Wednesday, January 24, 2007

My first essay on Gen 22... Decided it was no good for my purposes... Too cheeky. Too unfocused...

Please don't steal!!

Genesis 22: The Testing of Abraham

"Abraham! Abraham! ... Do not lay your hand on the boy. ... Do not do the least thing to him. I know now how devoted you are to God since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son." The Lord's messenger has thus prevented, as I cannot help but feel, murder. When reading Genesis 22, despite Abraham being a peerless example of one following everything the Lord may require, all I can think is that Abraham must be following so blindly to be willing to bind and raise a knife to slaughter his only son. It might wrong to say such things, as Abraham is truly a great follower of the Lord to be willing to go to such lengths. If such a thing were ever asked of me, I would surely fail, for who can murder their child in cold blood on the word of God? (Unless, of course, the child is in the “terrible two” stage or in the throes of the hellish right of passage known as middle school. Then, perhaps, it would be quite easy.) Conceivably, Abraham may have trusted (or hoped) that the Lord would not really have him sacrifice Isaac, on account of the Lord promised that Isaac would be the one from which Abraham's most numerous descendants would come. Here, I say look to Iphigenia, daughter of Agamemnon: sacrifice to the gods. There was no wind for the Achaean fleet to cross over to Troy, as Poseidon was rooting for Troy. Sacrifice Iphigenia, says Poseidon, and you'll get you're wind. Agamemnon tricks his daughter in to meeting him. Iphigenia is sacrificed and, Poseidon bound to his promise, Agamemnon gets his wind. No angels came swiftly to save this poor girl from becoming a sacrifice. One might be a bit wary in trusting God, a god, the gods, to intervene before the slaughtering began. After all, the gods might be serious.

In modern times, one who might claim that the Lord God directed him to sacrifice his only child, such a person would surely be taken away from any reach of children. Normally, these people are quite delusional. We can look at many instances of a person murdering their child and it brings to mind, whom would do such a thing? Isaac, as he is still alive and well, would be removed from the home by the DSS, barring future evaluation. Though Sarah is still there to care for him, she did nothing to stop Abraham, the DSS would counter.

In Genesis 22, I see Abraham as pure in heart and righteous of spirit, but logically blind. I suppose such a faith has nothing to do with logic, and the parts that really matter are the pure heart and righteous spirit. However, I cannot simply reconcile the fact that he was willing to murder his child because the Lord God said he must with someone of such commendable faith. Many see this as a supreme act of disciple-ship; I see blind faith.

Gen 22 New American Bible

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