Sunday, March 08, 2009

God's ways are not man's ways.

In the light of the New Testament we know God asks Abraham to give nothing he is not willing to give himself, for love of us God gives his only Son, we know the end of the story, we know about the angel appearing, we know about the lamb, the ram caught by a "crown of thorns" in the thorn bush. We see its Christological significance, it prefigures the Lamb who will take away the sins of the World. But the story of Abraham is monstrous, it should revolt us. It is inhuman it demonstrates nothing about what we understand about love.
God's ways are not our ways, God is incomprehensible, we cannot understand him.
The story of the Transfiguration is equally incomprehensible, the disciples do not understand, Peter babbles about tents, the disciples do not understand. God's ways are not our ways. Though faith is rational we can never understand God, except insofar as he reveals himself.
The response to God is always one of trusting obedience.
Yet Jesus say, "I will not leave you orphans", to the Apostles he says, "he who listens to you listens to me", he sends the Apostles into the world, saying,"Go.... teach all nations...". It is the duty of the Church to teach and our duty to allow ourselves to be taught. God's ways are not man's ways.


alban said...

For Christians, the Christological significance of the story of Abraham and Isaac is strong, and I'm glad it is mentioned in the post.

However, for the Jews, the point of the story is that, (unlike other 'gods') Adonai did not want the sacrifice of first-born sons as a sign of fidelity. The drama of Abraham and Isaac was a real development in the Semitic understanding of God. It is truly revelation.

As you say, God's ways are not our ways. I believe it was Augustine who said that even in heaven our knowledge of God will stop short of the exhaustable for all eternity. Quite mind-boggling.

Ottaviani said...

The top painting looks awfully strange - did they really have polished knife holders in the days of Abraham? And what is poor Issac being slaughtered on?

Mari said...

The story of Abraham is very strong and with great faith.

Michael Petek said...

Ottaviani, there's nothing strange about the painting. Mediaeval and Renaissance religious art usually depicts biblical characters in mediaeval/Renaissance clothing, as it wasn't known how people dressed in ancient times, as we know today.

The bit about tents: evidently it was the Feast of Tabernacles.

gemoftheocean said...

In modern times, child protective would be called! [ ;-D ]

Ottaviani said...

Michael - I was not reffering to the clothes but if you look to the right-hand corner, you can see a kitchen knife holder - the sort that you would get from IKEA. I seriously doubt that the Swedes were around to provide such utensils to Abraham!

George said...

Ottaviani - I was thinking exactly the same myself - you took the keyboard from under my fingertips!

I would go further and say that the woodblock effect worksurface is straight out of an MFI showroom.

Thank goodness the story ends on a happy note.