The book of Enoch: to be like God

The_Phillip_Medhurst_Picture_Torah_45._Enoch_translated._Genesis_cap_5_v_24._De_VosIn the Book of the Watchers, the theme was the origin of evil. In the Book of Parables – part of the book of Enoch – the problem is instead the way of salvation. The reflection of the Book of Parables is inspired by the fact that if evil originated from heaven – because the rebellious angels were of God – the solution to evil is to come equally from heaven.

The Book of Parables speaks about the figure of a mysterious savior, a son of man, that is, a man whose name was known before the foundation and is now hidden in God. In fact, men cannot come in contact directly with God. Therefore, God will work through this mediator who will transform the world by establishing new heavens and new earth in which there will be no place for evil and for sinners.

In the book of parables the origin of evil is much less clear and defined. It seems that the author of the book is not interested in such a question. The man is right because he has been elected by God and not by virtue of his actions. It is a well attested theme in the book of Ecclesiastes where it is said: For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit (2:26). In the Book of Watchers the evil on earth took origin from the contamination caused by the angelic transgression, which caused impurity among humans. In general, even in the book of parables the angels come down from heaven to teach men the cosmic secrets and the sin. But among these angels, the author clearly distinguishes the fate of Azazel from the fate of Satan. If Azazel will be thrown into the fiery furnace of eternal fire, Satan instead holds such a nature that it can not be destroyed. Satan appears as a demon and corrupted before the transgression of the angels – including Azazel – who were made so by the very transgression.

The angels transgressed because they put themselves in a place above God, deciding independently to descend on earth. So the sinner is not primarily the one who breaks the law, but the man that want to become like God. This people are the powerful of the earth. Therefore the son of the man’s task will be to overthrow these mighty people from their thrones. The right people are the oppressed who await the day of salvation.

In this context, also the main theme of the late Judaism – porneia i.e. the sexual sins – as the most important sin, lost its importance. For the author of the book of parables the basic sin is presuming to be like God, to arrogate the divine prerogatives. Therefore, he has a conception of evil much higher and deeper than that of the Book of Watcher author. (Next time we will begin the presentation of the most significant parts of the book)

Simone Venturini


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