Abraham | thebereancall.org

TBC Staff

[TBC: For some skeptics, the only proper defense they can offer is to turn every character in the Scriptures into a mythical individual. Myths are more easily dismissed than living, breathing figures from history who had real encounters with the God of all Creation. Such a person raises embarrassing questions. The German theologians (professing to be Christians) who introduced "Higher Criticism" in the late 1800s argued about whether Abraham really lived. "Many scholars claimed that Abraham is merely an historical myth with no basis in reality. While Anton Jirku acknowledges that Abraham is neither pure poem (Dichtung) nor pure truth (Wahrheit), Walter Beltz simply dismisses him as fictional myth ('eine mythische Person . . . Die Gestalt Abrahams ist eine mythische Schopfung.'" William F. Albright, "The Biblical Period From Abraham to Ezra," Harper Torchbooks, 4th printing, 1965, p. 1.) Yet, as another commentator from this period points out, those who identify themselves as Christians must argue with a higher authority.]
We have a saying of Jesus in regard to Abraham which, while a more indirect endorsement of Genesis than the preceding [the biblical story of Sodom], is none the less emphatic. He said to the Jews: "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it and was glad" (John:8:56). This remark implies the truth of what is said in Genesis about the promises to Abraham concerning the seed through whom the world was to be blessed. There is nothing else in the recorded career of Abraham to which it can refer. It goes even beyond the record in Genesis on this subject; for the latter only affirms the fact that the promise was made, while Jesus sets forth the feeling of Abraham when he heard it, affirming that he looked forward to the day of its fulfillment, and saw it, and was glad. This is the endorsement not only of a fact, but of a fact of prophetic foresight, or, rather, of the explicit revelation by Jehovah of a fact then nearly two thousand years in the future. How could Jesus have thus spoken, if he regarded the stories in Genesis as mere "folklore," the idle tales of a people concerning their prehistoric times, like those of the Romans concerning Romulus and Remus? There is only one answer to this question consistent with common sense, and it is inconsistent with faith in Christ -- it is the answer of the masters in criticism, that Jesus was as ignorant on the subject of the truthfulness of Old Testament stories, as were the Pharisees of his own age, and as are the "Traditionalists" of our age. Well, by this answer, the so-called traditionalists are placed in good company. "To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life." We are content to stand with Christ against the critics, and, with Paul, let God be true and every man a liar (J. W. McGarvey, "Short Essays in Biblical Criticism" - 1910).