Old Testament Summary Lesson 1: “This Is My Work and My Glory”
- True Nature Of God Known in Antiquity: The anthropomorphic nature of God was known to the Jews at the time of Jesus. The Old Testament, as well as the Dead Sea Scrolls contain several references to God in ‘human terms’. As the true nature of God is seen to diminish in history, true religion fades away.
- When Jewish Belief in God Changed: By the time the Crusaders were approaching the Holy Land, a prominent Jewish philosopher, Moses Maimonides, began collecting the writings and interpretations of other Jewish sages to codify and centralize them. In his work “The Guide to the Perplexed,” Maimonides included ‘Thirteen Articles of Faith’. The first three articles declared that God cannot be explained. That is probably the first published Jewish work that (in most Judaic studies) eliminated reference to the anthropomorphic nature of God.
- God is Motion? “The great Jewish philosopher Maimonides argued for the existence of God from the idea of motion. Everything in the universe is moving, and since we know that movement is finite, it must have started somewhere; hence the idea of the Prime Mover, i.e., God.” Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- People Want Mystery to Believe: “In the final analysis, however, there is no direct positive evidence of the existence of God. It can be argued that if there were such evidence then there would be no virtue in believing in Him. Ultimately it is a question of faith.” Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Jewish Thirteen Articles of Faith: “Perhaps the most famous of the various formulations of dogmas is the Thirteen Principles of Faith of Maimonides. Originally written in Arabic, this creed is the basis of the Yigdal hymn which is part of the daily service and is usually recited at the conclusion of the Friday evening synagogue service. These principles have also been put in the form of a creed in which each begins with the words “I believe with perfect faith that . . . ;” the creed is printed in most prayer books.”
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The 13 fundamentals are:
- The existence of God, which is perfect;
- God is “one” in every sense of the word;
- God has no body or physical attributes;
- God is eternal;
- God alone must be worshiped;
- the prophecy of the Bible is true;
- Moses was greater than any other prophet;
- the entire Torah was given to Moses;
- the Torah will never be superseded or abrogated;
- God knows the actions of men;
- God rewards and punishes;
- the Messiah will ultimately come; and
- the dead will be resurrected. (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)