience of the Hebrews with slavery and for reminding future generations of how difficult it can be for slaves to escape from a State which practices the principles of slavery, except with the aid of the vastness of God's own power.
WHEN PHARAOH CONSENTED TO THE DEPARTURE of the Hebrew slaves, his approval came from irritability rather than from fear or contrition.
It was not a happy thought for the Pharaoh to think of his State being deprived of the productive labor of the slaves. (Similarly, even modern Collectivist States are reluctant to allow any of their people to depart to areas of freedom. That's why such places of Collectivism even in the 20th century used walls, barbed wire, mine fields, and armed guards to make escape too difficult or dangerous to be often attempted.) Thus, even after the Exodus of the Hebrews had begun, Pharaoh must have toyed with the thought of forcing them to return to their previous slavery. However, if another act of a "hardened heart" he chose instead to send his war chariots in pursuit of the fugitives, with orders to destroy them. Yet, little did he dream that this pursuit had also been foreseen by God as setting the stage for another major act of the six-century drama which the Deity had produced, an act which would have many thousands of witnesses of the vastness of his power.
According to the Book of Exodus, there were about 600,000 persons in the flight from Egypt. Obviously, however, that figure was someone's exaggerated guess -- or perhaps a count of animals got mixed with a count of the people. In either case, the actual number of fugitives was probably fewer than 100,000 including children.
Fleeing eastward, the Hebrews were led by Moses to some narrow part of the Red Sea (or the Sea of Rushes) where the water was shallow in some places but deep in others. There, while the fugitives rested and while the Egyptian charioteers delayed their final dash of pursuit, Exodus says, a night wind caused the waters to recede, clearing a path on which the Hebrews and their flocks and herds were able to cross to the opposite shore. Then, after the waters returned to normal depth, the Egyptians drowned as they attempted pursuit. In further detail, Exodus asserts that as the Hebrews walked to safety "the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand and on their left," a description that has given countless generations an erroneous mental picture of a passage-way with a vertical "wall" of water on each of its sides, higher than the fugitives' heads. Thus, it has been quite natural that atheists and other skeptics have hooted at that concept of a physical impossibility.
Yet, the true explanation of what actually happened is easily deduced and is no less a miracle merely because it conformed to physical laws. Thus, Moses did lead his people to a place where the depth of the waters in some spots was greater than five or six feet; otherwise, the Egyptians would not have drowned. On the other hand it is just as obviously natural that although the waters were deep in some spots they were conveniently shallow in others. Accordingly, when the Hebrews made the crossing, they found that the wind which had lowered the water-level -- perhaps no more than one or two feet -- had thereby exposed the shallow places to provide a walk-way which inevitably followed a zig-zag pattern. Thus, we can comprehend how the fugitives walked on exposed land surfaces even while at their right and at their left the water-covered deep places would be like a "wall" (i.e., an impassible obstacle) to the subsequently pursuing Egyptians.
Hence, when the wind abated the returning waters covered the zig-zag directions of the escape route. In other words, the surface of the water would not have shown to the pursuers where the shallow or the deep places would be found, especially with the chariot horses at a gallop and with the waters muddy. Quite naturally, however, the Egyptians -- unable to see the twisting patch the fugitives had followed -- rushed forward in a straight direction, erroneously assuming that the Hebrews had followed a similar course. Thus, the horses and chariots plunged off the edges of the shallow places and into deep water. Other chariots, racing up from the rear, tumbled upon those already sunk or mired. In short, the Egyptians experienced precisely the disaster that Exodus recorded.
What about the traditional theological contention that it was God who caused the wind to open the waters and that he said to Moses to "stretch out thine hand over the sea and divide it?" Let us perceive that God could have specially used radiant forces to push the wind so that it opened the waters -- even as he directed the clouds many centuries earlier to discharge a deluge in the area of the Garden of Eden. On the other hand, it is not unlikely that the same wind which opened the waters in the Exodus from Egypt was a frequent or daily occurrence. Thus, it is possible that Moses had learned from human sources where to find the place that the waters could be intermittently forded.
In any event, it was surely just an ordinary gesture of pointing when Moses stretched forth his hand at the point where the passage would be accomplished. Yet, to other Hebrews, at a distance, the earlier evidence that Moses was led by God made it seem that whatever Moses did -- even a mere gesture -- was a response to God's spoken instructions and was the actual cause of whatever followed.
But whether God specially summoned the wind or whether Moses just took advantage of a pre-known natural occurrence does not affect the theological importance of the occasion. Let us remind ourselves that even if Moses merely used foresight and initiative to learn from human sources where the waters could be crossed, this would still reflect an influence of the Holy Spirit upon his mentality -- so that he was truly God-led not only at times when he heard the Deity's voice but also at other times when such direct communication was not in effect because it was not needed.
GOD'S INTERVENTIONS IN HUMAN AFFAIRS continued subsequent to the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt, even as the Bible has historically recorded. Indeed, because his plan for Mankind will apply on Earth as long as a Mankind exists on Earth we can know that -- unseen or unrecognized -- the Deity still arranges and triggers a great many of humanity's doings even in modern times.
Nevertheless, the attainment of certain milestone goals within the plan can be recognized in some cases as though they manifested time-measured cycles of divine action. Hence, in that sense, the Exodus terminated a cycle which had begun six centuries earlier with the departure of the family of Terah from the city of Ur.
Quite probably there were only a few of the major participants in God's plan during the Abraham-to-Moses period who recognized that they were being divinely maneuvered. For example, it is unlikely that Joseph realized he was simply an instrument for setting up the slavery lesson in Egypt. Likewise, we can be sure that none of the participants in God's genetic contrivings had any awareness of his scientific objectives. Today, however, by correlating modern science with the Biblical record, the accomplishments and the methods of God's operations in that ancient six-century cycle can be identified and clearly understood.
In particular, we now can recognize five chief items of divine achievements in the Ur-to-Exodus period. First, God once again demonstrated by actual appearances on Earth that he surely exists, that he is a person-with-body, that he is primarily anthropomorphic, and that he can project a radiance analogous but superior to those which even our earthly science has begun to fathom. Second, by establishing a covenant with Abraham and by numerous other acts, he demonstrated again that he desires human souls to become qualified for admission to Heaven and that Mankind is subject to certain essential processes for such qualifying. Third, he demonstrated that ever since Adam he had forced or instigated a series of genetic manipulations designed to establish a special lineage within the Hebrews for a divine purpose which he had not yet disclosed. Fourth, he demonstrated that any form of stealing -- whether of bodily or non-bodily property -- is the essence of every form of evil, and that slavery is exceeded only by murder as a maximum form of evil; thus also, that stealing is evil regardless of whether it is done by a lone robber or by a Collectivist system of a large or small State. Fifth, he demonstrated that the God of the Universe has the power of know-how to work stupendous physical wonders, not by "metaphysical" violations of the Cosmic Formula but rather by the harnessing of its own spontaneous and primordial laws.
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