Sunday, July 10, 2011

Steck on "the nearness of the God who puts us . . . to the test"

"Suffering as withdrawl of the blessing, as [a] taking back of what was [once graciously] given, is seen [by Israel] as the nearness of the God who puts [us][we] unwittinglyto the test [(des unwissentlich prüfenden Gottes)].  Suffering is seenas here in our story [of the sacrifice of Isaac]as the question whether God the Giver lives only in the gift, whether he is God only so long as the gift is there; or whether he is truly [the] God with no other gods besides him, the transcendent, binding, [and] unique One-who-stands-over-and-against of Israel [(Gegenüber Israels)], the [One] who permits no escape into an evil, into a fatum, besides the [command] simply 'to love God' [(das keine Ausflucht in ein Böses, in ein Fatum neben dem bloß 'lieben Gott' zuläßt)].  God puts Abraham to the test.  In this event is all suffering, all withdrawl, all leave-taking, all the oppressive experience that man attempts to solve as [though it were] a riddle comprehended. . . . [And] now the contour of the First Commandment makes an impression via an event, the question to Abraham whether God is for him really God, or only the sweet, the extrapolated God, the power projected outwardly [in an attempt to ensure the] happiness he [so desperately] desires, the anthropomorphized God responsible for all inhumanity, . . . the made-up monster."

Odil Hannes Steck, "Ist Gott grausam?  Über Isaaks Opferung aus der Sicht des alten Testaments," Ist Gott grausam?  Eine Stellungnahme zu Tilmann Mosers 'Gottesvergiftung', hrsg. Wolfgang Böhme (Stuttgart:  Evangelisches Verlagswerk, 1977), 85-86 (75-95).

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