"Likeness" in Hebrews and Genesis: Hierarchy?
Yesterday, I suggested that "likeness" (ὁμοιότητα) in Hebrews 7:15 and "likened" in Hebrews 7:3 (ἀφωμοιωμένος) imply hierarchical relationships:
Hebrews 7:15, which refers to Jesus as a priest "in the likeness of Melchizedek" (κατὰ τὴν ὁμοιότητα Μελχισέδεκ) . . . . would appear to set up a hierarchical relationship, in which the one (Jesus) who is likened to the other (Melchizedek) is also therefore subordinated to him, as the likeness is to the original . . . . Hebrews 7:3 . . . states of Melchizedek that he is "likened to the Son of God" (ἀφωμοιωμένος . . . τῷ υἱῷ τοῦ θεοῦ), which sets up the same sort of hierarchical distinction, except that this time, Melchizedek is the one being subordinated, namely, to the Son of God.I then noted:
But this sets up a circular hierarchical comparison in which Jesus is subordinated to Melchizedek, who is subordinated to God's Son, of whom Jesus is the incarnate manifestation.And I asked:
Is the author of Hebrews using "likeness" (ὁμοιότητα) and "likened" (ἀφωμοιωμένος) in special senses, not to compare two figures in a hierarchical arrangement but to imply an identity?I don't yet have an answer to that, but a recent visitor to the blog, "Scott," has asked:
Is there a difference in the Greek or Hebrew for the word "likeness" as used in Genesis or Hebrews and how it is used in Ezekiel like 1:10?The Genesis use had been on my mind, for the hierarchical sense is clearly present there in Genesis 1:26, and I'll post the Hebrew (Masoretic text) and Greek (Septuagint) versions along with the English:
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likenessThe Hebrew for "likeness" is demut (דמות) and the Greek is homoiosin (ὁμοίωσιν). The Greek is more useful for our purposes, and the term appears in the expression "according to (the) likeness," or kath' homoiosin (καθ᾽ ὁμοίωσιν). Although the three words for "likeness" are slightly different (though kath' [καθ᾽] and kata [κατὰ] are the same word), they have the same root, and the parallel to the expressions in Hebrews 7:15 and 7:3 is fairly strong, and there's undoubtedly a hierarchy in the Genesis verse, for mankind is clearly subordinate to God.
וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים נַֽעֲשֶׂה אָדָם בְּצַלְמֵנוּ כִּדְמוּתֵנוּ
καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεός ποιήσωμεν ἄνθρωπον κατ᾽ εἰκόνα ἡμετέραν καὶ καθ᾽ ὁμοίωσιν
This doesn't resolve the issue in Hebrews as to whether the writer there was using "likeness" in a special sense of identity, for Genesis rather strongly implies a distinction essential to the hierarchy. The puzzle of the circular hierarchical arrangement of Jesus (as incarnate Son of God) to Melchizedek to the Son of God remains.
As for Ezekiel 1:10, it uses the same Hebrew and Greek as Genesis 1:26, but I can't see that it helps with the query about hierarchy.