Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Akedah as a subject for Apophatic contemplation

When I think about Genesis chapter 22 I am always struck by the threat to the promise found within these 18 verses. Everything that comes before—every promise, every salvation of the promise, every victory snatched from defeat—is laid bare with the command to sacrifice Isaac—the promised son.
God is the Promiser, the Faithful One who will bring about a new and amazing thing—bringing a barren couple out of their homeland and creating a new people.
Yet God is not the Promiser; God is the very threat to the promise, God will slaughter the very center of his promise. If God is followed the promise becomes a lie.
I affirm that God is the Promiser. I affirm that God is not the Promiser. Between these two statements—the cataphatic (positive) and the apophatic (negative) I find the God beyond god. I push through the meaning of these words and these concepts and am forced to wrestle with a God beyond description and peek behind the veil of language and experience, and hear on God’s own terms the words, “Abraham, Abraham—I am not that kind of God.”

No comments: