P is for Plagues

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Sometimes God has a great special effects budget. The Old Testament is full of stories of incredible meteorological activity at God’s whim that changes the face of the planet and visits God’s judgment and presence on the world. And they aren’t just confined to the Old Testament. At the crucifixion, the sky went dark in the middle of the day and the earth shook with a tremendous earthquake that opened sealed tombs and supposedly jostled he dead out of their graves! There’s a Good Friday story you don’t hear all the time. One of the greatest collections of the massive physical representations of God’s power on Earth is in the book of Exodus. In the beginning of the book, Moses is trying to convince the Pharaoh of Egypt to let his people go, but Pharaoh is unimpressed because he has no since of who God is and besides, he has plenty of gods on his side/is kind of a god himself. The plagues that follow are iconic and remembered throughout history as the withering hand of God against Egypt for Pharaoh’s hubris.

“You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites. And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.” (Exodus 7:2-5 NIV)

There is something about these “signs and wonders” that God is going to use to deliberately communicate His identity to the Egyptians. What is interesting is how specifically the signs He uses line up with the pantheon of the Egyptians. Each plague had a specific deity that they addressed and essentially challenged the Egyptian deity to demonstrate their own power over God messing in their domain. Each plague built on the last and drove home the point. This is a chart I found of the various plagues and the deity they challenged. Many roleplaying games incorporate a pantheon of powerful beings f some kind or another. If a new threat were to rise against all the others and specifically challenge them in their own domains, it could create a greater threat than the petty squabbling amongst equals. It’s the cosmic equivalent of a duel and it’s definitely a fight you don’t want to get into the middle of, unless you care about the universe or something.

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