Life on the Edge

Greetings faithful reader!

Apologies for not keeping you all up-to-date. Between work, starting college again and life just taking off in completely marvelous if unforeseen ways, blogging got kicked down the priority list.

That’s lame because I really like blogging. So, it’s a new day, a new month and here is a new post for you.

I’m working on a variety of different things right now, some of which, I hope, I will make it to my humble corner of the internet. All in good time, so stay tuned. In the mean time, I had an assignment recently asking about the commanded sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 22. Here’s an excerpt from my response:

Intellectually, I think God, as creator of everything, can do anything he wants. And since all goodness is based on his unchanging nature, “anything he wants” will always be good. Therefore, anything he commands is good also. Those are the assumptions I start out with and, if we’re really honest about it, so does everyone else. I mean, what makes this story so jarring is that it seems so contrary to the God we think we know.

I guess that’s my “moral” struggle with the story: why is the immutable God doing something so out of character? That fact that God himself is pushing for this child sacrifice puts us even outside of Job territory.

At the end of the story, we see the God we think we know doing what we think he would do (stopping the child sacrifice and providing a ram and, a couple thousand years later, a Lamb). The moral struggle here is that brief period of time between when the good God who provides Abraham a son and when the good God provides a ram. It’s a relatively short period of time, but it’s bookended by the God we think we know doing what we intuitively think he ought.

2 thoughts on “Life on the Edge

  • April 11, 2013 at 11:17 am

    I always believed (probably because my Dad believes!) that Abraham was willing to sacrifice Issac (the child of promise), because he thought that maybe he was the Messiah, and God would raise him from the dead. This isn’t to discount the part that you brought up about it seeming uncharacteristic for God…but it seems possible that Abraham rationalized it that way. At any rate, he had the most incredible faith in doing exactly what God asked him to do!

    • June 23, 2013 at 1:31 pm

      Hi Janna!

      Apologies for taking 5 eons to get back to you. :-P

      You’re right (or rather your Dad is right) to say that Abraham expected God to raise him from the dead. At least, this is what the Author of Hebrews argues in Chapter 11, “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; it was he to whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your descendants shall be called.’ He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.” (Heb 11:17-19)

      I think it’s a stretch to say that Abraham thought Isaac was The Messiah, but I guess that depends on what we mean by “Messiah”. :-)

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