Writing Assignment

Writing Assignment on Exodus
by Jenny Zimmerman

1. Outline an argument you believe is put forward in Exodus and email it to Zimmerman_jj@mercer.edu ASAP.

2. Read through Chapter 10 in Everything's an Argument.

3. Evaluate the following argument outlines submitted by your classmates. (Return to the website to find arguments as they get added.)

In the world, there are many different facets of power. Nature is seen as being powerful and so is evil. Even people are viewed as being powerful. Throughout the book of Exodus, however, we see that God is the underlying force that holds everything together.   When He first approaches Moses requesting him to be the leader of His people, He assures Moses that He will be with him all times.   When Pharaoh refuses to let God's people go, the Lord uses his power to bring plague and chaos the to land of Egypt. He proves that he does control everything, even nature. When the people are wondering through the desert and they begin to feel thirsty, God tells Moses to strike a rock and He uses his power to bring forth water from the rock. When the people begin to stop believing in God and start worshipping a golden idol instead, God brings down his wrath upon them, punishing them for not believing Him and His word. In this aspect God prevails over the force of evil. Throughout all the circumstances portrayed in Exodus, whether good or bad, God has always had the upper hand, proving that he is indeed all-powerful, even in the face of evil.

Exodus provides for a priestly caste by presenting the idea as a direct order of God. In 28:1, Exodus shows God giving the order to make Aaron and his sons the first priests by saying, "And bring thou near unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office." Exodus thus makes a very strong argument for the existence of a caste of priests by declaring that God Himself says that such a caste is required. Exodus further separates the priestly caste from the rest of the Israelites by showing God as telling Moses that fine, extravagant clothes should be made for the priests to wear, unlike the other Israelites that are not part of this exclusive priestly caste, and that the priests alone should have access to certain parts of the tabernacle.

Conclusion:

In Exodus God is all-powerful, even over evil. Exodus demonstrates his ability over evil in allowing Pharaoh's heart to be hardened and the eventual deliverance of His people.  

In their existence the people are subjected to forces of other humans' whims, forces of nature and ultimately evil in all its forms.

Premises:

* God shows power over the natural forces by commanding the plagues.

* God allows Pharaoh's heart to be hardened, therefore conquering human whim.

* By setting the people apart from Him with His laws he makes a distinction of evil and His ability to punish and conquer it.

Argument:       "The LORD said to Moses, '...But I will harden Pharoah's heart,l and I will multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt...The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out from among them.'" (Exodus 7;1-5)   This passage out of exodus argues that God is all- powerful by saying he will do many signs and wonders and yet harden pharaohs heart.

This argument is strengthened again later in Exodus when what God says will happen does happen. "And the magicians said to Pharoah, 'This is the finger of God!' but Pharoah's heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, just as the LORD had said." (Exodus 8;19) This shows even Pharoah's magicians see the signs and wonders as God's omnipotence, but at the same time Pharoah still hardens his heart as God said.

Conclusion:       God will allow Pharoah's heart to harden so that the Israelites and the Egyptians will know that God is all-powerful and omnipotent.

 

C3-God occupies a higher plane of being than humans.

1. God is able to appear to Moses in the flame of the fire in the midst of a bush. No human is capable of transforming himself.

2.   God is able to work through Moses to accomplish his task of freeing his people out of the bondage of slavery of the Egyptians.

3. God is able to create consequences such as bringing on a swarm of flies, He makes the livestock of the Egyptians die. He does this after hardening the heart of Pharaoh and therefore Pharaoh does not let Gods people go.

4. God takes the first-born son of those that do not have the blood of lamb spread on their door during the Passover. Only God is able to take a life in this way.

5. God is able to make miracles happen by freeing his people.

6. God is able to perform these miracles because he is God and He is holier and mightier and purer than any other human being or any other thing on this earth. Because he is so pure and powerful he can do amazing things that humans, nature, objects and evil cannot do.   The miracles that God performs in Exodus prove that he resides above all.  

7. God has a hand in everything that happens on Earth. He has a set plan for his creation.

 

Thesis: God is omnipotent, even over evil.

    Exodus assumes that the forces in the world are human, nature, evil and God. In order for Him to be omnipotent, he must show dominance over those.

Dominance over Evil

1) "I will harden Pharaoh's heart."

a. Establishes that He is above evil, because He actually makes Pharaoh not listen to Moses' cries to change. Dominance over Nature

2) Parts the Red Sea

a. This shows His power

b. Reinforces his ability to do ANYTHING, even part a body of water. c. Shows that he has the power to make the weak, Israelites, over the strong, Egyptians. Dominance over Humans

3) Sustains Israelites on their long journey

a. Able to survive despite terrible conditions

4) Inscribes his law on tablet

5) Makes thunder to show his power

 

Hypothesis:   There is no priestly caste in Exodus.

Support:   Aaron is fallible.

a. He uses his power to influence the people negatively.

1. He convinces the Israelites to create a false god.

2. He openly defies God be betraying Moses.

1. I feel the thrird agrument is a very powerful agrgument. This person states their conclusion that god has power over everything and then they give supporting examples to prove that God does have power over evil, nature, and humans. This conclusion and its premises are straightforward and to the point. The agrument may have been made a bit stronger if more detail would have been put into the premises, for example, what the plagues were. I believe this is an excellent proven argument.

2.   After going back and looking at my own argument I see a few places in it where it may be considered a bit weak. I am trying to support that God has power over humans, nature and evil. I directly give an example of how he has power over humans and I say that he has power over humans, but when talking about nature, I say he brings on plagues but I did not directly state that he has power over nature, so that point may seem somewhat unclear. I also say that he has power over evil, but I did not give a direct example of how he has power over evil. I guess I could have said the Pharoah in away was evil, and God hardened his heart.

3. Thesis: God is omnipotent, even over evil, is a very well writen conclusion with excellent supporting points. They give a thesis and then give proofs. I think this is how a well written argument should begin.

The argument that seems to rise above the rest in Exodus is that God is all powerful and should be praised and admired. After reading my other classmates' dailies it seems that this is a popular theme among us. The argument that God is all-powerful can be supported by the many displays of God's power in Exodus either through the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, or his final deliverance of his people from evil. Though I do think Exodus succeeded in its argument that God is all-powerful I believe it didn't fully accomplish it's purpose to arouse the adoration and praise of God in a variety of readers.   In the time that the Bible was written perhaps God's displays of power were necessary for God to gain the faith of his people but in my eyes God shows too much pride to be the just and righteous God we think of today. In my opinion, God should not have hardened the Pharaoh's heart just to display his awesome power.   This seems to me too much like the humanlike Greek gods of the Iliad and the Odyssey. My point is that Exodus succeeded in it's argument that God is all-powerful but it did not convince readers like me in the argument that God should be adored and praised for his power.

critique of C3 -- God occupies a higher plane of being than humans.

These arguments lack the organization needed to convince readers effectively. Successful arguments are won when thoughts are arranged constructively. The sequence is as follows: claim, grounds, warrant. The claim is the hypothesis in need of justification. The grounds are the data and evidence supporting the claim. The warrant justifies the link between the claim and the grounds. In addition, the warrant or analysis attempts to illustrate the impact of the hypothesis.

The argument under scrutiny failed to give significant grounds for the made claims. For example, it is stated God has a set plan for all creation. Where is the data to back up this claim? Is cannot be found without stretching links. Thus, this argument falls because of the lack of evidence.  

New Argument: In Exodus, I believe that the argument that prevails over all others is that no matter how seemingly strong or unbreakable something is, if you have faith, all is possible. Whether or not you are a religious person or not, this argument still applies to you. Maybe you don't think you can get a certain grade in a class or can't ever make a team, but if you believe in   yourself and hard work, all is possible. The same was true for the Israelites. They were being watched over and oppressed by a power that they felt they would never escape. But even through those long, tough years, they kept faith that something better would come eventually. And one day it finally did, through Yahweh's messenger, Moses. That kind of faith and perseverance is almost unparalleled in society today. That is what makes it so much more remarkable and such a strong argument...if that's how you see it.

Previous Argument:   "Exodus provides for a priestly caste by presenting the idea as a direct order of God. In 28:1, Exodus shows God giving the order to make Aaron and his sons the first priests by saying, "And bring thou near unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office." Exodus thus makes a very strong argument for the existence of a caste of priests by declaring that God Himself says that such a caste is required. Exodus further separates the priestly caste from the rest of the Israelites by showing God as telling Moses that fine, extravagant clothes should be made for the priests to wear, unlike the other Israelites that are not part of this exclusive priestly caste, and that the priests alone should have access to certain parts of the tabernacle."

Commentary on Previous Argument:   When reading this argument, it is hard for me to look at this as a purely academic argument. Seeing that I come from a strong religious background. But I do see some interesting points in this outline. First of all, I believe the author is right in stating that Yahweh does call for a caste of priests. However, from my standpoint, when I read this argument, it appears to me that the author beliees that this is a bad thing to have; that it doesn't benefit the Israelites because it causes seperation. I believe that a caste of priests is a good thing because some people are more in tune with their religious lives than others are. While some may find this argument hard to understand, it really is quite simple. In our lives, certain people are better at things than others are. To some, math comes easier than english. Some are better at sports than others. The same is true for religious life. However, as it is with all of the other things, with enough practice and concentration, these levels can grow and flourish. So while some may feel that priests seperate us more than help us, I believe myself, and this author, do actually see through that and believe that a caste of priests is what our religious lives need.

New Argument:   I strongly believe that the underlying theme in Exodus is that God is an omnipotent being, who, if followed will lead you through life and love you eternally. God shows his miraculous powers through Moses. Despite Moses' many attempts to explain his lack of ability to God, God reassured him that HE would be speaking through Moses and that all Moses needed to do was to have faith in his power. Moses' faith in the Lord holds true throughout the entire book of Exodus, and once again proves the underlying theme about faith in God.

Previous Argument:    In the world, there are many different facets of power.   Nature is seen as being powerful and so is evil. Even people are viewed as being powerful. Throughout the book of Exodus, however, we see that God is the underlying force that holds everything together. When He first approaches Moses requesting him to be the leader of His people, He assures Moses that He will be with him all times. When Pharaoh refuses to let God's people go, the Lord uses his power to bring plague and chaos the to land of Egypt. He proves that he does control everything, even nature.   When the people are wondering through the desert and they begin to feel thirsty, God tells Moses to strike a rock and He uses his power to bring forth water from the rock. When the people begin to stop believing in God and start worshipping a golden idol instead, God brings down his wrath upon them, punishing them for not believing Him and His word. In this aspect God prevails over the force of evil.   Throughout all the circumstances portrayed in Exodus, whether good or bad, God has always had the upper hand, proving that he is indeed all-powerful, even in the face of evil.

Commentary on Previous Argument: This is an extremely well written argument. The writer gives specific examples to prove what appears to me as the main idea of the paragraph: "Throughout the book of Exodus, however, we see that God is the underlying force that holds everything together." The writer speaks confidently on the subject allowing the reader to believe that they possess a type of authority on the topic, which builds trust. Because I have read Exodus, I am familiar with the story line, as are the majority of the readers, and I don't think that it was extremely necessary for the writer to retell the said events. The retelling of a story should be done carefully so that it does not bore a reader who is already extremely familiar with the story. However, this is an overall good argument that focuses on the main idea, and keeps the readers attention.