Why is there a Child Avatar in Exodus Gods and Kings?
Does it irritate you that a child represents God in the movie Exodus Gods and Kings? Don’t be. The idea of a child-god is ancient. Chrishna, one of the prominent Hindu gods, is mostly pictured as a child. And we have the Christ child … wait a minute: Chrishna and Christ sound similar, is there an etymological connection? And then, tfhere is the Egyptian child-god Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris, who resembles Christ in the respect that he was born from a virgin and conceived in a stable too.
Does it already feel a bit right, but still a bit wrong? Bear with us, your irritation will resolve in a moment. We need to do some divine hair splitting first: Jeff Benner, an expert in ancient Hebrew, resolved a seeming contradiction between Exodus 33.11 and 33.20 that is relevant for our subject. In 33.11 God speaks to Moses face to face as a man speaks with his friend. Verse 33.20 claims that nobody can behold God and survive. Jeff resolved the contradiction with ease by making a subtle distinction: Moses didn’t talk to God, he talked to God’s face. Jeff added that in another verse, God’s face is synonymous with God’s messenger or angel.
The Old Testament seems to paint an intimidating picture of God: He’s an all-consuming fire, exceedingly brutal with His punishments (as we could watch in Exodus Gods and Kings), and all prophets confronted with Him reacted with fear. Also Jacob called the gate to heaven a dreadful place. Hence, the idea to use the avatar of a child-god is a good one, since it’s less scary. Having said that, the child avatar in Exodus Gods and Kings is an angry child with horrifying tantrums. Apparently, the producer of Exodus Gods and Kings didn’t manage to shake off God’s gloomy reputation, which is a pity and a lost opportunity. Just imagine how inspiring the movie would have turned out if Moses chatted with a friendly, wise, and happy child-god. But maybe it would have been too paradoxical if a gentle child had caused those horrifying plagues, what do you think?
Personally, I prefer to have a friendly and intimate relationship with God. In fact I don’t believe in an angry God as shown in Exodus Gods and Kings. God is my loving father and He cares of me no matter what. No need to erect a wall of fear between Him and me. Maybe this is what Christianity is ailing from: Christians still call God respectfully ‘Sir’, not ‘daddy’ or ‘old man’, worried that God may neither have a sense of humor nor a friendly bone.
Other religions and spiritual traditions don’t have this onerous legacy. Allow us to throw in a bit of Qabalah: Tiphareth, the sixth Sephirah represents generic mankind, i.e. Adam and Christ. Tiphareth carries the god-name Jehovah Aloa Va Daath, meaning God Father in the Sphere of Knowledge or, What Can be Known About God Father. Tiphareth has also the title the Lesser Countenance – that’s God’s face that we can talk to in a friendly way. Ignorance is the source of all fears; consequently, the more we know about God, the less we fear Him. Last but not least, Tiphareth is illustrated by a king, a sacrificed god, and a child, rounding up the big picture.
This reminds of Jesus’ saying that nobody can reach God Father except through him. Maybe he meant that we need to love God and become His friend first, before we can establish a meaningful contact. In fact, he emphasized that unless we change and become child-like, we will never reach the Kingdom of Heaven. True, it’s written that fear is the beginning of wisdom, but mind that fear is only the beginning and love its fulfillment. Jesus vehemently denied God’s fearsome reputation. He repeated again and again that God isn’t a revengeful, high-blooded deity, but rather a loving, all-forgiving pop.
Fear is only the beginning of wisdom, solely with love can we perfect it. – Nu Christ.
We hope you have become comfortable with the notion of God Child, because we’d like to take this up a notch and introduce also the notion of God Mother. We know that Christians have a very patriarchic inclination, but hear us out first. There are Biblical facts that allude to God’s female side. According to David Penchansky, a faculty member of the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota, God encompasses both genders. You can watch his reasoning on YouTube here.
To that we add a curious fact about the God-name Elohim (who created the world in seven days). Elohim means literally ‘Powers’ and is usually translated as ‘God’. Elohim is a female word with a masculine plural and, as such, a grammatically incorrect word. Since it appears as the third word in the Bible it stands to reason that this isn’t a coincidence, likely to indicate that God has both male and female features.
In conclusion, we are tempted to amend the classical trinity we inherited from Catholic scholars living two-thousand years ago. We’re not saying that the trinity of God, Son of God, and Holy Ghost is wrong, but how if the Genesis suggests another, more generic trinity, that of a Divine Family: God Father, God Mother, and God Child? And this brings us back to the subject: after Exodus Gods and Kings acquainted us with the idea of a child-god, we are left with the feeling that there is much more to a child-god than shown in the movie. How if God Child is not only God’s avatar, but also our true identity? Does that sound intriguing? Then, read this.
Picture attribution: copyright Exodus God and Kings (movie)