From a Sermon on Genesis 12

A reference in Eric Vogelin to the Apocalypse of Abraham set me off to find it. A first century writing, the work imagines the wonder which prepared Abram for his call.

Here’s the set up: Terah, Abram’s father, is an artisan of idols in Ur. Abraham wonders that people could do obeisance to something that was the product of his father’s workshop. This leads him to a ponder what deserves worship. What follows is an “ascent of the mind. “(Bonaventure)

This I say: 7:2 Fire is the noblest [element] in the image [of the world], since even the things which are [otherwise] unsubdued are subdued in it, and [since] it mocks with its flames the things which perish easily. 7:3 But I would not call it a god either, since it is subjugated to water. 7:4 Water is indeed nobler, since it overcomes fire and soaks the earth. 7:5 But I would not call it a god, since it is subjugated to the earth, running underneath it. 7:6 I would rather call the earth the noblest, since it overcomes the substance and abundance of water. 7:7 But neither would I call it gods, since it is dried up by the sun [and since it is] made for men to plow. 7:8 [So] I would call the sun nobler than the earth, since with its rays it illumines the inhabited world and the various airs. 7:9 But I would not make it into a god either, since its course is obscured [both] at night [and] by the clouds. 7:10 Nor, again, would I call the moon and the stars gods, since they too in their times at night can darken their light.

7:11 Listen, Terah, my father, I shall seek in your presence the God who created all the gods which we consider! 7:12 For who is it, or which one is it who colored heaven and made the sun golden, who has given light to the moon and the stars with it, who has dried the earth in the midst of many waters, who set you yourself among the elements, and who now has chosen me in the distraction of my mind?— Will he reveal himself by himself to us?— [He is] the God!”
8:1 And as I was thinking about these things, here is what happened to my father Terah in the courtyard of his house: The voice of the Mighty One came down from heaven in a stream of fire, saying and calling, “Abraham, Abraham!”
….Here I am.”

A lovely dovetailing of natural and revealed theology!

If God had not spoke there would have been no Pilgrimage. If God had not stirred Abraham’s heart to wonder, could he have been open to the call?

To hear the call is to begin to be a Stranger and a Pilgrim.
To Leave–and become a Stranger
To Follow– and become a Pilgrim
To be blessed that you might be the means of blessing–

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One thought on “From a Sermon on Genesis 12

  1. May God bless you richly in your retirement, even as you have blessed those whom he called you to serve. Reading your thoughts here has encouraged my Spirit today. Thanks for sharing!

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