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In the movie "Dogma", Archangel Metatron, played by Severus Snape Alan Rickman, serves as a "Voice of God".

Behold the Metatron, herald of the Almighty and voice of the one true God.
...
Human beings have neither the aural nor the psychological capacity to withstand the awesome power of God's true voice. Were you to hear it, your mind would cave in and your heart would explode within your chest. We went through five Adams before we figured that one out.

However, based on my somewhat limited knowledge of source material, neither of the original sources (Old Testament or Talmud) which mention Metatron ever assign him the role of a "Voice of God".

Moreover, I recall that Moses was spoken to directly, when he saw a burning bush:

So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." Then He said, "Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground." Moreover He said, "I am the God of your father; the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God. (Src: Exodus)


So, the question becomes: where did these 2 ideas originate? That:

  1. God's voice is deadly to mortals and thus he needs an angel to speak for him as a "Voice"?

  2. That archangel Metatron held that role (as opposed to Talmudic "Scribe of heaven")

I would be equally happy with an answer sourced from Kevin Smith or someone else familiar with that movie's creation; or with simply a reasonably well known (e.g. could possibly be known to Kevin Smith) earlier work that had the same idea(s).


NOTE: For those who demand a reason why every question was asked, I was going to compare Eru and his speaking (or not speaking) to Men on Arda to Judeo-Christian deity who must have a "Voice of God" angel. Only to promptly realize that the source material did NOT have such a notion, and the idea in my mind originated from "Dogma".

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Blasphemous humor? I doubt it has an origin beyond "funny," in all honesty. –  Gabe Willard Sep 7 '12 at 4:27
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Also, we have a theology tag? This is slightly amusing. –  Gabe Willard Sep 7 '12 at 4:27
    
@GabeWillard - For some reason, I'm pretty sure Kevin Smith didn't just invent the idea. No proof. –  DVK Sep 7 '12 at 4:34
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I minored in Biblical Studies at college, and I can confidently say it's not from any passage in the standard Bible. I'm not sure about the apocryphal books, that would be where I'd head first. There are passages in the Bible that talk about no one being able to see God and live, but nothing regarding his voice. –  Gabe Willard Sep 7 '12 at 4:43
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Could have been a factor, but it was more just a way to really get Moses' attention. In fact, it's sort of relevant to this question in that when Moses first saw the bush, there was an angel standing in the fire, but when he got to the bush, God was the one who spoke. The angel stayed silent. –  Gabe Willard Sep 7 '12 at 4:54
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2 Answers

To answer Question 1:

Having grown up in various christian circles, I'm quite sure that the concept is not new. It's difficult to dig up web-sources that predate the movie, which is a shame, but it can be seen in at least a couple 'serious' theological web-debates. I can say that for me personally, the concept was not one that jumped out as new when I first viewed the movie when it was in theaters.

I would hazard a guess that the origin of this idea is Exodus 20:19 (both quotes NIV translation)

When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”

This is paired quite closely (after a brief legal interlude) with Exodus 33:20

But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

It's not particularly sound theological reasoning, but then when has that ever stopped anybody from preaching?

Secondly to answer Question 2:

I can't find anything really compelling on this. I'd guess that Kevin Smith was just pulling this out of the air.

This site mentions "...two of Metatron's many heavenly tasks: a scribe and an advocate, defending the Nation of Israel in the heavenly court." I'd speculate advocate could be seen as intercessor/medium.

It's maybe also worth mentioning that Judaic tradition of Aggadic Midrash allows story telling that adds attributes to peripheral characters. As such, I'm happy to label Dogma as contemporary midrash. Please note: I don't have firsthand experience with Jewish culture, and so I have no idea how sacrilegious I'm being.

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I can't give you details, and I am far, far from being an expert, but your question intrigued me and I searched around online a bit. It seems that Metatron is Enoch, the long-lived ancestor of Noah (Who should also be familiar to Neal Stephenson fans).

He is apparently primarily a Kabbalistic figure. I could not find a specific passage in the few minutes I spent searching, the closest I could get is the rather obscure discussion here.

So, in answer to your question, it looks like the origin of Metatron's role as the voice of god can be found in the Kabbalistic texts. I hope someone can point us to a specific book and passage.

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