Things are looking grim for the people of Israel. Oppressed by a foreign power, they seek a great leader who will break their chains of bondage. Finally, the man himself arrives! Not only does he perform great miracles, he provides his people instructions on how to live a life pleasing to God.
Jesus Christ? No, the man is Moses, and I would like to propose a way that God could have saved a lot of time (and given us a much more concise Bible) by making Moses the savior of humanity.
Picture the backstory: we’re only a few chapters into the Bible, and sin is already wreaking havoc on God’s creation. God has already tried and failed to cut off the infection by firebombing Sodom and Gomorrah and rebooting all life on Earth with the Great Flood. Is the solution to create a temporary fix which will redeem only one specific people? Why not sent the savior of humanity now, instead of waiting a few thousand years?
In the Bible, Moses speaks to Pharaoh on behalf of his people, Pharaoh finally lets the Israelites go after ten plagues, but he still pursues them until Moses parts the Red Sea and closes it on the Egyptian army. I’d like to propose an alternate scenario that is essentially similar, but with a few key tweaks.
In my scenario, Moses is the Son of God. His birth narrative in Exodus is already pretty unlikely, floating down the Nile in a basket and allowed to survive when all other Israelite sons were being killed. We just need to make him born of a virgin to give him a truly miraculous origin story.
The story proceeds from there until Moses is grown and makes his escape into Midian. In a classic hero’s journey trope, he encounters God in the burning bush, where he learns of his divine provenance. God then instructs Moses to not only be Israel’s liaison to Pharaoh, but to beseech the Israelites to turn from their sinful ways (as Moses will do in the Sinai anyway) and follow Jehovah only. Moses obeys, performing signs and wonders to prove that God has sent him.
When the time comes for the tenth and final plague, Israel is not spared by painting their doors with blood. Rather, Moses allows himself to be captured by Pharaoh, who has once again had his heart hardened by God. The next morning, Pharaoh executes him, an innocent man, just as the spirit of the Lord passes over Egypt. The firstborn of Israel are spared by Moses’ sacrifice, but the firstborn of Egypt are not. The people of Israel now escape thanks to the distraction.
They proceed to the Red Sea, where they find themselves trapped between the army of Egypt and the water. Suddenly, Moses reappears! He has defeated death, and proceeds to part the Red Sea and allow Israel to pass through, closing it again over the pursuing Egyptians. Safe on the other side, Moses presents God’s message to his people and all of humanity: accept Moses into your heart, repent of your sins and you will be saved.
This alternate scenario solves a number of problems with the overarching biblical narrative. Many stumbling blocks are removed from prospective believers – God never commands genocide, never demands the stoning of homosexuals, never condones slavery or allows slaves to be beaten. You no longer have to cherry pick which Levitical laws are important (gays are bad but blended fabrics are fine?). You no longer have to contrast the vengeful Old Testament God with the loving New Testament God and wonder how an “unchanging” god has changed. Most importantly, millions more souls have the opportunity to be made right with God sooner.