Quiz Time: Which Bible Figure Wore a Mask to Protect Others?

Quiz Time: Which Bible Figure Wore a Mask to Protect Others? May 6, 2020

Have a look at this, from Ohio State Rep. Nino Vitale:

This is not the entire world. This is the greatest nation on earth founded on Judeo-Christian Principles. One of those principles is that we are all created in the image and likeness of God. That image is seen the most by our face. I will not wear a mask.

Wow, so many thoughts all at once.

Maybe it’s the former Bible quiz champion in me, but do you want to know where my brain went first on reading Vitale’s statement? To a Bible verse, of course! A Bible verse where someone wore a mask to protect other people!

Exodus 34:29-35

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them. Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai.

When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever he entered the Lord’s presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the Lord.

Sure, so the word used here is veil, not mask. But that’s not actually that important, because it makes the point more salient rather than less—a veil covers the whole face; a mask covers only part of a face. Here a man who was very close to God—a man who literally spoke with God, covered his face in public to protect those around him. Just as the light emanating from Moses’ face in this passage was so bright it could harm those around him, even so the germs emanating from people’s faces during this pandemic are contagious and can harm people.

It doesn’t even appear that Moses wore the veil because the light shining from his face would have killed anyone. It looks like it was either that it would have bothered them because it was so bright, or that it struck awe into them to see it, in a way that was uncomfortable. He covered his face to spare people discomfort. But Vitale declares that it is against the Bible and against God for people to cover their faces to save people’s lives.

Anyway! This is where my mind went first—to a case in the Bible where a person covered his face to protect others, and was in no wise condemned for it. The second place my mind went was to something I learned in apologetics class in high school, or maybe in a sermon at church, or both: that being created “in the image of God” was about or minds, our souls, our existence as conscious beings, and not about our physical appearance.

Christian Apologetics Research Ministry puts it like this:

Some people think that being made in the image of God deals with the physical likeness as if God has a body of flesh and blood. This is not the case. Jesus tells us that God, in reference to the Father, is spirit (John 4:24) and the spirit does not have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). Therefore, it cannot be true that we are made in the image of God the Father in the sense that God the Father has a body of flesh and bones.

So then, what does it mean to be made in the image of God? It means that we are made in His likeness in that we have some of the same attributes that God has. For example, God is rational (Isaiah 1:18) and so are we. God can love (John 3:16) and so can we. God can hate (Psalm 5:5; 11:5) and so can we. Because we are made in God’s image, we are able to have compassion, mercy, grace, fellowship, friendship, etc. However, as God is all-knowing, we are not. God is ever present, but we are not.

So, the image of God in us means that we are like Him in some, not all, of His attributes.

And it’s not just evangelicals who believe that being created in the image of God is about our minds, and not our bodies. The Catholic Church teaches the same thing. In fact, going back through 2,000 years of history, you’re not going to find a whole lot of Christian thinkers—if any—who believe that being made in the image of God refers to God’s body. In fact, the overwhelming (and maybe universal) consensus is that God does not have a body. 

Let’s go back to Rep. Vitale’s comment:

This is not the entire world. This is the greatest nation on earth founded on Judeo-Christian Principles. One of those principles is that we are all created in the image and likeness of God. That image is seen the most by our face. I will not wear a mask.

That literally makes no sense. Moses wore a veil to protect those around him, and being created in the image and likeness of God is not about our physical faces. This. Makes. No. Sense.

Seriously, just wear your mask. By wearing a mask, you can save lives. If you call yourself pro-life, you damn well better be wearing a mask. Your mask protects others. I get that it’s annoying, but wearing masks saves lives. 

This really shouldn’t be such a hard sell.

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