At this point it should be remembered that in this story of Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah…to borrow the words of Ravi Zacharias in describing this scene in his public lectures…God shouts from heaven at the last moment as Abraham is raising his knife to kill Isaac his son on the altar of sacrifice: “Stop…I myself will provide.”
The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews (who I think was Paul), wrote in chapter eleven:
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
It was the advance preparation for Abraham in waiting for the birth of Isaac…”from whence also he received him in a figure” that enabled God to take Abraham and us to the singular vantage point of being able to peer ahead into the future and see the second Person of the Trinity…Jesus the Son of God…on the cross as the sacrifice for human sins past, present, and future…and then God the Father three days later “able to raise him up, even from the dead.”
We do not know all of what Abraham saw on that critical turning-point day on Mount Moriah…how much he grasped of the coming Messiah Jesus Christ and the incredible unconventionality of what Abraham had just experienced, how God had set this all up and then intervened at the last moment, and how this pertained to the future destiny of mankind.
In the 8th chapter of the gospel of John…in one of His verbal exchanges with the religious leaders in Jerusalem, Jesus says something enlightening on this question of what did Abraham think about God…after the events of Mount Moriah…and as he and Isaac came down from the mountain to safely return home:
“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad” (Jn. 8:56).
No human writer working from the zone of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…could get Abraham or us to this lofty, looking-point foreglimpse of an eternal, galactically important epiphany…in this dress-rehearsal of the sacrifice for sin that Jesus Christ would accomplish on the cross at Calvary in the first century of our modern era.
The life-script of Abraham…from beginning to end…has premeditated foresight written all through it…that is so deep…so forward looking…so ingeniously creative…and so thoroughly outside of the aspirations and expectations of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…that to categorize this opening story of Abraham in the Bible as myth…to this Christian writer seems to be nonsensical.
No human writer would invent a life-script story having a uniquely specified, advance preparation that contained a message within a message (called a nested hierarchy of information) that had an end-point outcome that was supernatural…that was non-natural.
No human writer would compose narrow, highly specific, complex scenarios of advance preparation that lead to goals, outcomes, callings, and promises of God that are unreachable by human abilities or intellect.
How and why would a human literary genius create such a fictional worldview?
All such fictions should be a projection of ourselves, coming exclusively from the zone of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.
How would over 40 authors during a time-span of 1,500 years conspire and collude to compose the books of the Bible…all consistently having this message of the cross of Christ that displaces our ways with God’s higher ways and thoughts.
We do not see any evolutionary progression in the nested hierarchy of the information…a message wrapped within another message…in the life-script of Abraham. The ingeniously innovative advance preparation for Abraham matches perfectly the test on Mount Moriah…the first and only time…perfect and complete right out of the box.
But a God-composed journey of faith life-script eliminates a large portion of the options available within worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.
The biblical narrative stories of faith are exclusivistic. They limit a large portion of our freedom…by focusing exclusively on God’s higher ways and thoughts in a worldview that Jesus described in the Sermon on the Mount as “entering in at the narrow gate” (Mt. 7:13-14)…thus excluding…for the best and highest of reasons…the “broad way” that includes large portions of worldly conventional norms.
What makes a compelling case for the divine origin of the biblical narrative stories of faith…and therefore the Bible…as will be discussed from varied directions throughout this book…is that this exclusivity takes us a step above and beyond what could otherwise come from worldly conventional thinking.
The advance preparations for Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Peter, and Paul…to name a few…are so tightly and narrowly directed…so targeted toward their God-composed goals, callings, mission-outcomes, and promises of God…that worldly aspirations and concerns fall away…are removed off the pages of their lives.
This is a through-line theme of the Bible that inexplicable in a purely humanistic, naturalistic worldview.
God’s ways replacing our ways is a concept that is infuriating and revolting….is anathema…to atheists and skeptics (Jn. 15:19).
But this entire line of reasoning creates a dilemma for atheists and skeptics.
The closer we move towards actualizing in real life the radical nature of the cross of Jesus Christ applied to our lives…first introduced in the calling of Abraham to leave Haran and travel to Canaan…with God displacing whatever normative life Abraham would otherwise have lived back in the city of Haran…the closer we move towards this worldview of biblical faith…then the farther away we get from the zone of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…and the farther removed is the notion that these biblical narrative stories of faith are human invented literary myths.
No matter what other issues and questions need to be resolved within the apologetic debate around the Old and New Testaments of the Bible…if the Bible is a humanistically created literary document…then atheists and skeptics must explain how the complex and brilliantly crafted storyline of Abraham contains what is called in modern information theory: a nested hierarchy of information…a message contained within another larger message…which is the clear signature of intelligent design everywhere we see this phenomenon.
The highly specified, advance preparation of Abraham…the subsequent working out of the details of a Hebrews 11:1 life-script…and the incredible finale on Mount Moriah that provides a prophetic foreglimpse into the monumental event of the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ two thousand years later…is beyond human inventive imagination and totally outside of the realm of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.
This introduces the main theme of this book…which has both apologetic and inspirational value for Christians today.
The displacement element in the biblical narrative stories of faith is universal…whether or not the people of faith had a specific promise or calling of God…or whether God moved in their lives to arrange events toward a particular end-point outcome where these people could look backward and recognize God’s positive participation…and then answer this critical question: “what do I think of God?”
As Christians today…we do not have to have a clear calling like Abraham (although some Christians will) upfront…giving us a heads-up about what God plans to do in and through our lives.
Several people of faith in the Bible…along with Christians today…went about their lives trusting and exercising faith in God.
God is able to insert into the course of our lives the Hebrews 11:1 reality of a gap…a space…an interval of where we are to where we need to get to…while we “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).
Acts 13:1-5 records the calling of Paul and Barnabas to go out into the mission field. But the calling of Simeon, Lucius, and Manaen…at least for the time being…was to remain behind and continue as teachers in the house churches in Antioch.
Whatever our Christian calling in life may be…the intention of God is to set-up the context of events and circumstances in our life-scripts to actualize a personal relationship with Him…after the pattern of the biblical narrative stories of faith…so that we can reach the radical, extremely unconventional vantage point of being able to answer from an insider’s, informed perspective this question: “what do I think of God?”