Essay on Abraham and Isaac: Was God’s Command Moral?

Essay on Abraham and Isaac: Was God’s Command Moral?

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“Abraham…Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I will point out to you.” Genesis 22:2 Thus, Abraham, with perfect faith and trust in the Lord, sets out the next follow the commandment of God. This is the beginning of one of the most intriguing and horrific stories in the Old Testament. A man willing to kill his only son because he believes it is a Divine command from God. All well and good for Abraham; however, what if someone today came to me and said that the Lord had told them to sacrifice their child? Unlike Abraham, I do not have perfect faith and I doubt, I question, and I would probably think they were crazy. This also sets the stage for one of the nagging questions of morality that has been tackled by theologians and philosophers for ages: Was the command that God Gave Abraham to kill Isaac moral? This issue has been tackled by the likes of Soren Kierkegaard and Immanuel Kant (Collins, 2007). For myself, this is a topic I have wanted to tackle since I took an ethics class last year. In my opinion, there is indeed sufficient rationale for Abraham to act on the word of God and to take his only son to Mount Moriah to offer him up as a sacrifice. Looking at the situation from a historical context, as well as the fact that the Noahide laws in Genesis, chapter nine, state that all life belongs to God (Deffinbaugh, 2004), that God is an all knowing being, that there was no evidence of a direct threat of punishment or an offer of reward in following the instruction (Landau, 2010), that both Abraham and Isaac had perfect faith and trust in the Lord, and finally that God does not ask anything of Abraham that he did not...

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...nd say that I would believe or have faith enough to follow in Abraham’s footsteps; I believe that it would be difficult for most people to believe that God himself spoke and commanded such an act. Perhaps, if more people had the faith of Abraham and listened for the voice of God, our world would be a better place.

Armstrong, K. (1993). A History of God. New York, NY: Random House Publishing Group.
Collins, J. J. (2007). A short Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.
Cosby, B. (1983). Bill Cosby, Himself. (B. Cosby, Performer) Hamilton Place Theater, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Deffinbaugh, B. (2004, May 11). The Noahic Covenant - A New beginning. Retrieved March 29, 2011, from
Landau, R. S. (2010). The Fundamentals of Ethics. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

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