The Back and the Face of God

  • Luigino Bruni
Part of the Virtues and Economics book series (VIEC, volume 4)


Moses has the extraordinary privilege to see God. But he saw just YHWH’s back, not the face. The presence of God in the world is in his goodness, in the goods that he gives us, in the ‘milk and honey’ of his – our land, in all his gift-and-creation. So, the only true exercise of those in search of the “face” and presence of God in the world is to be able to recognize it in his goods, but without transforming them into a god. Idolatries are always in front of us because in the goods of the world (people, things) there really is something divine – the contemplation of the Bible is a great help for those who do not want to commit this fatal mistake. Idolatry is easy because we prefer the great pyramids to the small and fragile mobile tents, and we like the gods that we can use and possess. That different God instead shows himself to us while passing fast, putting a hand over our eyes, rushing across our tent. All ‘tents of the meeting’ scattered over this world tell us about a real presence of God and not of an idol if they manage to cherish an absence in the pain-and-desire of waiting without wanting to fill it with the easy presence of idols. The access to the good mystery of life is a void of faces in an abundance of words.

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luigino Bruni
    • 1
  1. 1.GEPLI Department – EconomicsLibera Università Maria SS. AssuntaRomaItaly

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