Abraham, Isaac, and a Skeptic

In 1 Corinthians 2:14, the Apostle Paul asserts: “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

I recently read an article about Genesis 22 and Abraham’s near sacrifice of his son, Isaac. The author is a self-designated “skeptic,” and the article suggests that buried underneath the biblical account is an older, more authentic account, in which Abraham goes through with the sacrifice of his son. Speculation, not scholarship, fuels such suggestions, and articles like this occasionally surface, usually claiming that some ancient fragment of text, recently unearthed, may overturn previously held beliefs. The “evidence” rarely amounts to more than bald speculation.

This particular skeptic’s desire to find scraps of such evidence to bolster and justify his pre-existing unbelief was not, however, what fascinated me about the article. Rather the conclusion he drew testified to his blindness. He claimed that “people are willing to worship a god no matter how morally abhorrent.”

Ponder that for a moment. He acknowledges that in the biblical account God stays Abraham’s hand and provides for him a sacrifice in place of Isaac. To this skeptic, that God is “morally abhorrent.” He almost takes giddy delight in the notion that an older version of the story makes Abraham sacrifice Isaac, for it “takes a pretty despicable tale and makes it worse.” A despicable tale?

That supposedly despicable tale is nothing less than the Good News that God himself will provide the sacrifice necessary to cover your sin. It is the story of a God who is willing to kill his own Son that you and your son might live.

But spiritual things are spiritually discerned, and the blind man sees only night, even when the noonday sun is shining in his face. If the story of a God who will save your son at the expense of his own is a “despicable tale” then it maybe it is not God who is “morally abhorrent.” Maybe the darkness is in you.

2 thoughts on “Abraham, Isaac, and a Skeptic

  1. Unfortunately, “self-designated ‘skeptic’” in the Christian realm is often a cover for God-hater. We are seeing a lot of this type of euphemistic cover in politics these days as well, but that is another subject.
    One’s enemies are eager to misinterpret one’s words and actions, despite a more natural and favorable interpretation that takes into account the context, in this case, Jesus’ substitutionary death on the cross (for those with the type of faith Abraham exhibited).
    Abraham’s answer to Isaac’s question “where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” (Gen. 22.7b) was doubly prophetic. “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son” (Gen. 22:8), which he did at the time in the form of “a ram caught in the thicket by his horns,” (Gen. 22:13b) and 2,000 years later in the form of his only begotten son Jesus, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29b)
    God sent Abraham on a three-day journey to Mount Moriah for the sacrifice, which is thought to be the location of the Temple in Jesus’ day and not far from Golgotha, the place of his crucifixion. Not surprisingly, modern-day “skeptics” interpret Jesus’ voluntary death on the cross for our sins as “cosmic child abuse.” Whereas, Jesus himself plainly said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
    Impugning God’s character in the name of skepticism or for any other reason is a risk not worth taking, “for our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:29)

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