Wrestling with God


#1

There is a story in the Midrash (part of the Jewish oral tradition interpreting Scripture) which goes essentially like this:

Several rabbis were debating a portion of scripture. One said “if the law is according to me, let this locust tree prove it” and the locust tree moved. A second disagreed and said “if the law let this stream of water prove it” and stream turned and flowed backwards. A third rabbi disagreed with both and said “if the law is according to me, let the walls of the House of Study, prove it” and the walls began to topple. Another rabbis interposed “if the law is according to me. Let the heavan prove it.” And a voice from heaven said “why do you dispute with Rabbi Eliezner? The law is according to him in any case.”

Another rabbi rebuked the voice from heaven and quoting scripture said “it is not in heaven.” What is the meaning of it is not heaven? “The Torah has already been given once and for all from Mount Sinai. We do not listen to voices from heaven. For You have already written in the Torah: ‘After the majority must one incline.’”

Another rabbi asked Elijah: “What was the Holy One, blessed be he, doing at that moment?” Elijah responded: “he was smiling and saying: My children have defeated me, my children have defeated me!”

How does Catholicism react to the concept of defeating God in an argument?


#2

[quote=campbell]How does Catholicism react to the concept of defeating God in an argument?
[/quote]

Anyway, I’m sure that if anyone wins an argument against G-d, that G-d knew all about it beforehand and planned let them win. Undoubtedly because He has a plan, or because of his Love. It wouldn’t surprise me either. Socrates taught students by asking questions and we regard Socrates as being wise. So why wouldn’t G-d sometimes use the Socratic Method?

I’m Baptist and just signed up for RCIA / RCIC.

I say G-d in respect for Judaism because they do not say the name and I’ve seen some Jewish web sites that also do this.

Anyway, Jacob wrestled in Genesis 32:25-32 – it was an angel according to Hosea 12:5. So I suppose any answer would need to take Jacob / Israel into account.

campbell: I like the story you shared (as a story). Is there a good link to Jewish Midrash, etc? I have a few Jewish links that I find interesting.

This link examines some issues of mishna and compares and contrasts what Jesus taught:
foigm.org/IMG/varner7.htm

One interesting point is Mishna tractate Abot, 1, 5: “Engage not in too much conversation with women. They said this with regard to one’s own wife. How much more does the rule apply to another man’s wife? As long as a man engages in too much conversation with women, he causes evil to himself, for he goes idle from the study of the Torah, so that his end will be that he will inherit gehenna.”

Instead of following the Mishna, Jesus talked with the woman at the well (John Chapter 4).

There are other places in the NT when Jesus specifically quotes and disagrees with something in the Mishna.


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