1. Joined
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    19 Jul '11 11:53
    In Genesis we have this accounting of the actions of Abraham:

    After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.’ So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt-offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.’ Abraham took the wood of the burnt-offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, ‘Father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ He said, ‘The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?’ Abraham said, ‘God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt-offering, my son.’ So the two of them walked on together.

    When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.’ And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt-offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place ‘The Lord will provide’; as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.’

    The angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, ‘By myself I have sworn, says the Lord: Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you, and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.’ So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beer-sheba; and Abraham lived at Beer-sheba.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Now, most will fixate on the actions of Abraham in this story, saying that is is a testament to his faith. *yawn* Ok - if you want to dwell on humans and their actions at the exclusion of God, then go right ahead. This story, however, is more about God and His actions than anything else.

    Let's look at the events here - God asks Abraham to sacrifice a son. Abraham sets about doing so. That Abraham would do what God is asking is not the important part of this tale; in fact, it's not the least bit interesting. Ho-hum...people do what God asks. BORING. Dude - many before you and after you are going to do what God asks...so that can't be the point here. You'd never know it, if you endured yet another silly sermon on the supposed faith meaning behind this story.

    So let's look closer, at the interesting stuff. Isn't it interesting that God commands Abraham to sacrifice his son and then we don't hear from God after that?? Seriously. Dude has angels on hand afterwards. For being a hands-on God when it comes to ordering people around, God is sure hands-off when it comes to slicing and dicing the kidlets. Hey, I can't be bothered with that unimportant crap - better send an angel to deal with it blah blah blah blah.

    I feel sorry for the angel. Dude has no clue that Abraham is fully intent on doing Friday the 13th on Issac. OMG! Judgement call here! Fricken hell! The Angel calls off the horror show and everyone is ok until Muslims and Jews decide to square off forever. How nice.

    The bottom line is that this is not a story about a person, it's a story about God - God the way the ancient Jews viewed God. God asks Abraham to Kill his son, and then brings in the angel to call it off at the last moment. Why? It's because God has no idea what Abraham is going to do. God has not a clue that the fool is going to follow through on the horror show he intends upon his son - so, an angel is there for damage control just in case stupid ass goes through with it.

    This story is about God. God doesn't pre-plan what we do; doesn't know what we're going to actually do, even if there's a direct order to do something as nutty as kill your son. This is a story about how God behaves, and the OT and NT is full of stories that back this up...you just gotta read it, instead of bringing your pre-conceived crap to the story and imposing your little horror show upon The Scriptures.
  2. Subscribersonhouse
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    19 Jul '11 13:46
    Originally posted by Badwater
    In Genesis we have this accounting of the actions of Abraham:

    After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.’ So Abraham rose early i ...[text shortened]... ceived crap to the story and imposing your little horror show upon The Scriptures.
    My take on it: Old Abe accidentally downed a magic mushroom, story ensues from there.
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    19 Jul '11 13:50
    Beware of some people's exegesis. It may mean "Exit Jesus".
  4. Hmmm . . .
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    19 Jul '11 15:271 edit
    Originally posted by Badwater
    In Genesis we have this accounting of the actions of Abraham:

    After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.’ So Abraham rose early i ceived crap to the story and imposing your little horror show upon The Scriptures.
    There are (as you know) alternative Jewish readings (Judaism allows for—in fact, in general, insists upon—multivariate readings). I have treated a couple of them at some length in the past, but will just mention them here.

    (1) The first one is basically the same as yours. Abraham failed the “test”. This is not the righteous Abraham who argued forcefully with God over Sodom. No righteous person would obey a command for such a sacrifice, even if given by God. And God wanted Abraham to refuse. [I first heard this reading from a reform rabbi; but without your interesting “spin” from the absent God…nice!]

    (2) There is an interesting interplay in the Hebrew between elohim—which literally is “gods”, though Jews early seem also to have rendered it in the singular to refer to the one god—and YHVH. In this reading, Abraham initially committed an error by listening to the command by ha’elohim to make the sacrifice, but in the end obeyed the right voice (angel), that of YHVH—and precisely that was his act of faith: to refuse (as a tribal leader) to make a horrid sacrifice (that may) have been common with the people among whom he lived. Abraham in the end, did not withhold his son from the God of life (rather than the the god(s) who commanded his death). [I forget where I first came across this reading.]

    In both these readings, the story is one that stands against human sacrifice, which seems to be how Jews have generally always seen it (at least, based on my studies). There is a third version that I know, from the kabbalah, that is a more complicated play on the elohim/YHVH tension. It seems to me that I have come across another one, but it escapes me just now.

    In any event, there are also any number of permutations—again, Judaism generally abhors the “idolatry of the one right meaning”.

    Hope all is well with you and yours!
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    19 Jul '11 20:432 edits
    Originally posted by Badwater
    [This story is about God. God doesn't pre-plan what we do; doesn't know what we're going to actually do, even if there's a direct order to do something as nutty as kill your son. This is a story about how God behaves, and the OT and NT is full of stories that back this up...you just gotta read it, instead of bringing your pre-conceived crap to the story and imposing your little horror show upon The Scriptures.[/b]
    From a Christian perspective there are obvious parallels with God sacrificing his Son on the cross. The larger question then becomes, are the two related?

    I reject your presumption that God did not know what Abraham would do. In fact, I think he knew. Throughout the Bible God works through only one type of person which are those who exercise faith in him. Just because God may know what are actions will be does not negate the fact that he seeks our will to be in line with his own before he will work in our lives. After all, if God gave us free will, why then would he take it away by ignoring it or forcing us into a particular action? You might even say that faith from succeeding generations builds upon itself. Case in point is the fall of man. God chose one man to exercise his faith in him. Then that faith gave birth to a nation as more of his offspring exercised their faith in God. Then that nation gave birth to the Savior of all mankind as some exercised their faith in God etc. Then God moved from reaching out to just one man, from just one nation, to the entire world. As the scriptures correctly state, through one man the entire world will someday be blessed.

    And so this is my view of faith in God. Faith in God is simply seeking the will of God and proceeding to obey. Throughout the Bible faith is equated with righteousness. In other words, only God is righteous, so it is only when we are observing his will do we become righteous. Christ described faith as a mustard seed which is one of the smallest, if not the smallest, seeds in existence. Then it develops into a massive plant. However, the process is not mutually exclusive. Everything is contained in that seed and proceeds from one growth to the other.

    I would also agree with visted in that it is a mistake to think that there is only one meaning here and can only be taken one way. One thing is for sure, however, and that is the scripture makes one reevaluate our knowledge of God. Just when you think you know everything there is to know about him, that is the time to be very, very concerned. 😀
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    19 Jul '11 20:481 edit
    Originally posted by jaywill
    Beware of some people's exegesis. It may mean "Exit Jesus".
    I think we have heard from an atheist exegenesis, and then a Jewish one, and then a Christian one. Are there any others?
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    19 Jul '11 20:55
    Originally posted by jaywill
    Beware of some people's exegesis. It may mean "Exit Jesus".
    Why one would force Jesus upon a story that has nothing to do with Jesus is curious, but to each their own.
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    19 Jul '11 20:55
    Originally posted by whodey
    I think we have heard from an atheist exegenesis, and then a Jewish one, and then a Christian one. Are there any others?
    Maybe here?

    http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Contrad/MusTrad/sacrifice.html

    or

    http://www.muslim.org/islam/sacrifice.htm
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    19 Jul '11 20:58
    Originally posted by whodey


    I reject your presumption that God did not know what Abraham would do. ...
    This isn't the only accounting of God not knowing what a person or persons might do, and this story and others would seem to not back your presumption. What you are referring to as my presumption is nothing of the kind - I am presuming nothing, just reading the story.
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    19 Jul '11 21:05
    My only questoin is, why do people bring up the story of Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son in order to bash the God of the Bible when nothing happened to him? What is much more horrific is what happened to the Son of God.

    Isaiah 53:2 "For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground he has no form nor comeliness, and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquanted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgement, and who will declare his generaton? For he was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

    And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him, he had put him to grief; when you will make his soul an offering for sin, he will see his seed, he will prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord will prosper in his hand.

    He will see the travail of his soul, and will be satisfied, by his knowledge will my righteous servant justify many, for he will bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he will divide the spoil with the strong, because he has poured out his soul unto death, and he was numbered with the transgressors, and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."


    Of course, being a Christian my exegenesis of this is that the person in question is Jesus Christ. Even if you disagree the gospels speak in much more graphic detail as to what happened to Christ at the hand of God.

    I would like to hear others exegenesis of this scripture written thousands of years before the time of Christ. Who exacly is this holy man whom God wishes to basically torture for our benefit if not Jesus?
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    19 Jul '11 21:09
    Originally posted by Badwater
    This isn't the only accounting of God not knowing what a person or persons might do, and this story and others would seem to not back your presumption. What you are referring to as my presumption is nothing of the kind - I am presuming nothing, just reading the story.
    Which scripture in particular leads you to believe that God did not know what Abraham's response would be?
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    19 Jul '11 21:14
    Originally posted by Badwater
    Why one would force Jesus upon a story that has nothing to do with Jesus is curious, but to each their own.
    Why would you discount it? Again, looking at scripture in only one light is a mistake in my opinion.
  13. Standard memberRJHinds
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    19 Jul '11 21:55
    Originally posted by Badwater
    In Genesis we have this accounting of the actions of Abraham:

    After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.’ So Abraham rose early i ...[text shortened]... ceived crap to the story and imposing your little horror show upon The Scriptures.
    If this is the way you apply exegesis, then you need to take some logic
    classes and forget about the exegesis.
  14. Subscribersonhouse
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    20 Jul '11 02:01
    Originally posted by whodey
    Which scripture in particular leads you to believe that God did not know what Abraham's response would be?
    If god is omniscient, it already knew the outcome of that little experiment in horror and therefore would not have needed to do it in the first place. If it did not, it is not omniscient. Take your pick.
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    20 Jul '11 03:33
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    If god is omniscient, it already knew the outcome of that little experiment in horror and therefore would not have needed to do it in the first place. If it did not, it is not omniscient. Take your pick.
    If you were all powerful and all knowing, what would keep your interest? Have you ever played tic tac toe with yourself?

    The best case scenerio to garnish even a little bit of interest would be to create a thing called "free will". In other words, you CHOOSE to relinquish control over the will of human beings. Otherwise, all creation would simply be an extention of your hand.

    Naturally, this causes problems, but there is no getting around these problems. After all, if are able to choose to ignore an all perfect and all knowing and all benevolent being, what are we choosing? In addition, if no one ever chooses to go their own way, did humanity ever really have a choice to begin with?
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