Moses first encounters God as a fire burning in a bush that the fire’s flames do not consume (Exodus, Chapter 3). He also hears God’s voice coming from the bush, or so it seems. In Chapter 3 of Exodus, Moses is hesitant, perhaps fearful, to view the phenomenon directly. I can’t blame him. But by Chapter 33, Moses longs for and requests a complete frontal disclosure of Divinity’s “face,” of God’s character, of the nature of the Being with whom he has been conversing.
God denies Moses’ request and gives him a compelling reason. God tells Moses:
“No one shall see me and live.”—Exod. 33:20 (NRSV)
What do you think? Would you, if you could, want to see God’s face, whatever that means, in this lifetime and, of course, remain living after the encounter? In my story “The Plan,” Derek Adler, a gifted student of the late Professor Johannes König, Distinguished Professor of Theology at the University of Tübingbruck, is obsessed with seeing God’s face. And what’s more, Derek has a plan about how to do it.
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