Necessity of a revelation of creation 7 Getting understanding by Word of God 5

The patriarch of the Jewish nation became known by many. Also outside the Scriptures we have abundant evidence of the way that Abraham was regarded by his posterity in the Jewish nation.

The oldest of these witnesses, Ecclesiasticus, contains none of the accretions of the later Abraham-legends. Its praise of Abraham is confined to the same three great facts that appealed to the canonical writers, namely, his glory as Israel’s ancestor, his election to be recipient of the covenant, and his piety (including perhaps a tinge of “nomism”) even under severe testing (Ecclesiasticus 44:19-21). {International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia}

Abraham got a unique position and piety cherished by the Jews. Also to Mohammed Abraham is of importance in several ways and gets mentioned in no less than 188 verses of the Koran, more than any other character except Moses.

For Jews, Christians and Muslims Abraham is the first in line of important men of God, revealing God’s Word and giving an example and guidance to mankind. Being one of the series of prophets sent by God he is the common ancestor of the Arab and the Jew playing the same role of religious reformer over against his idolatrous kinsmen as Mohammed/Muhammad himself played.

Abraham is said to have build the first pure temple for God’s worship (at Mecca!). As in the Bible so in the Koran Abraham is the recipient of the Divine covenant for himself and for his posterity, and exhibits in his character the appropriate virtues of one so highly favoured: faith, righteousness, purity of heart, gratitude, fidelity, compassion.

 Gunkel (Genesis, Introduction), in insisting upon the resemblance of the patriarchal narrative to the “sagas” of other primitive peoples, draws attention both to the human traits of figures like Abraham, and to the very early origin of the material embodied in our present book of Genesis. First as stories orally circulated, then as stories committed to writing, and finally as a number of collections or groups of such stories formed into a cycle, the Abraham-narratives, like the Jacob-narratives and the Joseph-narratives , grew through a long and complex literary history. Gressmann (op. cit, 9-34) amends Gunkel’s results, in applying to them the principles of primitive literary development laid down by Professor Wundt in his Volkerpsychologie. He holds that the kernel of the Abraham-narratives is a series of fairy-stories, of international diffusion and unknown origin, which have been given “a local habitation and a name” by attaching to them the (ex hypothesi) then common name of Abraham (similarly Lot, etc.) and associating them with the country nearest to the wilderness of Judea, the home of their authors, namely, about Hebron and the Dead Sea. A high antiquity (1300-1100 BC) is asserted for these stories, their astonishing accuracy in details wherever they can be tested by extra-Biblical tradition is conceded, as also the probability that, “though many riddles still remain unsolved, yet many other traditions will be cleared up by new discoveries” of archaeology.

J. Oscar Boyd {International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia}

With Abraham we come to another man who worshipped the same God as him and belonged to a small community worshipping Jehovah God and who came in contact with the Jews (Israelites) but not belonged to that people.

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/29/Meeting_of_abraham_and_melchizadek.jpg/375px-Meeting_of_abraham_and_melchizadek.jpg
Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek, Priest, King of Salem — by Dieric Bouts the Elder, 1464–67

Like Abraham receives marked tokens of the Divine favour in the shape of deliverance, guidance, visions, angelic messengers, miracles, assurance of resurrection and entrance into paradise this high priest later shall be mentioned, as a way of gratitude, by God. Melchizedek got his name already as a favourite. He is introduced as the king of Salem, and priest of El Elyon, ( an epithet of the God of Israel in the Hebrew Bible) (“God most high”). He reveals the man from God, Abram/Abraham, brings out bread and wine and blesses this giver of a tenth of the prey of the conquering of Kedorlaomer, after the battle of the four kings.  (Chazalic literature—specifically Targum Jonathan, Targum Yerushalmi, and the Babylonian Talmud—presents the name (מלכי־צדק) as a nickname title for Shem, the son of Noah who blesses and El Elyon or the Elohim Jehovah.

When time passed much things had happened and around 1445 b.c.e. Moses received the request from God to help the people to remember those things which happened in the past and how they related to the Divine Creator. After Moses other fallible humans continued with the meticulous task to write down the Words of God so that man could by looking at those Words of God come to understand God’s method of revealing Himself.

Lanfranco Moses and the Messengers from Canaan.jpg
Moses and the Messengers from Canaan, by Giovanni Lanfranco, oil on canvas, 85-3/4 x 97 inches, at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles United States

Joshua (1404-1390 b.c.e.), Samuel (1374-1129 b.c.e.) Ezra (1011-425 b.c.e.), Jeremiah (971-587 b.c.e.), Nehemiah (445 – 425 b.c.e.), Mordecai (465  b.c.e.) and David with sons of Korah wrote  (ca. 1000 – 400 b.c.e.) the other first scrolls or books of which became placed in a series of books or library of books, which is the Bible, coming from the word for the bark of the papyrus.

The plural form Biblia (“books”) was first used of the collection of holy writings but since this neuter plural has the same form as a feminine singular it became mistaken for the singular form, hence “books” became “book” (Bible). The mistake in the grammatical derivation of the word was not inappropriate as growing conviction developed regarding unity of the whole. In Jerome’s time the whole collection was known as the divine library (Bibliotheca), which draws attention to the diversity within the whole. The Bible is simultaneously “the book” and “the books”, both a single volume and a library.

In the collection or assemblage of books the writers put their own personality aside and wrote down what God wanted them to write down. Given the infallibility of the Bible, one can assume that there is a Higher Force behind those writings which show mankind in its weak and imperfect state and the Divine Creator as the Omnipotent.  God is the Creator and Overlooker of the text of the Bible, making sure to prevent the authors from committing any error.

In the Torah writings, commonly called Law or Law of Moses, Moses presents the books of the Beginning (Bereshith or Genesis) telling about the special relationship with certain people, protecting them and getting them out of difficulties and out of slavery (Shemoth or Exodus). In the five books of Moses, also known as the Humash or Pentateuch, Law or Teaching the Wyyiqra or Leviticus is followed by the Bemidbar or Numbers or Numeri and Debarim or Deuteronomy.

Up to the book of Psalms we see the revelation of God, how the people went on and how God coped with their behaviour. From the beginning God created man in His image and choose certain persons to be a medium for Him. Those chosen people showed that they had an intimate communion with God, a spirit trained to discern spiritual things, a perfect understanding of and zeal for God’s purpose.

David’s confidence in God and his declarations of His faithfulness bring him to praise the maker of everything and declare God’s revelation in the creation.

In the first part of the Old Testament God’s methods which are harmonious with one another are proclaimed. They also show how God has given men natural faculties to acquire scientific knowledge and historical information. The Elohim did not stultify this gift by imparting such knowledge in a miraculous and unintelligible manner. There is no evidence that inspired men were in advance of their age in the knowledge of physical facts and laws. And plainly, had they been supernaturally instructed in physical knowledge they would so far have been unintelligible to those to whom they spoke. Speaking from the point of view of his contemporaries, and accepting the current ideas regarding the formation of the world, King David attached to these the views regarding God’s connection with the world which are most necessary to be believed. What he had learned of God’s unity and creative power and connection with man, by “the inspiration of the Holy Ghost,” he imparts to his contemporaries through the vehicle of an account of creation they could all understand. It is not in his knowledge of physical facts that he is elevated above his contemporaries, but in his knowledge of God’s connection with all physical facts. No doubt, on the other hand, his knowledge of God reacts upon the entire contents of his mind and saves him from presenting such accounts of creation as have been common among polytheists. He presents an account purified by his conception of what was worthy of the supreme God he worshipped. His idea of God has given dignity and simplicity to all he says about creation, and there is an elevation and majesty about the whole conception, which we recognise as the reflex of his conception of God.

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Preceding articles:

The very very beginning 1 Creating Gods

Genesis Among the Creation Myths

Something from nothing

Necessity of a revelation of creation 1 Works of God and works of man

Necessity of a revelation of creation 2 Organisation of a system of things

Necessity of a revelation of creation 3 Getting understanding by Word of God 1

Necessity of a revelation of creation 4 Getting understanding by Word of God 2

Necessity of a revelation of creation 5 Getting understanding by Word of God 3

Necessity of a revelation of creation 6 Getting understanding by Word of God 4

Next: Necessity of a revelation of creation 8 By no means unintelligible or mysterious to people

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Additional reading:

  1. Creator and Blogger God 8 A Blog of a Book 2 Holy One making Scriptures Holy
  2. Quran versus older Holy Writings of Divine Creator
  3. Missional hermeneutics 2/5
  4. Humanities and consensus

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  • Christians and Israel (debatepolitics.com)
    Without Israel, there wouldn’t be Christianity. Christians have an obligation to stand with Israel.
    We shouldn’t be silent about that.
  • Theory that the biblical holy land was not in present day Israel (ask.metafilter.com)
    I’m trying to find an article by some historians that posited that the places described in the Bible we not actually in present day Israel. The historians had done some theorizing that the mountains and valleys mentioned in the bible (can’t remember which book) fit better with an area in Saudi Arabia off the coast of the Red Sea. I’ve searched the Google but can’t find any mention of this theory. I would love to find it again.
  • This Could Be The Meaning Behind Jill Duggar & Derick Dillard’s Son’s Name! Was It For Biblical Reasons Or Something Deeper? (perezhilton.com)
    The name “Israel” means “may God prevail,” but in Hebrew, it takes on a longer definition:

    “He struggles with God. God perseveres; contends. In the bible when Jacob was in his nineties as a token of blessing God changed his name to Israel.”

    So, we could all just be satisfied with knowing that the Dillards named their son after something religious, but we’re not! There has to be even more to it!

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