God, Establishing Identity and Authentication

I've been doing a lot of thinking about identity establishment and authentication in the last few years. Today I was reading Exodus--the story of Moses and the burning bush--when I realized that it served as a good example of the issues and provides a number of techniques for dealing with them.

Establishing Identity:

In Exodus God establishes His identity with Moses by appearing to him in a burning bush. God gives Moses a charge to free the Hebrews from Egypt in His name. When Moses asks how he should establish God's identity when he returns to the Hebrews God says, in Exodus 3:13-16, "Say to the Israelites, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.' This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation."

God uses a web of trust (three people) to assert His identity to the Hebrews. The Hebrews trust their fore-fathers--Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob--they know that they all worshiped the same God. In this instance Moses is to go to them and say that that same God has sent him.

Proving Identity:

But Moses has doubts. How does he know that this is really God and how will he prove God's identity when he talks to the Hebrews? In Exodus 4:1-8 Moses answered, "What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The LORD did not appear to you'?" Then the LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand? A staff," he replied. The LORD said, "Throw it on the ground." Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. 4 Then the LORD said to him, "Reach out your hand and take it by the tail." So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. 5 "This," said the LORD, "is so that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you."

A person can authenticate their identity to varying levels of assurance by presenting something they are, something they have, or something they know. The assurance level can be raised by using multiple methods or using the same method with different information multiple times. In the example with God, Moses, and the Hebrews God uses something he has to prove his identity, His power. In fact, God uses it three times and gives Moses three tokens--the ability to use the staff, water and his cloak to perform miracles--to use when he asserts God's identity to the Hebrews.

Something tells me there are more principles that I could pull out of the Bible around these issues.

Comments

If you believe even marginally in a creator then it makes sense that the basic principles we all operate under would be found in the observations and documented experiences others have had with that creator. I like Gideon (Jgs 6) for a parallel example. Jim Sloey
http://justwild.us

I came accross this site googling for a password meter. While I really enjoyed the password meter I decided to read this article while I was at work. I really am not sure what you were attempting to go for with this article. I personally have been through way too much to pour the entire collection of my faith into any religion. Because in all honesty. Its all [bull5#!t]. I think joe rogan said it best in one of his blogs.

"I’ve never said that there’s no god, and I don’t even pretend that I’m smart enough, nor blessed with enough data to even begin to answer that question. You would never see me saying that there’s no god, because there’s no [f'ing] way I could possibly know. One thing I do know though, is that people are tremendous liars even today with the all the access to information that we have now, can you imagine how full of [5#!t] they were 3,000 years ago
The crazy thing to me about religion is that to the people that are following religion, it is THE answer. Just follow the directions, and there you go. Life and death and all it’s meaning spelled out for you.

What’s really fascinating about that to me, is that it really outlines this insatiable need for the truth that we all seem to have. No matter what culture you’re from, no matter what part of the world, the people are asking questions about what the f#@k this is all about, and everywhere that’s happening, there’s a set of directions that someone has created for you to follow. They’re all different, and they’re all convinced that they’ve got the real [5#!t].
Isn’t that fact alone amazing? "

The fact that people even assume they know whats going on around them 90% of the time astounds me. We still havent even figured out how many dimensions there are and just recently proved that dark matter existed, those are MAJOR discoveries. And yet, people think some 2000 year old book will solve all of their problems.

Sheep.

That guy left his link and so will I.
http://tellallofyourfriends.com

Joe Rogan is my favorite UFC commentator, he's very well versed in terminology and usage of techniques. But a Bible scholar he isn't.

While I can appreciate your comments I disagree. The data in support of the Bible is too strong to be ignored. No other text on earth has as much supporting evidence than the Bible. Not even close. And when you consider that even Jesus's enemies didn't deny he existed or did miracles, it becomes even more interesting. The Pharisees hated Jesus, and what he said. Yet you will not find one time in ancient literature where they said he didn't do a miracle. Instead they argued about how he did the miracle and the source of his power, saying things like his power came from a demon. For a better case than I can present see The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus, by Lee Strobel.

I find it interesting that you consider the proving of the existence of dark matter a major discovery but choose to ignore the larger question. Who created it? Don't you want to know?

C.S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity, says something to the following effect.

Imagine you are transported to live with a jungle tribe where you don't speak the language. You have no idea what they're saying and they can't understand you. One day the head of your host family walks into the hut and trips over a stick in the doorway. Now, if he discovers that you left the stick by accident he will probably not mind too much. However, if he finds out that you tried to trip him he'll be angry with you.

My question is this, where did this universal rule that we're not supposed to intentionally hurt people come from? And why is it instilled in all cultures no matter where they are or what language they speak? If a creator didn't cause this then how can it be explained? If a creator did do it, then wouldn't you want to know more about him/it?

I have no use for religion. I'm interested in developing a personal relationship with the all-powerful creator of the universe, who has a plan for the future that involves me. I've discovered that, though He's all powerful and perfect, He cares about this insignificant speck of carbon on a tiny spinning rock.

Sorry I just cant believe that. Regardless of referances, the bible was translated for hundreds of years by storytelling. Now you tell me, what happens when I tell Becky that Suzy slept in the same bed with Jamie's boyfriend Steve that one night at Marcs house we were all hammered. Next thing you know, Suzy will have [f'd] Jamie's boyfriend Steve and now shes pregnant. People are HUMONGOUS liars, so simple [5#!t] like that becomes so encumbered with exaggeration and lies predicated on personal agendas and the need for drama. And even if the bible were translated accurately (which the odds are 1,000,000-1 that it was) there is still SO much insurmountable evidence against it. For instance, your thumb. The thing you typed your reply back to me with, thats proof right there. Evolution, the evolution of our minds and bodies. The constant changing of our structure, thats evolution, the bible may provide answers and advice for [5#!t] that mattered 1000 years ago. But it doesn't hold water now. If god were to write a book, do you really think he would leave out things like advanced science and mathematics. Things that could potentially prove that he doesn't exist? And being GOD don't you think he would see that coming? But there is nothing.

I believe Jesus existed, sure. But I think he was just an ordinary guy with some extraordinary drugs. Because I've been through and done some pretty cool [5#!t]. But with the knowledge I have, knowing that those drugs alter my perception and way of thinking, I wont go off and start my own religion, but back in the day, when people didn't have the medical and scientific knowledge about what certain plants and drinks could do to you, that [5#!t] would have been groundbreaking. And to be honest, every story in the bible could potentially be explained by a good trip on a dub of shrooms.

I hate to keep quoting Joe Rogan, but he makes ALOT of valid points. This one in particular is the conversation ender for me. And while he may not be a Bible Scholar, I don't see you waving around a diploma either. (No offense)

"I've had people get pissed at me for saying that I don't believe in organized religion, and I've always found that hilarious.
I've never said that there's no god, and I don't even pretend that I'm smart enough, nor blessed with enough data to even begin to answer that question."

Did not know there was a censor on the site. Also, could you enable thje
tag for HTML. =P

I know that some kids read the site so I want to keep it as clean as possible. That's all. If you leave out the HTML Drupal should automatically handle the new lines.

Yeah I run drupal on my site too. I rather like it.

The Bible
I've heard the argument about verbal tradition before, but it simply does not stand up to scrutiny. From a historical perspective the data supports the reliability of the Bible. If you were to conduct research in this area you would find that there are over 24,000 full or partial ancient copies of the New Testament. The dead sea scrolls, discovered in 1947, prove the reliability of the Old Testament. If you did further historical research you would find that the ability for people of the day to retain entire stories and recite them verbatim was amazing compared to today. It was even more amazing when they were recalling something they witnessed first hand. We simply do not use our minds that way anymore. But back then it was common. In fact, the amazing thing is the accuracy of the replication.

Imagine a hundred people witnessing a miracle. Then imagine that those same people were spread all over the world because of famine or persecution. Then imagine that some of the people who were told of the event wrote down what they heard. Now imagine that thousands of years go by before we begin to find these records. The dating of the documents is verified and the comparison of the documents reveals that there is only 5% deviation, with the majority having even less. Well you don't have to imagine it, this is true of no other document from antiquity but the Bible. Have a look at Manuscript Support for the Bible's Reliability for some quick facts.

The odds of the Bible being accurately transmitted through time are pretty good in light of the above, and other research.

God
My thumb doesn't disprove God's existence. Just because we've got some scientific theories and can prove some of them doesn't disprove God at all. We've simply figured out how he pulled of some of the mysteries of creation. How does that disprove God's existence? What if God knew he could guide us to these scientific discoveries? If God exists—in the all powerful, omnipresent, omniscient sense—then are these things so hard to believe? I believe that adaptation is true, it can be proved. Evolution on the other hand is not provable. Darwin himself didn't believe it toward the end of his work. In my opinion it takes more faith to believe evolution than it does to believe that God created everything.

Jesus
I've heard the drug-induced-Jesus argument before as well. I find it interesting that you believe Jesus existed but that he was an ordinary guy. Either Jesus was a lying crack pot or he was God incarnate. There is no middle ground. If you read what he said in light of the times and the people he was saying it to there can be no other conclusion.

The idea that all of the stories about Jesus are the recollections of drug induced nut jobs is not a great foundation on which to base one's decision about whether he was a wacko or God. Consider that his enemies wrote about him and the things he did. They never mentioned that he was high, rather they attributed his power to a demon. They never dispute the facts of the case, rather they provide alternate conclusions. Besides, have you looked at the things he said? Love your enemy, care for the widows. Can you find an instance where he does harm? I can't.

You seem like a person who has the ability to do the research and come to an educated conclusion, why let people like Joe Rogan do your thinking for you? If you're serious about arriving at an educated conclusion then I would recommend doing further research. The Bible is my first recommendation, but if you want to take a skeptics approach you may want to start with The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus. Lee Strobel, the author, was a journalist for the Chicago Tribune and set out to disprove the whole Christianity thing. I'll tell you what; if you'll read it, I'll buy it and send it to you. However, if you want the conversation to be over that's fine too.