Saturday, August 29, 2009

Overlooking Moriah

Later on God tested Abraham; he called, “Abraham!” And Abraham answered, “Yes, I am here!”
God replied: “Take Isaac, your only son, whom you love so much, and go to Moriah. I will show you a mountain there, and on that mountain offer him as a sacrifice to me.”
Early the next morning Abraham cut some wood for the sacrifice, loaded his donkey, and took two servants and Isaac with him.
On the third day he saw the place on the horizon.
“Stay with the donkey,” he said to the servants, “Isaac and I will go there and worship, and will later join up with you.”
Isaac carried the wood, while Abraham carried the knife and live coals for the fire.
As they walked, Isaac asked: “Father, I see you have coals and the wood, but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?”

“God will provide one”, replied Abraham.
When they arrived at the place which God told him about, Abraham built the alter and arranged wood on it. He tied up Isaac and placed him on the alter.
Then he picked up the knife to kill him . . .

. . . and said “No”. The knife dropped from Abraham’s hand.

God called to Abraham, “why do you not make the sacrifice, Abraham. Have I not ordered you to do so?”
Abraham spoke up, “I cannot kill my only son, an innocent child. It is not right.”
“But Abraham,” God said, “I am the author of what is right and wrong. If I say that human sacrifice is right, then surely it is right simply because I declare it?”
“Forgive me,” replied Abraham, “but if you have no other reason for declaring something as being right or wrong, then your orders are devoid of any moral substance, because they are based on nothing more than whim.”
“Then what is your reason for not doing this act?” asked God.
“I choose not to kill him simply because I do not want to cause an innocent needless suffering. Isaac is another human being like me, and has the ability to feel pain. I do not want him to experience pain that I would not want to endure myself. How can I end a life when I value my own so highly?”
God did not reply, so Abraham continued: “Human sacrifice is an act that is destructive to society. If I do this act, I will be contributing to the destruction of my family and community.”
“But Abraham,” said God “I will punish you if you do not obey, and reward you if you do.”
Abraham said “if I act simply out of a fear of punishment or reward, then I am morally shallow. Is it not better to do something because I believe it to be right, not because I expect reward or fear punishment?”

There was silence, and Abraham braced for death.

Then God spoke up: “Well done, Abraham, you have passed the test. You have learnt an important lesson: no matter what I order you to do, you are still personally responsible for your own actions. Instead of blind obedience, you thought for yourself and evaluated the consequences of what you would do. You stood up to me, and chose a course of action because you believed it to be right, not because you wanted to please me. You have reached a higher level of moral maturity, and for that I reward you, my good and faithful servant.”

33 comments:

gls said...

I wrote something similar in college. Yours more forcefully presses the issue.

I especially like the element of personal responsibility. It's a shame the majority of theists don't...

Jordanes said...

This would be the Abraham who dialogued with God about His fiery judgment on the Sodomites, since he recognised that the Judge of the whole earth would not punish the innocent with the guilty.

There's a lot more going on the Akedah than a God arbitrarily issuing a command and demanding obedience. The Akedah is presented in Genesis as the culmination of Abraham's journey of faith. His obedience and trust expressed in that episode is the maturity of his faith, not the "blind obedience" caricatured in your retelling. If the Akedah had occurred soon after God called him in Ur of the Chaldees, it would have been blind, but by this time his faith was not a blind faith.

Take note, as the Rabbis do, that when Isaac (not a boy but a teen or even a young man) asked his father about the animal to be sacrificed, Abraham's answer was, "God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." The rabbis note that his answer can be parsed, "God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering -- my son."

"Then the two continued going forward."

Isaac understood what was about to happen, and consented. His faith too was tested.

And, of course, for Christians the answer Abraham gave is another foreshadowing of the sacrifice of Calvary, when God Himself provided the Lamb for the burnt offering, His Son.

Jordanes said...

gls, you really know that the majority of people who acknowledge God's existence don't like the element of personal responsibility?

"Is it not better to do something because I believe it to be right, not because I expect reward or fear punishment?”

Yes, it is better. Even better is to do something because it IS right, because people are often mistaken in their beliefs.

desiderius said...

The obvious logical and philosophical flaw in this fantasy is that it assumes that man (Abraham) thinks/reasons ex nihilo out of a self-generating conscience or morality. In fact, Abraham can only argue on the basis of conscience or right and wrong because he has been endowed with that very conscience by God in the first place. As one so often finds with secular arguments, there is a faulty assumption that God and humankind are two co-existent entities who both are (or should be) subject to a higher, "objective" set of moral imperatives [as defined by Western civilisation] that somehow exist of themselves. What a pity more self-confessed atheists don't read deeply in Nietzsche - they might understand the full implications of a universe without God.

CyberKitten said...

desiderius said: What a pity more self-confessed atheists don't read deeply in Nietzsche - they might understand the full implications of a universe without God.

Which are what exactly?

Anonymous said...

@cyberkitten.
That terms such as "good", "evil" and "justice" have no intrinsic meaning.

CyberKitten said...

Yes.... and the point being?

Ali P said...

"What a pity more self-confessed atheists don't read deeply in Nietzsche - they might understand the full implications of a universe without God."

As an atheist, I'm already there.

Laughing Boy said...

desiderius: Cyberkitten probably knows a thing or two about Neitzsche since he just finished writing a Masters-level dissertation on nihilism in which he expounds on one's response to life's obvious absurdity. According to his August 16th post they are:

a) Recoil in horror and run back into the arms of a comforting religion.

b) Adopt another ideological meaning to embed yourself into.

c) Commit suicide.

d) Fall into nihilistic despair, or

e) Face up to reality and, of necessity, become a hero in your own life.

Since the "reality" of e) is an ideology, I think that b) encompasses e), therefore e) is not an independent option. Also, what does "hero" mean in Absurdia?

Nevertheless you've put your finger on an important point, namely, that "objective" set of moral imperatives...that somehow exist of themselves." My most recent post attempted to address that issue in a faux-Socratic dialog. Be the first on your block to respond!

As for Kevin's original post, I completely agree with Jordanes' defense of the biblical account. Additionally, Kevin seems to think that Christians have no check on any wild statement a person makes as long as they claim it came from God. Now that (not life) is what I call absurd.

CyberKitten said...

LB said: Since the "reality" of e) is an ideology, I think that b) encompasses e), therefore e) is not an independent option.

Actually the reality I talk about is the reality of a dead universe - one without purpose, design or meaning. If we do indeed live in that reality - which I believe is the case - then we are forced by circumstance to be heroes simply to cope with that fact.

LB said: Also, what does "hero" mean in Absurdia?

Such a person is a hero because they can see the absurdity of life and transcend it by dispensing with the need or desire for the universe to have meaning despite an understanding that it has no such thing (which is the root of absurdity). Once it is recognised that the universe is simply vacuum, gas, dust and rock and nothing else - that it is in effect dead - we can reject the idea that it has any meaning and move on from this childish (though often comforting) belief and with it can reject the idea that our lives, individually or collectively, have any great cosmic significance because they don't. As such an attitude, stance or point of view is hardly conducive to a good nights sleep living a good life in those circumstances - especially without buying into the ersatz meanings of our various ideologies takes a heroic sensibility.

desiderius said...

Thanks LB. Actually, my point was not very well made - a very inadequate summation of dear old Fred W N's view.

To avoid the risk of taking my discussion too far down a Nietzschean rabbit hole, let me attempt to return to the text in question. What exercises Kevin's mind is the morality of Ab sacrificing Isaac. Thus already we have the assumption that sacrificing a human being is wrong. And this assumption is based on ...? In many ancient cultures, human and child sacrifice was acceptable - some people had to die (especially the weaker, "the inferior") to placate the diety or dieties. In fact, before we even get there, when a stronger tribe or nation subjected a weaker one, the defeated nation/tribe had no rights at all - they could be disposed of as their conquerors wished (death, slavery, forced assimilation).

Now, along comes Kevin 4000 years or so later, and makes a moral call on what was (supposedly) going on. And, in the context of what FWN teaches us about the construction of morality, why should the weak, the vulnerable have any claims over the strong? Where does the "wrongness" of what Ab might have done come from?

smithadri said...

I agree with Cyberkitten. One is forced into being one's own hero as a necessity if reality is really like that. Heroism? No. Narcissism. But can you (do you) live that?
Adrian

CyberKitten said...

Adrian said: Heroism? No. Narcissism.

You are equating heroism with narcissism?

Adrian said: But can you (do you) live that?

I think it's certainly possible - if not exactly easy. It is an aspiration rather than an easily obtainable goal. Once you have achieved the heroic mind-set it takes effort to maintain it. It is a lifelong struggle.

Am I a hero? No, I'm not. But I think I'm on the path......

smithadri said...

heroism in a self-referential world, in Absurdia as so nicely put, yes

CyberKitten said...

adrian said: heroism in a self-referential world, in Absurdia as so nicely put, yes

Why?

smithadri said...

how else can a hero be defined? it is a relative term. And without another relation, it references the self as in option(e).
dicitonary.com definition:
a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.
2. a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal: He was a local hero when he saved the drowning child.
3. the principal male character in a story, play, film, etc.
4. Classical Mythology. a. a being of godlike prowess and beneficence who often came to be honored as a divinity.
b. (in the Homeric period) a warrior-chieftain of special strength, courage, or ability.
c. (in later antiquity) an immortal being; demigod.

5. hero sandwich (!!)


I.. look up to me. Or I aspire to an 'idea' of a 'better' me which is defined by ..me.

CyberKitten said...

So.... You're saying that an acceptence of reality coupled with self-reliance, self-motivation and a desire for self-improvement are narcissistic?

You think the above are traits to be avoided or rejected?

smithadri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
smithadri said...

CyberKitten said...

So.... You're saying that an acceptence of reality coupled with self-reliance, self-motivation and a desire for self-improvement are narcissistic?


in a totally self-referential worldview I think one would end up there yes. These are relative,progressive statements, value judgements without an external reference point outside of the self. The notion of 'progress','improvement' is self-determined. And it is then totally arbitrary, from one day to the next, from one person to the next.

You think the above are traits to be avoided or rejected?

Not at all. In Absurdia it's this or despair; face up to the reality, or play pretend. So it is a 'good' choice, even necessary, to create one's own meaning. To truly create one's own meaning consistently - is this not narcissism? (narcissism not as a value judgement for now, but as a matter of fact,) In a worldview with an external reference (even just outside of oneself) these are not the only traits that are required. But to some degree they are an essential part of one's capacity to be personally responsible. Neither are they total. As a result, relationship that is not totally self-serving becomes possible.

Adrian

CyberKitten said...

Adrian said: These are relative,progressive statements, value judgements without an external reference point outside of the self.

But what about the larger culture we live in - surely that is our reference point or at least one of them. We do not develop our individual beliefs - nor our individuality - in isolation. Nor do people live that way. We are fish swimming in the ocean of culture and cannot easily or simply divorce ourselves from it.

Adrian said: The notion of 'progress','improvement' is self-determined. And it is then totally arbitrary, from one day to the next, from one person to the next.

I doubt that their are many people who fundamentally change the structure of their world views on a daily basis - and anyone who does is probably on some *serious* medication. Ideas that define who we are change over years or decades - not days. People just don't operate that way - at least the people I know and the person I believe I have become. It's taken almost 50 years to get where I am today - it's not like I thought this up yesterday and will do a 180 degree about face tomorrow.

Adrian said: In Absurdia it's this or despair; face up to the reality, or play pretend.

Basically yes - I choose facing reality. It's quite bracing actually once you get used to the idea.

Adrian said: So it is a 'good' choice, even necessary, to create one's own meaning. To truly create one's own meaning consistently - is this not narcissism?

I think very few people adopt their own meaning. Most people, in my experience, adopt other peoples meanings - its so much easier that way! Personally I don't think that life (in general) has any meaning whatsoever - over and above the many strands of meaning everyone gives to their own lives.

Laughing Boy said...

"...we are forced by circumstance to be heroes simply to cope with that fact..."

How does assessing a situation then resigning oneself to acceptance of that situation add up to heroism?

"...a person is a hero because they can see the absurdity of life and transcend it..."

Can a person label himself "heroic" simply for adopting a particular metaphysic? Are there such things as heroic thoughts or heroic points of view?

I'm also curious as to what it means to "transcend" life's absurdity. To transcend means to rise above. If life is truly meaningless and absurd then what "above" is there to rise to? It seems to me that our hero's belief that he has reached (or is reaching for) some higher level is just another form of comforting self-delusion.

CyberKitten said...

LB said: How does assessing a situation then resigning oneself to acceptance of that situation add up to heroism?

Because the situation is so apparently awful that most sensible people run away in terror at the implications. People who can face up to the cold reality that we are, in effect, completely on our own in an uncaring and indifferent universe without the need or desire to fall into the arms of comforting illusions that are fully accepted by the vast majority of humanity should be called heroes because such an ability is so rare - if it can be fully achieved at all.

LB said: Can a person label himself "heroic" simply for adopting a particular metaphysic?

Well, I regard it as adopting a clear view of reality whilst *dispensing* with the need of intervening metaphysics.

LB said: Are there such things as heroic thoughts or heroic points of view?

I believe so, yes. Surely stories of heroes throughout myth and history attest to this? Heroes have always had a different mind-set (at least while they are being heroic) that separates them from everyone else wouldn't you agree?

LB said: I'm also curious as to what it means to "transcend" life's absurdity. To transcend means to rise above. If life is truly meaningless and absurd then what "above" is there to rise to?

Absurdity - as Camus & Nagel define it (though I'm more with Camus than Nagel on this one) - is caused by the discontinuity between what we know to be true (reality) and what we hope or desire to be true (ultimate meaning). The absurd condition can be defeated - moved beyond/transcended - by the elimination of the *cause* of the discontinuity, by the elimination of the hope/desire that the universe or life has any 'ultimate' meaning.

LB said: It seems to me that our hero's belief that he has reached (or is reaching for) some higher level is just another form of comforting self-delusion.

The heroic path is far from comforting - indeed it is the *divestment* of comforting illusion rather than the opposite. The hero is not striving for anything 'higher' in the way I think you mean but seeks to appreciate and live in a universe without any ultimate meaning - whether that be theistic or secular. It is not simply a rejection of God but a rejection of any ideology that puts meaning is some mythical future or anywhere beyond the here and now - so it is also a rejection of utopian thinking both of the Right and of the Left.

Laughing Boy said...

People who can face up to the cold reality...should be called heroes because such an ability is so rare...

The problem I'm having is that nothing you've so far attributed to your "hero", including having a rare ability, matches the definition of a hero. (Superhero's are known for having rare abilities, but I assume we are not talking about comic book characters.) I think a less self-congratulatory term should be found to describe such a person. Maybe it would be helpful to re-familiarize ourselves with what a hero is.

Arland Williams, Jr. was a hero.

"He was about 50 years old, one of half a dozen survivors clinging to twisted wreckage bobbing in the icy Potomac when the first helicopter arrived. To the copter's two-man Park Police crew he seemed the most alert. Life vests were dropped, then a flotation ball. The man passed them to the others. On two occasions, the crew recalled last night, he handed away a life line from the hovering machine that could have dragged him to safety. The helicopter crew—who rescued five people, the only persons who survived from the jetliner—lifted a woman to the riverbank, then dragged three more persons across the ice to safety. Then the life line saved a woman who was trying to swim away from the sinking wreckage, and the helicopter pilot, Donald W. Usher, returned to the scene, but the man was gone."
The Washington Post, January 14, 1982

Now let's compare. On one hand we have the person who claims to be a hero due to his conviction that all existence is absurd. On the other hand we have the actions of Arland Williams.

...I regard it as adopting a clear view of reality...

Yes, and I regard it as a metaphysical position. I'd like to know how it isn't.

Heroes have always had a different mind-set (at least while they are being heroic) that separates them from everyone else wouldn't you agree?

In part, but stories of heroes are stories of deeds, not thoughts. An heroic mind-set in and of itself is just unrealized potential, which, if it remains unrealized, is, by definition, waste. Being heroic is the key. Believing that life meaningless, even if that's true, does not qualify as being heroic.

Kevin Parry said...

Jordanes wrote

There's a lot more going on the Akedah

I really appreciate your critique of my blog post. I agree with you: there is a lot more going on in terms of the actual passage. However, my post was not a statement about the passage itself (or, to answer Desiderius, on the actual culture of the time), but rather a response to the more conservative (and simplistic) interpretation that teaches that obedience is what makes a person moral. This is what I was (sadly) taught when I was younger, and the blog post is my own creative way of expressing my journey away from authoritarianism.

Desiderius wrote:
because he has been endowed with that very conscience by God in the first place

One is tempted to ask: where does God get his morality from? If I am making a philosophical mistake, are you also not guilty of the same error, by believing that God ‘thinks/reasons ex nihilo out of a self generating conscience’?

Also, if it is true that we have derived our conscience from the God of the Bible, then why does our conscience conflict with much of what God does? Our own moral conscience is repulsed by genocide and mass killing, for example, but the God of the Old Testament does not seem to have any scruples in ordering such actions.

desiderius said...

but rather a response to the more conservative (and simplistic) interpretation that teaches that obedience is what makes a person moral.

Obedience to what? Obedience to your own individual reasoning? Obedience to what some other person has told you? Obedience to some group? Obedience to a perfect God? Everyone is obeying something or someone.

One is tempted to ask: where does God get his morality from?

If God got his morality from somewhere else, the source of that morality would be God. By definition, God can only be God if he is the source of everything.

Our own moral conscience is repulsed by genocide and mass killing, for example, but the God of the Old Testament does not seem to have any scruples in ordering such actions.

To which "us" are you referring? The Soviets who murdered millions who happened to be "class enemies"? Pol Pot and company? The Nazis? Mao and his cultural revolution? The millions killed in Yugoslavia? Rwanda? The people who ordered the bombing of civilians in the Second World War? I could go on just citing examples from the 20th century. In other words, there are many cases where humans have taken it upon themselves to decide who has the right to live or die. The question is: on what grounds? Were they just?

So we come back to presuppositions. In the atheist/humanist paradigm, there is no God and/or God does not or cannot have the right of life and death over humanity. God is not "fit" to make decisions in accordance with his justice. Only humankind alone, according to its own definitions of who is "innocent", can decide who is worthy of life or death.

In the Christian paradigm, God is the creator and judge, and so he does have these rights. Furthermore, according to the Bible, "God does not delight in the death of the wicked". In fact, such is God's desire that none should perish that he allowed himself to be tortured and killed so that all might live. In other words, God paid the penalty on behalf of everyone. Thus, God is not only creator and judge but also saviour.

then why does our conscience conflict with much of what God does?

What exactly has God done recently that has got up your nose?

Laughing Boy said...

[Note: This comment was composed before, but posted after, Desiderius' and is a direct response to KP. I apologize for any redundancy, but I'm not gonna rewrite it now.]

...the more conservative (and simplistic) interpretation that teaches that obedience is what makes a person moral...

You are correct that mere obedience is not what makes a person moral. (This view is simplistic, but in what way is it conservative? If, by conservative, you mean orthodox, then it is NOT the conservative interpretation.) However, obedience towards God is the foundation for human morality because God is the ultimate foundation of morality. Obeying God makes one moral because God issues only perfectly moral precepts.

One is tempted to ask: where does God get his morality from?

From the Flying Spaghetti Monster, where else? Seriously, we've gone over this before and seemingly have made no progress, so let's try it another way. What do you think are all possible answers to that question?

CyberKitten said...

LB said: mere obedience is not what makes a person moral..... [and] However, obedience towards God is the foundation for human morality...

Yup. That makes *perfect* sense [rotflmao]

The question was raised: where does God get his morality from?

LB said: What do you think are all possible answers to that question?

God is a figment of our imagination.

Next Question.

Kevin Parry said...

LB wrote
However, obedience towards God is the foundation for human morality

Let me rephrase the question differently: does God have reasons for acting morally? Does he think first before making a moral decision? If God’s nature determines how he acts, then does he blindly follow his nature without thinking?

Desiderius wrote
The Soviets who murdered millions who happened to be "class enemies"?

How does this relate to the instances of genocide in the Bible ordered by God (which was the original point in my comment)?

The question is: on what grounds?

A very good question, and one that I’m still thinking about. But I wouldn’t appeal to religion anytime soon to provide the answer. There are many gods throughout history who preach differing moral precepts. Even Christians disagree with each on what is right and wrong, and Christians over the course of history have changed their views.

Many appeal to God as the source of morality, but no one (even theists) can fully agree on what that morality is. Is it possible that we are all, atheists and theists alike, standing on shifting sands?

Laughing Boy said...

...does God have reasons for acting morally?

I'd say there are reasons God acts morally before I'd say God has reasons for acting morally. It would follow then that God does not ponder among alternatives, at least not like we do. I would say God acts, and all his acts are in accordance with His nature which is perfect, and thus perfectly moral. Can this be rephrased as God "blindly following His own nature without thinking"? Maybe. Of course when a human being blindly follows his own nature without thinking it's not a compliment nor is the outcome guaranteed to be positive—unless you believe Ayn Rand. When that being is God I think the rules, or at least the process, changes. Why? Because when we (human beings) think about possible courses of action, we are trying to pull together whatever intellectual resources we have at hand to make what we hope is the best choice. Thinking, for us, then, is simply processing (limited) information about a set of (uncertain) possible outcomes. What becomes of thinking if the thinker has unlimited information and certainty regarding outcomes? Perhaps something like this:

When you notice an object approaching your eye you instinctively shut your eyes and turn your head to protect them. In such a case do you blindly follow your nature without thinking? Pretty close to it, I'd say. Does that mean that this action was somehow inferior to one you pondered for a couple hours? What if God instinctively acts morally in a similar way? Would the negative connotation of "blindly following His own nature without thinking" be warranted?

desiderius said...

How does this relate to the instances of genocide in the Bible ordered by God (which was the original point in my comment)?

The point is that all people do not have the same sense of what is right and wrong and that even if they do, it doesn't prevent them from acting against it.

Many appeal to God as the source of morality, but no one (even theists) can fully agree on what that morality is. Is it possible that we are all, atheists and theists alike, standing on shifting sands?

In an atheistic paradigm there are no grounds on which to build a system of morality that is universally applicable other than what can be deduced from biological and physiological observation - and in that regard what can be deduced is not very encouraging: nature, after all, is "red in tooth and claw". Otherwise one is driven to conclude, as Nietzsche did, that each individual must create his or her own system of morality/ethics, but such a system cannot be held to be objectively valid for all people.

You are correct in concluding that not all theists are singing from the same hymn sheet. They are not and cannot. Not every religion can be right in what it says about God, unless there are multiple gods or "God" has multiple personality disorder.

Attempts to force non-Christians to adhere to Christian moral precepts is absurd and wrong. It makes a mockery of what the Bible teaches about grace and faith, among other things.

Anders Branderud said...

Kevin Parry,
You wrote: “One is tempted to ask: where does God get his morality from? If I am making a philosophical mistake, are you also not guilty of the same error, by believing that God ‘thinks/reasons ex nihilo out of a self generating conscience’?”

In my blog (bloganders.blogspot.com ;left menu) I have an article that proves the existence of an Intelligent Creator and His purpose of humankind using formal logic (i.e. a rational proof) and science.

The Perfect,Intelligent and non-dimensional (proved in my blog) Creator independent of time-space: His consciousness if independent of time-space. Your term “self generating conscience” assumes the Creator is dependent of time-space.

Jordanes and other Christians: I recommend the page www.netzarim.co.il
It contains essential research about the first century Ribi Yehoshua (the Messiah) from Nazareth.

Anders Branderud

blake said...

Hi Kevin,

It's sort of like the time when the Lord told Moses he was going to destroy all of Isreal for making a golden calf... and Moses pleaded with the Lord not to... and He changed His mind. With this difference, that in the real story with Abraham at Moriah, it was the Lord who told Abraham to stop. It's an interesting thing to tell a chap at that time period though. Think about it: Abraham was this summerian guy, living in a culture of household gods where human sacrifice was a regular thing. People did it all the time, and at another place it says (paraphrased), "I (the Lord) never asked such things of you (child sacrifice to molech), nor did I ever imagine doing so." Think of what a cultural taboo that was for a household God to shout "NO! this is a great evil!" in the middle of the ritual? This is no ordinary household god? In the end the Lord did provide another sacrifice... (and probably made some private point to Abraham about trusting him for answers, rather than coming up with his own (ex: sleeping with the servant instead of his wife to produce the promised offspring). Anyhow, I think that our desire to do what is right, that sense of "ought" is something we are all responsible for, you're absolutely right... though just as the Lord raised up Noah to be an intercessor to take that responsibility, and save them from destruction, He put Himself down here and bore the brunt of our failed responsibility... on Himself. He doesn't ever excuse it, or give us an easy out from consequences... he just says that it's been paid for. (Not cheap, just free if we trust). Even in the later scriptures, the post AD ones, one of the main themes is that your belief is meaningless if you're not doing what you know is right. Anyhow, I appreciate your thoughts... it's something all christians and people need to live conscious of... and thanks for your blog (just found it) it's good to even consider truth and right and wrong in an era where the concepts are simply, not to be spoken of it seems... more and more.

timvictor said...

Kevin,

Nicely written. I like the way you highlight personal responsibility and relational responsibility - where both God and Abraham are involved in determining what is right.