God does not make mistakes. Check with any Christian or the Bible for this tidbit of information. Virtually every sermon by every minister will work this “fact” into the talk at some point.
But maybe God does make mistakes. Or maybe God simply has a memory problem when it comes to the Old Testament, and the likes of Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac.
Check Genesis 22:2 for this, and it will say virtually the same thing in every translation. Therefore, it must be right, the inerrant word of God, the absolute, undeniable truth. This was a preamble to Abraham about God testing him by sacrificing Isaac.
“Then God said (to Abraham), ‘Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.’”
We’ll cover the rest of the story in a future column, but let’s just check this for a minute. Note the words from this direct quote of God as to “Take your son, you only son, Isaac. . .” Thus, while you could argue that perhaps Abraham had daughters before Isaac (hi didn’t) this was the only son at the time, the first born son of Abraham.
But not so fast. God is either mistaken, had a severe memory problem or early Alzheimer’s in saying this. You only have to check back a few verses to find Genesis 16:3-4.
“So after Abram had been living in Canaan for ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar and she conceived.”
The idea of two wives, a wife giving her husband a second wife and other morality and ethics problems will have to wait for a future column. But here, we decidedly have Isaac as the second son, and not the “only” son as mentioned in Genesis 22:2. Earlier, Abram made Hagar pregnant, with Hagar later giving birth to her and Abram’s son Ishmael, so named by God in Genesis 16:11. Ishmael was at the time his only son and also his first born son. Isaac was not Abraham’s “only” son.
Maybe this is a small point, but small points should not elude God. The devil is in the details. The Bible is supposed to be correct and accurate. With a direct quote from God messing up on this small point, should we trust anything else in the Bible? Should we believe more major statements, more strange fables, and more “facts” that are as fanciful as any child’s fairy tale? I don’t think so either.