Abraham and Isaac

Faith, Testing, and Sacrifice

Abraham and Isaac are a father and son mentioned in the biblical book of Genesis. Both Abraham and Isaac are called Patriarchs because they are the fathers of many people, and fathers of our faith. Abraham is the father of the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian traditions, while Isaac is considered a founding father of both Christianity and Judaism.

BookGod made Abraham several promises, including that he would have many descendents and he would be the father of a great nation. However, Abraham spent many years unsuccessfully trying to have a child with his wife, Sarah. In the meantime he had a son, Ishmael, with his slave-girl Hagar. However, in his old age, God finally granted Abraham a son. That son of the promise, Isaac, was born, causing Abraham and Sarah great joy.

However, at some point after the birth of Isaac, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his new son. Abraham and Isaac walked together towards Mt. Moriah and Abraham bound his son to wood. Abraham readied to sacrifice Isaac, but at the last minute, God intervened and saved the life of the boy. Thus, Abraham and Isaac both survived.

The exact meaning of this passage has been debated for centuries. The Bible is clear that God disapproves of human sacrifice, so most thinkers regard this as a test of Abraham's faith. Would he be willing to give up his son Isaac (and thus the promises) to totally obey God? If it was a test, then Abraham passed.

Christians have seen parallels (although not exact) between the story of Abraham and Isaac and the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Jesus, like Abraham, perfectly obeyed God, except in the case of Jesus, He was willing to offer up Himself.