This is such a rich story; it is like a prism. It can be viewed from many different perspectives and it raises many important questions. In my sermon this Sunday, I will focus on just three areas:
1. Why Would God Do This? If God is truly the loving, compassionate God which the Christian faith proclaims, then why would God subject Abraham—and Isaac—to such a cruel, awful test? The technical term for this type of question is theodicy, which is the theological problem of whether God is responsible for evil in the world. There are no fully satisfying answers to the problem of evil in the world. However, I believe that we should not read the story of Isaac’s binding as a separate stand-alone story. Rather, I believe that we should read this story—and, indeed, all biblical passages—in the context of the entire Bible. When we do that, then the story of Isaac’s binding points forward to the life, ministry, and crucifixion of Jesus. Although God tests Abraham’s faith by demanding that he sacrifice Isaac, it is God who sacrifices His own son, Jesus Christ, for each of us.