The Bible Is a Parable: A Middle Ground Between Science and Religion
It seems to reflect anew, the tensions between -herding | and -settled | peoples as
suggested in the parable story of -Cain and Abel | in chapter 9 of this book.
It also seems to fit the first description under the second subtitle of chapter one. -The
American Collegiate Dictionary defines it (a parable) as =a short allegorical story
designed to convey some truth or moral lesson.‘ |
As an aside from the primary topic within Abraham‘s story, another parable- like
experience is embedded, and a conundrum that could offer a tie into a character in the
There has been much made about the almost sacrifice of Abraham‘s son Isaac.
Is this a real episode in a personal life story? If not, what principle had this biblical
account been meant to convey?
This takes place after Abraham‘s sojourn in Egypt, the rescue of his nephew Lot; the
meeting with Melchizedek; and Sodom and Gomorra, among others. He was living, by
many accounts, at Beersheba, fairly close to Egypt, a place where he was to spend much
of his life.
-Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham…then He said,
=Take now your son…whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah and offer him there as
a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you‘ | (Gen. 22:1–2, NKJV).
Many think the mountain God directed Abraham to is the Mount of Olives, next to
where the much later Temple Mount would be erected in Jerusalem, the Salem of
Melchizedek. In the end, God excused Abraham from actually committing the child
sacrifice that had been a common practice among the Canaanites and many others in the
surrounding lands for unnumbered generations before him.
-And He said, =Lay not your hand upon the lad, or do anything to him‘ | (Gen.
Why is this episode even in the story of Abraham? It would seem to invite a point of
confusion: an omniscient God, changing his mind? It is simply excused as a test of faith.
-I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son…from Me. |
Child sacrifice has had a longstanding history, and under some circumstances, it had a
utilitarian value to many Middle Eastern societies, that were at the mercy of quickly
changeable natural conditions. Too small a flood bringing too little water could cause
drought and famine as crop failures occurred. Too high and prolonged a flood deferred
plantings bringing similar, many times, greater results such as disease and lack of carry-
over food resources.
Riverine societies were periodically subjected to these extremes. When this happened,
many were the petitions that went out to their understanding of the gods that they had
worshiped thankfully during the good times.
Mankind has never had a very certain understanding of that -Something | that
-Presence | that seemed to lie mostly beyond his ability to experience directly. When
animals came into his growing ability to manipulate, the difficult, dangerous ones were
invested with a power beyond that which could be seen and accounted for.
It was thought, if Man could somehow acquire a portion of that power, it would tend
to balance the physical disparity, making the danger of the hunt less overwhelming.
Ritual ingestion seemed a logical way of putting that overabundance of strength
within Man‘s body. Great respect was accorded the invisible essence in the ritual
sacrifice of eating the animal‘s physical remains.