The Man Who Was Stronger Than God
By Guy Hasson
After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham! Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Mori’ah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
And Abraham said, “No.”
“Abraham, do not withhold your son, your only son, from me. Obey my voice.”
“I will not lay my hand on the lad or do anything unto him, my Lord. He is my son.”
“Abraham, I must know that you fear God.”
“My Lord, for you I have gone from my country and kindred and father’s house to the land that you showed me at the age of seventy-five. You have blessed me and cursed those who would curse me. You have given me a son. Surely, if you looked in my heart, you would see that I would lay down my life for you. Is this knowledge not enough? For I will not slay my own son.”
“You must have faith, Abraham, that I will indeed bless you, and I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore. And that your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your descendants shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.”
“Faith I have, my Lord. Yet never will I slay my own son.”
“Abraham. My will can vanquish your will, and bend your arms to raise a knife and offer Isaac to me.”
“Indeed, you are great and powerful, Lord. If you wish it, none will stop you. Yet never shall I slay my own son of my own free will, the free will you have granted me.”
“Abraham. Your free will is mine to take back.”
“Yes, my Lord. But while I still possess it, I shall not kill my own son.”
“Abraham. If you slay not your son I shall make you my mark. Months of emptiness and endless nights of misery can I apportion upon you. I will cloth your flesh with worms. I will take your son and wife and concubine and descendents and curse them as I have cursed your enemies.”
“Surely my transgression is great,” said Abraham with sadness. “You can make the heavens tremble and the earth shake out of its place. You can make my spirit cry with anguish and await death. But not even then will I slay my son of my own free will. For he is my son.”
“Perhaps I am testing you, Abraham.”
“But it is a risk, my Lord. I cannot obey, for I cannot slay my own son.”
And God’s wrath and fierce anger were great. For He saw that although He had chosen wisely and Abraham was a man of faith who would lay down his life for his God, He had chosen too well. As long as Abraham had free will, he would not bend before anyone, including God, upon this matter.
Unable to bend Abraham’s will with words, God bent Abraham’s will with might. He changed the workings of his faithful servant’s head, then turned back the wheels of history.
After these things God tested the new Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham! Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Mori’ah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
So the new Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; and the new Abraham cut the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.
The Man who Was Stronger than God (c) Guy Hasson 2010. First Published in Outlook Magazine.