Sunday 29 May 2011

McGrath on the Akedah

The Akedah is the incident involving Abraham, Isaac and a lethal knife. James McGrath makes some worthwhile observations.
Isn’t it time to stop attempting to harmonize what’s in the Bible, and allow that greatest of Biblical principles, the Golden Rule, to trump, invalidate, and expose as wrong those parts of the Bible that run counter to it? If we ask “What would Jesus do?”, surely the evidence from the sayings attributed to him in the New Testament suggest that he would allow one passage to override another, just as he allowed humanitarian concerns to take priority over the command to rest on the sabbath. Shouldn’t those who wish to call themselves Jesus’ followers approach the Bible in the same way?


  1. Isn't that how Islam works with the Koran?

  2. There are many vantage points from which to evaluate the Akedah. It is, after all, in the pre-Old Covenant Old Testament, the era, which Bono, U-2 and BB King would call "before love came to town."
    Love for God during that era was considered on a higher plane that love for fellow man. Jesus demonstrated that love for fellow man was one of the ways through which we show our love for God.

    There is also much symbolism involved in what Abraham was commanded to do with his son, and what God actually did do with His own Son, for the benefit of humanity.

    Observant Jewish people have always been able to see God's love throughout the Torah and in the Psalms. Josephus is not the least example of such an observant Jew.


  3. " the pre-Old Covenant Old Testament ... "before love came to town."

    Well, Bob, you've just demonstrated my point nicely about the error of preaching an "unloving Judaic God," thank you. I will refer you back to the verses I cited, above, in defence of your egregious blasphemy against God the Father, and I will reiterate once again, to call Christ's Living Father unloving, is tantamount to rejecting the very relevant verse, "For God so loved the world...." I'm sure you can complete the rest.

    Question is, do you understand that verse? Do you understand the relation of the Akedah, to that verse?

    Because, if you reject "the Old Testament God" as being "unloving" then you have to reject the fact that He sent His first-begotten Son to the earth, as a sacrifice for the redemption of the sins of all who have ever lived, or died, as foreshadowed by the request made of Abraham, faithful to God.

    Which was the point I was making. Which you have demonstrated ably, which only reinforces the poisonous attitude that professing Christianity engenders, in openly rejecting/blaspheming God the Living Father, and the magnitude of thr the sacrifice of His Son, our High Priest, after the order of Melchizedek.

  4. But, but, but!

    I thought that Jesus Christ -- that sweet loving nice guy with the temper who overturned the changer tables in the temple and had such harsh words for the Scribes and Pharisees -- was the God of the Old Testament.

    Are you saying he's bipolar or something?

  5. By the by, the stark black-and-white contrast between "wrathful Jehovah and gentle Jesus" was a later invention by Marcion, at least according to Bart Ehrman:

    "To make sense of this initial attempt to establish the canon, we need to know a bit about Marcion's distinctive teaching. Marcion was completely absorbed by the life and teachings of the apostle Paul, whom he[Marcion] considered to be the one "true" apostle from the early days of the church. In some of his[Paul's] letters, such as Romans and Galatians, Paul had taught that a right standing before God came only by faith in Christ, not by doing any of the works prescribed by Jewish law. [That's not what Romans actually says, but bear with Bart for a moment, he's getting to the good bit.]

    Marcion took the differentiation between the law of the Jews and faith in Christ to what he saw as its logical [extremist/fundamentalist] conclusion, that there was an absolute distinction between the law on the one hand, and the gospel, on the other. So distinct were the law and the gospel, in fact, that both could not possibly have come from the same God. [Emphasis mine; but both did come from the same God; the Marcionite heresy is just what the great false church presently operates under.] ....

    [Marcion concluded] There were, in fact, two different Gods [Well, that breaks the Second Commandment pretty conclusively, now doesn't it?]: The God of the Jews, who created the world, called Israel to be His people, and gave them his harsh law; and the God of Jesus, who sent Christ into the world to save people from the wrathful vengeance of the Jewish creator God." -- pp. 33 - 34, "Misquoting Jesus" by Bart Ehrman.

    Even the burgeoning Constantinian Church had problems with that obviously twisted worldview; but it is, alas, the same sad worldview that professing fundamentalist Christianity in this day and age, holds fast to.