Re: Abraham

jeffery lynn mullins (
Wed, 10 Apr 1996 09:18:13 -0400 (EDT)

On Tue, 9 Apr 1996, Paul Arveson wrote:

> In message <> jeffery
> lynn mullins writes:
> > On Mon, 8 Apr 1996, Bill Hamilton wrote:
> >
> > > Glenn has raised an important question:
> > > "If the Bible is not a historical document, why should we believe it?"
> > > [loose paraphrase] Glenn reasons that actual experiences establish the
> > > credibility of Scripture:
> > >
> > > "I agree with you. God is the basis for Biblical authority. But part of the
> > > authority for the Bible must come from the fact that it is TRUE in a
> > > metaphysical and empirical sense. You can see what I mean by looking at how
> > > God has dealt with mankind. God expects faith from us, but it is not a
> > > faith divorced from events in our lives. "Consider Abraham: He believed God
> > > and it was credited to him as righteousness." NIV Galatians 3:6. What did
> > > Abraham believe? That Abraham would have an heir. This actually did occur
> > > in history and in Abrahams lifetime. The fulfillment justified Abraham's
> > > faith. But do you think that if Sarah had died, and Abraham reached his
> > > deathbed and there were no heirs, do you think Abraham would still have
> > > beleived God during the final few weeks or days of his life?"
> > >
> > > Of course it's really difficult to argue by considering what Abraham would
> > > have done in a hypothetical circumstance. Still, some Biblical figures
> > > experienced nothing but disappointment their entire lives. Not one person
> > > listened to Jeremiah. Yet he is recognized in the "Hall of Faith" in
> > > Hebrews 11 (My understanding is that Jeremiah was the one who was sawn in
> > > two, according to tradition) A number of prophets received the promise of
> > > Jesus Christ and prophesied His coming, yet never saw Him in their
> > > lifetimes.
> > > Granted: if Isaac had never been born, Abraham would have rightfully had
> > > real problems. But Isaac was born. The larger context of Abraham's belief
> > > is that he believed that the Savior would come from his progeny, and He
> > > believed that promise even though it referred to an event many years in the
> > > future.
> > >
> I can hardly believe that you scholars discussed the story of Abraham and
> failed to mention the test of faith that Abraham himself underwent. He was
> ordered by God to sacrifice Isaac, to "cut off his heir". We don't have to ask
> "what if"; we know what Abraham did in this circumstance. He obeyed. He
> believed that God could resolve this cognitive dissonance, this
> "counterevidence". (Heb. 11:19).
> The text of Genesis itself does not describe the thoughts that must have gone
> through Abraham's mind in this experience. So Kierkegaard fills them in for us,
> in Fear and Trembling. Read it, positivists!
> Paul Arveson, Research Physicist
> (301) 227-3831 (W) (301) 227-1914 (FAX) (301) 816-9459 (H)
> Code 724, NSWC, Bethesda, MD 20084
The above was ascribed to me, but it is a dialog between Bill Hamilton
and Glenn Morton to which I replied to a small part of what Bill wrote,
and what I wrote is not included in the above. However, I would like to
know who is being called a positivist and why. Is it a positivist stance
to stand against the blind leap of faith with no object that Kierkegaard


P.S. I think that Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac because he knew that
God would raise him from the dead, because God promised that a nation
would come from Isaac and from this seed would come blessings to the
nations, and God had always been faithful. Faith is based upon the
experience or knowledge of the past trustworthiness of God; it is not
blind, and it is not a metaphysical force.