Sunday, June 7, 2015

Plan B: Abraham as G-d's Contingency Plan for Rebuilding Fallen Humanity

So in the last post I began to address the bilateralist teaching that says:
"Since there are 2 families on earth, the Sons of Adam and the Sons of Abraham, it follows that there are 2 ways of life for humanity, the Jewish way of life and the Gentile way of life."
And I began, in somewhat sloppy fashion, to explore the possibility that in G-d's providential plan for humanity, Abraham serves as Adam's replacement and that this indicates that the Torah given to Abraham's descendants is, logically, a Torah for all mankind.

In this post, I want to have a "do over", building on the insights from the comments in the last post, and share 2 ways in which Torah describes Abraham as the replacement Adam:

(1)  Abraham as Inheritor of the Word:



In the beginning, Adam was given the world:
"And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it..." Gen. 1:28
But then later we read that Abraham was given the world:
"...and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring," Genesis 28:4
Also:
"For not through law is the promise to Abraham, or to his seed, of his being heir of the world [kleronomon auton einai kosmou], but through the righteousness of faith," (Romans 4:13)
The Prophets describe this spreading abroad of Abraham's descendants like a vast tent:
"(1) Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth, and shout, you who are not in labor!  Because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her that has a husband, for the Lord has spoken.  (2) Enlarge the site of your tent, and the coverings of your curtains; make it firm; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. (3) because you must spread out to the right and to the left, and your offspring will inherit the nations and will inhabit the cities that have become desolate," Isaiah 54:1-3
In this way, Abraham has taken over Adam's role of inheriting the entire world.

(2) Abraham as Father of the World:

In the beginning, Adam was the original father of many nations:
"This is the written account of Adam's family line. When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God," Gen. 5:1
But then later we read that Abraham took on the role of being the father of many nations:
"No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations," Gen. 17:5
And it is from this point that we understand everyone should follow in the practices of our father Abraham:
"They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Yeshua said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did," John 8:39
What works exactly?  
"For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him," Genesis 18:19
Later in the Bible we learn that the Way of the L-rd is the Torah:
"O the happiness of those perfect in the way, they are walking in the law of Adonai," Psalm 119:1
In this way, Abraham has taken over Adam's role of teaching the entire world.  We are not told to follow in the way of our ancestor Adam but rather to follow in the way of our ancestor Abraham.


NOTES:

"And this, in accordance with the Divine promises, is broadening out to the very bounds of the universe, and renders its possessor inheritor of the four quarters of the world, reaching to them all, to East, and West, and South, and North; for it is said, 'It shall spread abroad to the West and to the South and to the North and to the East," Philo, On Dreams

"6.[THEN THE LORD GOD FORMED] THE MAN:  for the sake of Abraham.  R. Levi said:  It is written, The greatest man among the Anakim (Josh. XIV, 15): 'man' means Abraham, and why is he called the greatest man?  Because he was worthy of being created before Adam, but the Holy One, blessed be He, reasoned:  'He may sin and there will be none to set it right.  Hence I will create Adam first, so that if he sins, Abraham may come and set things right.'  R. Abba b. Kahana said:  In general practice, when a man joints a pair of beams [so that they meet] at a slope, where does he place them?  Surely in the middle of the chamber, so that they may support th beams in front and behind.  Even so, why did the Lord create Abraham in the middle of generations?  In order that he might bear the generations before and after him.  R. Levi said:  You bring a virtuous woman into the house of a corrupt one [to teach the corrupt one], but you do not bring a corrupt woman into the house of a virtuous one [to teach the virtuous one]," Genesis Rabbah, 14:6


4 comments:

  1. "“I will proclaim the decree:
    Adonai said to me,
    ‘You are my son;
    today I became your father.
    8 Ask of me, and I will make
    the nations your inheritance;
    the whole wide world
    will be your possession.
    9 You will break them with an iron rod,
    shatter them like a clay pot.’”

    ReplyDelete
  2. Abraham is also a son of Adam...OOOOPPPPSSSS!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did not speak to you. Spoke to Derek.

      Delete