I look forward to meeting you at Can Can at 15:00. I'm writing up some of my thoughts before we meet.
I've worked all of my life to know everything and apply that knowledge usefully. Last year I wrote a summary:
Currently, I'm working towards a comprehensive book. I intend to write Ieva what I'd wish our children to take to heart from early childhood. I've made a list of the many ways that I've thought of God. I identified 24 ways that accord with the 24 ways of figuring things out which I had worked out earlier. I am now trying to distill that to the essence from which I might unfold everything else. That would be interesting to talk about with you.
Independently, I'm reading the Tanakh for the second time. (The first time was in 1992.) I'm taking God to be the author. I'm taking his word at face value. I wish to understand what I can conclude about God, or simply know, what is God trying to say about himself?
I'll share my thoughts about Genesis, chapters 1 to 25, that is, up until Abraham's death. Here's the Jewish Publication Society 1917 version:
GOD REMINDS HIMSELF (AND US) OF HIS COVENANTS
God doesn't make obvious why he is writing this book. Only an attentive reader might find his reasons, if any.
One reason is that God makes an effort to remind himself (and his readers) of his covenants:
- It's not ingrained in him that he not exterminate all of life, but rather, he has to remind himself not to do it: "And it shall come to pass, when I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow is seen in the cloud, that I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh." (Gen 9, 14-15)
- Abraham reminds God of God's nature, 'That be far from Thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked, that so the righteous should be as the wicked; that be far from Thee; shall not the Judge of all the earth do justly?' (Gen 18, 25) Similarly, God reminds himself of his other covenants.
- God quotes the Torah: Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made He man. (Gen 9, 6)
GOD TEACHES US TO RULE
God is one who rules. We, humans, are the ones he teaches to rule.
- 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that creepeth upon the earth.' (Gen 1,28) Note that this is the day which was "very good".
- And the LORD said unto Cain: 'Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shall it not be lifted up? and if thou doest not well, sin coucheth at the door; and unto thee is its desire, but thou mayest rule over it.' (Gen 4,6-7)
Just as God rules over heaven, so must we rule the earth and rule over sin. This is perhaps the main point of the Torah.
GOD STRUCTURES HIS TOTALITY
God creates by dividing (light and darkness, day and night, waters above from waters below, waters from land), by delegating (sun and moon over the light, fish over the seas, birds over the sky, humans over the earth and other creatures) and by having these authorities propagate (multiply). God finishes delegating and then rests.
God is distributed in his agency.
- Abraham is visited by God and two angels. God tells his intention to Abraham, "Verily, the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and, verily, their sin is exceeding grievous. I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto Me; and if not, I will know.' (Gen 18, 20-21). However, only the two angels actually go to Sodom. This means that when God goes down to see and know for sure, then that takes place through the two angels. In other words, the two angels are as if to God as would be his eyes or hands.
- They said: ...for we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxed great before the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it.' (Gen 19, 13)
- God's angel stops Abraham from killing Isaac. And that angel speaks as if God, "for now I know": And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said: 'Abraham, Abraham.' And he said: 'Here am I.' And he said: 'Lay not thy hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him; for now I know that thou art a God-fearing man, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from Me.' (Gen 22, 11-12) This means that God's angels can speak as God on his behalf.
- God often speaks in the plural.
In other words, to try to distinguish between God and his angels is quite awkward, as when we distinguish between ourselves and our chair, our shirt, our glasses, our hands, our eyes, our brain cells, etc. In the Torah, as written, there is not a clear line of separation. There is an ambiguity.
God rules by restructuring his totality. We are limited and we ourselves don't typically address the totality. We can address it through God, by way of knowledge and in truth. We can thus likewise rule. We can learn to rule.
GOD REFLECTS AFTER THE FACT
God portrays himself as cognizant. Yet typically, God doesn't explain his reasons. He might not have had any reasons for creating the heavens and the earth. The justification is subsequent, "And God saw that it was good."
In my own imagination, what God knows is what God thinks is what God does is what God is. They are all the same. Thus God as such is not premeditative as we are. For as soon as God thinks a thing, it is. Thus God is not "intelligent", nor does God "understand". God is headstrong. God investigates by doing. When God entertains a question, then he at once pursues it without hesitation.
GOD INVESTIGATES HOW HUMANS CAN LEARN TO BE GOOD
God investigates: he takes a stand, follows through and reflects, over and over again. This is central to his activity. What is it that he is investigating? He is investigating the human heart. Yet he concludes that the human heart is inherently wicked. Yet he persists. Thus what he seems to be investigating is what it takes for humans to learn to be good. He adjusts his experiment as he goes along.
- God creates Adam.
- God adds Eve.
- God expels Adam and Eve.
- God floods the earth and starts anew with Noah's family.
- God confounds the people at Babel.
- God engages Abraham.
Many of these experiments start with a blessing:
- And God blessed them, saying: 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.' (Gen 1, 22)
- And God blessed them; and God said unto them: 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that creepeth upon the earth.' (Gen 1, 28)
- And God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it; because that in it He rested from all His work which God in creating had made. (Gen 2, 3)
- In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him; male and female created He them, and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. (Gen 5, 1-2)
- And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them: 'Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, and upon all wherewith the ground teemeth, and upon all the fishes of the sea: into your hand are they delivered. (Gen 9, 1-2)
God is an investigator.
- He goes through with the experiment, even if it is unsuccessful: And the LORD God said: 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.' And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto the man to see what he would call them; and whatsoever the man would call every living creature, that was to be the name thereof. And the man gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a help meet for him. (Gen 2, 19-20)
- God draws conclusions and adjusts his experiment: And the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. And the LORD said: 'I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and creeping thing, and fowl of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them.' But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. (Gen 6, 5-8)
God adjusts his experiment. God grows weary and gets involved.
- God removes a data point - Enoch: And Enoch walked with God, and he was not; for God took him. (Gen 5, 24)
- People were wicked yet they did not drive themselves to extinction. Instead, God had to wipe them out himself.
- 'Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is what they begin to do; and now nothing will be withholden from them, which they purpose to do. Come, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.' (Gen 11, 6-7)
God reflects, takes a stand and follows through
- God follows through with his experiment even though he already knew its outcome. He knew that man's imagination is inherently wicked, and yet destroyed the world anyways. And he learned that man's imagination is wicked, yet even so, man can do what is pleasant to God: And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt-offerings on the altar. And the LORD smelled the sweet savour; and the LORD said in His heart: 'I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.' (Gen 8, 20-22)
God's angel investigated, knows that Abraham fears God
- And he said: 'Lay not thy hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him; for now I know that thou art a God-fearing man, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from Me.'
God checks what is true - he sees for himself
- And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. (Gen 11, 5)
- "Verily, the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and, verily, their sin is exceeding grievous. I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto Me; and if not, I will know.'
God interrogates, makes moral inquiry
- And the LORD God called unto the man, and said unto him: 'Where art thou?' (Gen 3, 9)
- And He said: 'Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?' (Gen 3, 11)
- And the LORD God said unto the woman: 'What is this thou hast done?' (Gen 3, 13)
- God does not inquire with the serpent...
- And the LORD said unto Cain: 'Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? (Gen 4, 6)
- And the LORD said unto Cain: 'Where is Abel thy brother?' (Gen 4, 9)
- And He said: 'What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto Me from the ground. (Gen 4, 10)
- Then Sarah denied, saying: 'I laughed not'; for she was afraid. And He said: 'Nay; but thou didst laugh.' (Gen 18, 15)
- And the men said unto Lot: 'Hast thou here any besides? son-in-law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whomsoever thou hast in the city; bring them out of the place; for we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxed great before the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it.' (Gen 19, 12-13)
- Hagar, Sarai's handmaid, whence camest thou? and whither goest thou? (Gen 16, 8)
Humans likewise learn moral questioning.
- And he said: 'Behold the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?' (Gen 22, 7)
- And they called unto Lot, and said unto him: 'Where are the men that came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.' (Gen 19, 5)
- And Pharaoh called Abram, and said: 'What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? (Gen 12, 18)
God is committed to his experiment and its participants.
- This is the token of the covenant which I make between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: (Gen 9, 12)
God grows mature.
- God is not happy with himself: And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. (Gen 6, 6)
- God evolves his nature. Before Noah, there were "sons of God" who took wives from "the daughters of men", there were the "mighty men" of old. It seems that this type of (Canaanite) mythological world existed as a phase that God outgrew. See: (Gen 6, 2-4).
There is a parallelism between God's growth and people's growth. They coevolve.
God has feelings and a heart. He investigates by way of them.
- And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. (Gen 6, 6)
KNOWLEDGE ARISES WITH HUMANS
I imagine that God's mind is completely active and so he doesn't "know" but rather directly thinks. Knowledge and ignorance arise with people and their limitations. Unlike angels, people are independent agents. Thus it is relevant what they know or do not know.
God doesn't have or need names for the animals:
- And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto the man to see what he would call them; and whatsoever the man would call every living creature, that was to be the name thereof. (Gen 2, 19)
Yet God does know in the passive sense:
- And the LORD God said: 'Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.'
As the experiment evolves, as humans evolve, there is a growing background of "knowledge" and existential circumstance.
God thinks - he shows Abraham his thinking - lets him influence his thinking
- 'Shall I hide from Abraham that which I am doing; seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice; to the end that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken of him.' (Gen 18, 17-19)
Knowledge is problematic.
- Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. (Gen 3, 1)
- 'Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.' (Gen 2, 16-17)
- And the LORD said: 'Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is what they begin to do; and now nothing will be withholden from them, which they purpose to do. Come, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.' (Gen 11, 6-7)
God reflects with us. It's remarkable that God, the author, writes about himself in the third person ("In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth...") rather than the first person ("In the beginning I, God, created...").
God engages us with knowledge. In engaging us, God chooses to be objective, not subjective. It is as if God the author is reflecting. It doesn't seem like a blueprint before the fact (as some claim) but rather a reflection (along with us) after the fact. This also accords with his unusual way of writing, whereby his various "notes" and "drafts" were pulled together around 600 to 400 BCE.
- God communicates objective reality through a mishmash of encyclopedic facts: names, numbers, places, etymologies.
GOD AND PERSON CHOSE EACH OTHER
God works with people to see if he can teach them.
God is accountable, just as man is accountable. God identifies with man.
- Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made He man. (Gen 9, 6)
Humans must be able to bear their situation
- And Cain said unto the LORD: 'My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, Thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the land; and from Thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer in the earth; and it will come to pass, that whosoever findeth me will slay me.' And the LORD said unto him: 'Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.' (Gen 4, 13-15)
God limits people.
- And the LORD said: 'My spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for that he also is flesh; therefore shall his days be a hundred and twenty years.' (Gen 6, 3)
- 'Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.' (Gen 2, 16-17)
- And the LORD God said: 'Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.' 3,23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 3,24 So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way to the tree of life. (Gen 3, 23-24)
- And the LORD said: 'Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is what they begin to do; and now nothing will be withholden from them, which they purpose to do. Come, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. (Gen 11, 6-7)
Yet God encourages people that they multiply, that there be many people, though all limited.
People are taught by their conditions, their hardship.
- Unto the woman He said: 'I will greatly multiply thy pain and thy travail; in pain thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.' (Gen 3, 16)
- And unto Adam He said: 'Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying: Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in toil shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. (Gen 3, 17)
In engaging people, God limits himself by his covenant.
There are those who "walked with God" (Enoch, Noach) and those who "God was with" (Ishmael, Abraham).
God and Abraham chose each other. Abraham chose God to be his God. God chose Abraham as his believer to teach his family. Abraham and God are blessed together in each other. Abraham's family keeps to God's way so that God might fulfill his promise.
- And I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee. (Gen 17, 7)
- For I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice; to the end that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which He hath spoken of him.' (Gen 18, 9)
- And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him: 'I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be thou wholehearted. And I will make My covenant between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.' And Abram fell on his face; and God talked with him, saying: 'As for Me, behold, My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be the father of a multitude of nations. (Gen 17, 1-4)
- And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land of thy sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.' (Gen 17, 8)
- This is My covenant, which ye shall keep, between Me and you and thy seed after thee: every male among you shall be circumcised. 17,11 And ye shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of a covenant betwixt Me and you. (Gen 17, 10-11)
- And He brought him forth abroad, and said: 'Look now toward heaven, and count the stars, if thou be able to count them'; and He said unto him: 'So shall thy seed be.' And he believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness. (Gen 15, 5-6)
The covenant is by irreversible commitment (circumcision) and from earliest childhood.
God experiments through earthly blessings
- Now the LORD said unto Abram: 'Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing. And I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.' (Gen 12, 1-3)
- Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge; and afterward shall they come out with great substance. But thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. And in the fourth generation they shall come back hither; for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet full. (Gen 15, 13-16)
God is merciful to those who believe. But not all believe in God.
- And Lot went out, and spoke unto his sons-in-law, who married his daughters, and said: 'Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy the city.' But he seemed unto his sons-in-law as one that jested. (Gen 19, 14)
GOD DOESN'T HAVE TO BE GOOD
God is alert to what is good or not.
- And the LORD God said: 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.' (Gen 2, 18)
God need not show favor.
- And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering; but unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect. (Gen 4, 3-5)
People are judged by how they deal with God's lack of favor.
- And the LORD said unto Cain: 'Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 4,7 If thou doest well, shall it not be lifted up? and if thou doest not well, sin coucheth at the door; and unto thee is its desire, but thou mayest rule over it.' (Gen 4, 6-7)
Fear God because he is not necessarily good.
- And he said: 'Lay not thy hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him; for now I know that thou art a God-fearing man, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from Me.' (Gen 22, 12)
GOD'S LEEWAY AND AMBIGUITY
God is omnipotent. God can do anything.
- 'Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying: Shall I of a surety bear a child, who am old? Is any thing too hard for the LORD. (Gen 18, 13-14)
God manifests through miracles
Person asks for a sign and God has preknowledge:
- And I came this day unto the fountain, and said: O LORD, the God of my master Abraham, if now Thou do prosper my way which I go: behold, I stand by the fountain of water; and let it come to pass, that the maiden that cometh forth to draw, to whom I shall say: Give me, I pray thee, a little water from thy pitcher to drink; and she shall say to me: Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels; let the same be the woman whom the LORD hath appointed for my master's son. (Gen 24, 42-44)
God is a creator of stories
- God tells stories that are incompatible with science. He created the earth and its plants before the sun and the moon.
- God tells stories that are incompatible with each other. In the first creation story, God creates man after the animals. But in the second creation story, God creates the animals after man.
God can be negotiated with, and yet God has his way.
- And Abraham drew near, and said: 'Wilt Thou indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there are fifty righteous within the city; wilt Thou indeed sweep away and not forgive the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? (Gen 18, 23-24) ... And he said: 'Oh, let not the LORD be angry, and I will speak yet but this once. Peradventure ten shall be found there.' And He said: 'I will not destroy it for the ten's sake.' (Gen 18, 32)
- And Abraham said: 'God will provide Himself the lamb for a burnt-offering, my son.' (Gen 22, 8)
Acknowledgement and submission to God's will. It's immutability is grounded in acknowledgement by believers.
- Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said: 'The thing proceedeth from the LORD; we cannot speak unto thee bad or good. (Gen 24, 50)
People are given freedom.
- And they called Rebekah, and said unto her: 'Wilt thou go with this man?' And she said: 'I will go.' (Gen 24, 58)
Beyond God's assurance there is a wider perspective.
- And I said unto my master: Peradventure the woman will not follow me. And he said unto me: The LORD, before whom I walk, will send His angel with thee, and prosper thy way; and thou shalt take a wife for my son of my kindred, and of my father's house; then shalt thou be clear from my oath, when thou comest to my kindred; and if they give her not to thee, thou shalt be clear from my oath. (Gen 24, 39-41)
- And now if ye will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left.' (Gen 24, 49)
GOD TEACHES INVESTIGATION
God teaches investigation, inquiry.
God teaches Abraham that there is fear of God among others, there are good and pure people, and God knowing tries them and exalts them
- And Abimelech said unto Abraham: 'What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing?' 20,11 And Abraham said: 'Because I thought: Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake. (Gen 20, 10-11)
And Abraham thus grows wealthy. This is how God works.
God sends disease and health for trespass even when it is unintended and unknown so as to teach.
- And Abraham prayed unto God; and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maid-servants; and they bore children. For the LORD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham's wife. (Gen 20, 17-18)
God teaches how to behave. What to eat and not to eat. Not to kill
- Every moving thing that liveth shall be for food for you; as the green herb have I given you all. Only flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. (Gen 9, 3-4)
GOD RESPECTS FAMILY
God cares about people.
- And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins, and clothed them. (Gen 3, 21)
People care about each other.
God, like a father or relative, helps solve problems
- And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight on account of his son. And God said unto Abraham: 'Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah saith unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall seed be called to thee. And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.' (Gen 21, 11-13)
God respects family relationships.
- And the men said unto Lot: 'Hast thou here any besides? son-in-law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whomsoever thou hast in the city; bring them out of the place; (Gen 19, 12)
God is focused on men, not women. It is the males who are circumcised.
Peoples are characterized in terms of the sexual relationships of their forefathers, often incestual.
- Abraham married his half-sister.
- Lot's daughters slept with him.
GOD'S PEOPLE AS INTERMEDIARIES
Knowledge of God is available to others.
- And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine; and he was priest of God the Most High. And he blessed him, and said: 'Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Maker of heaven and earth; and blessed be God the Most High, who hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand.' (Gen 14, 19-20)
God distinguishes the holy from among others. One must believe the holy one.
God's people are the channel between God and others.
- And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phicol the captain of his host spoke unto Abraham, saying: 'God is with thee in all that thou doest. (Gen 21, 22)
When the intermediaries lack connection with God then others suffer, as when Abraham lied about his wife Sara.
The patriarchs are variants of the same value: Abraham (believer), Isaac (gullible), Jacob (trickster), Joseph (clever).
Abraham tries to prevent problems from happening
- He calls Sarah his sister.