FAQ: How can God be loving when Abraham is tricked into thinking God wants him to kill his only child?
We must understand that what we read in the book of Genesis comes from a religion and culture which is at its early stages of growing into a relationship with God. What Genesis recounts can be difficult and confusing for us who have the benefit of having heard the message of Christ communicated through the New Testament and the Church. The passage recounting how Abraham is asked to sacrifice his son Isaac is disturbing and appalling to us because we know the nature of God through Christ. We know God as One who is loving and life-giving. Abraham did not know Christ as we do and so experienced his relationship with God differently. This is not because God was different, but rather that Abraham did not have the benefit of knowing the fullness of God. As a result Abraham experienced God’s call to trust in His promise as a severe test. In the book of Genesis we encounter the relationship between God and Abraham from Abraham’s point of view and experience. Even at this primitive stage of humanity’s relationship with God, Abraham learns that God does not want his son to die, but rather it is God who will provide the sacrifice Himself. Abraham gets a glimpse of what we will experience and see clearly in Christ. Christ, as true man and true God, gives Himself, so that all human beings can live.
January/ February 2020
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