Would you kill your child if God told you to? Oh, Abraham…
This story gave me nightmares as a kid. What happened? Right, so at this point, Abraham and Sarah have their son, Isaac. Let’s not forget, Abraham already had a son, Ishmael, with his slave, Hagar, and Sarah kicked both of their asses out. They don’t matter, this is about Isaac.
So Abraham is talking to God, and God’s like, “Hey man, you are gonna have to sacrifice your son to me.”
So, God is like “Kill your “only” son?” And Abraham is OK with it? Yes! Abraham does not complain at all, he’s basically like “OK!” I’m assuming Isaac didn’t know about this plan, because all of a sudden his dad is like “Let’s go to the mountaintop to hunt!” And Isaac’s like “OK, dad!”
And they get to the mountain, and then Abraham ties Isaac up and is going to sacrifice him. And right before he does it, an angel of God shows up like “Hold up! You passed the test!!! Go kill that ram instead!”
Abraham proved that he would sacrifice all “worldly” possessions in order to follow his God. And therefore, he was spared of sacrificing one of his greatest possessions of all: his son.
We move on after that.
So, God says, “Kill your son,” Abraham says “Yes, sir,” Isaac says jack shit, and then an angel says “You passed the test, kill a ram.” That story ruined my life.
How the hell did Isaac feel knowing his dad was going to sacrifice him to God? Did he feel nothing when he realized that his dad was going to kill him? It is never talked about again in the Bible, so he just grew up like “Yeah, remember when dad tried to kill me?”
What gave me nightmares was the idea of someone following “God’s orders” to kill someone. What if my dad tried that with me, if God told him to or whatever? Chills, man, that gave me chills.
But I always heard this story in church. And we never talked about the implications of a father killing his son, we talked about how the story was such a strong testimony to the power of putting all faith in God when nothing is going right. See, Abraham could have disobeyed. Abraham could have put his son first. Abraham could have cursed God out and questioned him for even suggesting that he kill the son that God said he was going to be given when he was well over 100 years old. But he didn’t. He had faith that God was going to make it all make sense. Sure enough, he did.
Is that a story of blind allegiance? Unwavering faith? Obviously depends on cultural mores, right? In this country, someone takes a vow of abstinence and talks about God not wanting them to have sex, some people who aren’t religious might think that they’re crazy, but if they’re not harming anyone, it just is what it is. When is it “good” to be like Abraham, and when is it “not”?