Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Why is God only slightly better than an Egyptian magician?

Real Analysis and Set Theory homework keeps piling up, I've got a midterm on Friday about imaginary numbers and darn it all, but those Heroic dungeons in WoW aren't going to run themselves. So, delays! However, I have been reading Exodus, and even though updates will be more sparse and probably less witty, I would be remiss if I didn't record my current thoughts.

Probably everyone reading this has seen either The Ten Commandments or The Prince of Egypt, so I'll assume we all know the basic plot. The main problem with the story, which is left out of most movie versions but with which most people are still familiar, is that God deliberately hardens Pharaoh's heart so that Pharaoh will be unwilling to grant God's and Moses' requests. This is mentioned repeatedly, and mostly it comes off like God really REALLY wants to visit all manner of plagues and unpleasantnesses upon the Egyptians, and is just itching for an excuse. Really, God? The generations of slavery(that you twiddled your thumbs during, presumably) aren't enough justification? And who is God worried about justifying himself to, anyways? Maybe that older, more rational brother he has who I'm now sure exists. Still, the whole thing feels like very heavy-handed puppeteering on God's part.

One problem which has troubled me since I was a child, and to which I've never gotten a satisfactory answer, is why can Pharaoh's magicians pull off the same tricks Moses does? It's not like Moses does miracles nobody can replicate, it's that he does miracles which ARE replicated, but not quite as well. Both Moses and the Pharaoh's magicians can turn rods into snakes, but Moses' snake is a little more badass and eats the magicians' snakes. Both can turn water into blood, but the magicians can't turn it back into water (can Moses do this? Probably not). Where is this magic coming from? Is there a source of magic OTHER than God? Can you somehow go over God's head and turn your staff into a snake without his approval? I guess Satan might be doing it, though he hasn't been mentioned at all yet and you'd think for a power display God would step in and put a stop do it. So what gives?

My favorite passage:

[9:24]So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous
Grievous, but impressive! I would think those two things would cancel out; nice show, God!


  1. The handy thing is, because Sticks to Snakes is a 4th-level spell, we know that Moses is at least level 9. (I assume God is playing first-edition D&D.)

  2. Clearly someone other than God can do magic, or that Tea Party lady wouldn't feel like she needs to tell us she isn't a witch.

  3. Apparently a lot of other gods are mentioned in the bible, so maybe they're doing some work here:, but like GOD is the coolest god.

  4. Maybe the dude behind the keyboard on Exodus was a henotheist!

  5. Your blog is the best, I just read the whole thing.