Reaction to “The Name of G-d”

     So far this has been a very interesting study for me.  I’ve been out of town for a couple of weeks and I’m trying to catch up, but still a little behind.  I’m going to try to make a couple of posts just to try to express some of my thoughts on the readings, and I want to separate them so they make more sense.  First, I wanted to respond to the article “The Name of G-d.”     

      I found it very interesting that in Judaism the name of God is treated with such respect and reverence.  I’m not very familiar with Jewish tradition and thought, so it came as a surprise to me that they won’t even casually write the name of God for fear that it might be erased of defaced in some way, even to the extreme that they have had to discuss and come to the conclusion that it is ok to type the name of God and backspace over it because typing on a computer is not considered a “permanent form.”

      I was especially interested in the most important of God’s Names, (YHVH), or as we say, Yahweh.  I knew that I had heard something else about this, but I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I did a little digging and found a DVD called “Breathe” with the popular teacher and preacher Rob Bell from his Nooma video series.  I watched it again, and it’s interesting that he explores this subject in not as much detail, but one of his conclusions is that the name of God is not able to be spoken, but rather the letters used, Yod-Hei-Vav-Hei, are very breathy sounds.  And that in many traditions the name isn’t pronounced because it’s considered so sacred and holy.

      And that the ancient rabbis believed that these letters were breathing sounds that were ultimately unpronounceable because they were just essentially the sounds of breathing.  And what I think is so interesting is how the Bible talks about breathing.  In Genesis 2:7, “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.”  Could it be possible that when God breathed life in Adam, and all man-kind, He was using that as a metaphor to say I am putting a small part of myself into mankind?  Certainly through His Spirit, and by Christ’s sacrifice, we do receive a part of God, on a certain spiritual level.

      Paul wrote in Romans 8:17 that if we are God’s children then we “are heirs- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…”  I know as a parent that when I look at my son I see a part of myself, and a part of my wife, and I believe that when God looks at us He sees a part of Himself, and knowing that the Bible teaches that we were made in His image only clarifies that idea in my mind.  And knowing that truth, and considering the possibility that perhaps God’s Name is so sacred and so glorious that the closest we can get to even speaking it is by our breathing- the life breath that God has given each of us, just amazes me.  It gives fresh new meaning to the scripture in Acts 17:28, “For in Him we live and move and have our being.”

      I apologize for my rambling, but I thought I would share how this particular topic impacted me.  Thanks for reading!

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3 Responses

  1. Brandon, Yeah when I was reading about the Name of God and the careful attention that is used when using the name of God by Rabbi and Jewish scholars is pretty impressive. I thought the whole typing of the name of God is ok as long as they don’t print it out was really interesting.

    I also have used the breathe Nooma teaching in my ministry and thought that Bell really help explain some things about the Name of God. When reading about the Names of God I thought it was interesting that there are different Title’s and uses that are used to refer to God. I’m still not sure why some are held in higher regards than others but they are.

    One thing that I have already learned from this class is that the writers of the New Testament really understood the writings of the Old Testament. In return there are passages such as Act 17:28 that when looked at with an OT understanding really pop and have a deeper significance that just the words on the page.

  2. So did anyone else think while reading this article about how this relates to the way we treat Bibles as Christians? As a Children’s Minister I have so many old KJV Bibles just lying around. I even have lots of people donate them to me at the church, because they do not want to throw them away. I also have quite a few very worn NIV Bibles, but just don’t like the idea of throwing them away. Can anyone else relate?

  3. Bibles, like anything else, wear out and need throwing away. We need to realize that the paper it’s printed on does not make it the word of God, only the means to print the message. Having said that, I still get the creeps throwing a Bible away, but I also realize that that is an emotional response. It really is okay to pitch the copy that is falling apart. Even scrolls needed replacing eventually (otherwise the scribes would have been out of business).

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