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Sinaiís Slippery Senses
In Defense of the Faith
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Wendy Wippel

One of the weirdest statements the Bible makes occurs in Exodus 20 at a momentous occasion in the history of the Jewish nation, God’s giving of the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. “And the entire nation saw the voices and the thunder”. Saw voices?  And thunder?  What gives?

Well, at least it certainly got their attention. 

Now a Jewish holiday called Shavuot, the day commemorates the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, the seminal moment in Jewish history and the birth of the nation.  Jewish tradition records that “all of the Ten Commandments were revealed simultaneously, in a manner which a person can not possibly articulate. A language, that which a mouth could not say, nor could ears hear." according to the Midrash.

At the very least we can surmise that something very unusual-- something out of normal human experience--, was going on.  

Which is interesting for two reasons.

First, from a human standpoint, the statement that the people “saw the voices” seems completely preposterous

We don’t see voices.

At least, not til Isaac Newton, we didn’t. 

Newton was one of the first scientists to gather evidence that sometimes, in fact, the neural pathways of the brain get confused.  And when that happens, regions of the brain that are normally committed to solely one function like hearing, or sight, can begin abnormally active cross-talk between regions that don’t normally interact, and the senses get confused.  People smell sounds. They see numbers as colors.

 It’s a disorder now known as synesthesia (meaning “percieve together”)’

And in Sinai several thousand years ago, the revelation of God’s eternal word apparently created such stimulation of human neurons that the people were able to “see” voices and “visualize”  thunder. Not at all preposterous at this point, but a recognized—albeit  very unusual--  neural disorder. 

It’s also very interesting from a very supernatural standpoint.

Yakov Gugeinheim, an Israeli physicist and electronic systems specialist also found the description of the  Israelite’s reaction to the giving of  the ten commandments interesting.  And he developed a sophisticated software program that turned sound wave patterns into visual images.  

Then he spoke the letters of the Hebrew alphabet into the program.

Intriguingly, for 18 of the 22 Hebrew letters spoken into the system, the sound wave pattern reproduced the shape of the letter itself, supporting the traditional Jewish belief that the alphabet itself has supernatural origin.

Which is also interesting given the hints we have in Scripture that communication from God—both written and spoken—has a distinct power:

"For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."  (Isaiah 55:10-11)

And that’s because God’s word is in explicably but nonetheless inextricably linked to the person of God himself in the form of his son, Jesus, born to redeem mankind from the foundations of the world:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. (John 1:1-3)

Jesus said that not a yod or a tittle would ever pass away before God’s word is proven to be the supernatural word of Go.

The rabbis apparently are fond of saying that when Messiah comes, he will not only explain the word, but he will explain the spaces between the letter.

I can’t wait.

About Wendy Wippel

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