In I Kings 8:27, we read that :
But will God indeed dwell on the earth ? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee ; how much less this house that I have builded ?
The Hebrew and the transliteration for the verse above would be
kiy ha’umnaam yeesheeb ‘Elohiym ‘al-haa’aarets hineeh hashaamayim uushmeey hashaamayim lo’ ykalkluukaa ‘ap kiy-habayit hazeh ‘asher baaniytiy.
Regarding this verse, Henry’s Concise Commentary has the following to say :
In this excellent prayer, Solomon does as we should do in every prayer ; he gives glory to God. Fresh experiences of the truth of God’s promises call for larger praises. He sues for grace and favour from God. The experiences we have of God’s performing his promises, should encourage us to depend upon them, and to plead them with him ; and those who expect further mercies, must be thankful for former mercies. God’s promises must be the guide of our desires, and the ground of our hopes and expectations in prayer. (Henry’s Concise Commentary, under Citation : FIRST KINGS 8, ver 22 – 53)
It is clear that Solomon was conscious of the fact that however splendid his Temple was, it could not possibly reflect the glory of God or contain his eternal Being, as reflected in the above prayer in the form of a rhetorical question. Nevertheless, in acknowledging God’s omnipresence, Solomon expressed his desire that God should be honoured at this place and that every Israelite, no matter where he might be, should face toward the Temple when he prayed.
The prayer above raises several serious questions for the Christians :
- Could we safely claim that the past Prophets in the Bible were ever consciously aware of the Trinity or of the divinity of Jesus ? If yes, why they (especially Solomon) display such ignorance of this fundamental Christian theology ? If no, are they not saved from their sins due to the sacrifice of Jesus ?
- Could Jesus ever possibly be the God-incarnate or God in flesh, since the verse above clearly refutes such a notion ? If yes, does this mean that the verse above is in error ?
- If assuming that Jesus is indeed the God-incarnate who came down to earth, does this mean that God had actually lied to Solomon when he (Solomon) was taught that “…the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain” Him ?