Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Abraham, Sarah, Science and Human Rights

An interesting thought from Genesis about attitude to rights...

In Genesis 15 and 16, there is a real contrast between Abram and Sarai’s attitudes to their childlessness. Abram sees that his attitude is that he deserves nothing and everything is God's gift to him.

And Abram said, "You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir."
Genesis 15:3, NIV

This attitude and his trust in God’s provision results in his faith being credited to him as righteousness (15:6).

By contrast, Sarai’s attitude is one of seeing herself as entitled to “the normal course of events”.

"The LORD has kept me from having children.”
Genesis 16:2, NIV

Sarai’s unbelief results in the messy Hagar and Ishmael saga. She sees having children as her natural entitlement rather than a gift of God.

How does this reflect their attitudes to science? If we believe that God just set the universe up, and now it runs without him, then we could believe that we are entitled to nature working in the normal way. We would feel hard done by if we were kept from something normal. This is exactly how Sarai felt.

If, however, we recognise that everything in nature happens because God does it, then we see that everything good that happens to us happens by God’s grace. We already have a relationship with God, and we have already deserved his judgement and condemnation because of the way we reject him. So we do not deserve anything good from God, even if it is what he normally does. This leads to an attitude like Abram’s where we are grateful to him for what he gives us, and do not resent him not giving us what he has chosen to withhold.

Post a Comment