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Bible Q

What is “manifestation” of God, and is it the same as “agency”?

A straightforward question to which we give a short general answer:

The subject of God’s manifestation to man is terminology mainly used in 19th Century books. It simply means how God reveals himself. The terminology is partly Trinitarian, in that it is used of “God the Father” being manifested by “God the Holy Spirit” and “God the Son”. These latter two are unscriptural terms and ideas, but it is true that God (comma) the Father, is revealed, shown (and in older language manifested) by his only begotten son through Mary, Jesus of Nazareth, a man without sin, but not God or a god.

The idea of agency is related. It also is God being revealed or shown or manifested by an agent. This is typically an angel, but can occasionally be a prophet, and at it’s most complete is Jesus acting as empowered agent of his Father.

An example – from Exodus 3 is when the angel of the LORD appeared ” to Moses from the midst of the bush. Although the text says that it is an angel, the text also describes the words as being said by Yahweh, the LORD, himself in the bush. And clearly God was not in the bush, an angel was. So this is both agency, an agent, and also an angel manifesting or revealing God.

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