Question: How did Moses receive the two tablets of stone on Mount Sinai? The Bible does not seem to make it clear. Was it God’s hands in the form of a human that gave them to Moses?
In Exodus 31:18, we read, “And he gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.”
The passage states that God inscribed his law onto stone tablets using his finger. The question arises whether this was done in a human-like form or not. To address this question, we need to examine other scriptures also referring to the finger of God.
The “finger of God” is a figure of speech expressing God’s creative power and authority over what He has created. For example, Exodus 8:18-19 says, “The magicians tried by their secret arts to produce gnats, but they could not. So there were gnats on man and beast. Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the LORD had said.” We see that Pharaoh’s magicians realised the finger of God through the miracles that Moses was performing. They knew it was God’s power at work, and they were not referring to a physical finger of God.
Another example is in the New Testament in Luke 11:18-20, saying, “And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
Here Jesus says that He casts out demons by the finger of God, which is a sign that the kingdom of God has come. Again we know that it was not a physical finger Jesus was referring to because we can compare it to the same incident in Matthew 12:28, where it says, “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” In Matthew, the phrase “Spirit of God” is used rather than the finger of God. That is to say, this phrase is figurative for the “power of God”, and the Spirit is the agent through which this power is exercised.
Now, considering these other references to the finger of God, let us apply them to Exodus 31:18. Knowing that God is spirit (John 4:24), we can understand this reference to mean that the writings were formed without a physical finger but under God’s power. It could have appeared in an instance as he commanded or something similar. The Bible teaches us that God commands and things come into being. Psalm 33:9 says, “For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.”
In conclusion, the reference to the finger of God is anthropomorphic. In other words, it is a way of using terms we usually associate with human characteristics and assigning them to God. We see numerous examples of this throughout scripture, which helps us comprehend the eternal God within our limited understanding. It is a metaphorical expression using figurative language for God. God is not human to write with His finger; when He acts, He commands, and it comes into being. Amen! Psalm 148:5, “Let them praise the name of the LORD! For he commanded and they were created.”