Thursday, 14 January 2021

Abraham differed from the other men of his day by one attribute

I am part of an online group of people following the Ascention Chronological Bible in a Year (Fr Mike Schmitz's) podcast together. 

On that group, I was seeing quite a few posts by people shocked at the immoral actions of the early bible figures, as though we were reading about Christ instead. 

Abraham differed from the other men of his day by one attribute, he had faith. He and the others involved are known for this. They sin, they go astray, they make mistakes and engage in acts which by the Law of Moses or later law of Christianity, which is a higher bar even than that, would be sinful.

We are reading about flawed human beings, not Butler's Lives of Saints. God had to create the state of Israel and interact with it for thousands of years to even prepare the soil of the Earth for Christ to appear. It was long and hard work for God to even get humanity to that stage. 

I think it important that we take the position that we are listening to the bible to learn from it, not to judge its characters through a modern lens.

For instance, when Abraham was about to kill his adult son as a sacrifice to God, seemingly with the son not resisting, despite being able to, was he attempting murder? God punishes various Old Testament figures for not killing God's enemies when ordered to, for instance King Saul, and feels those who kill on his orders to be righteous. What is right or wrong is dependant on what God deems to be right or wrong. God showed not only that he would send his own son to die for us via the incident with Abraham and his son, but also that he was not a God of human sacrifice. A scapegoat was provided, to take the place of the human being, just as God becomes a scapegoat for our sins.

I have always seen the early parts of the Old Testament as God showing why his rules are what they are. As moral lessons as seen in the behaviour people adopt and the consequences for them and others. I have also always seen it as God showing the importance of faith before he teaches us his rules for living. Those rules are for and from faith.

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