Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.
I have often wondered how it was that Abraham arrived at the conclusion that this command really came from God. The text of Genesis doesn't hint at any particular evidence being given - no physcial manifestations of God's glory or the like. Even if such evidences had been made available, I think responsible theologians would have told Abraham that this voice could not be God. Certainly, if someone came to me and said that God was telling them to offer their child as a human sacrifice, I would say that whatever, or whoever, was responsible for the suggestion it certainly wasn't God.
But Genesis records no hesitation on the part of Abraham; no wrestling with the issue; no attempts to reason it out. Abraham rose early the next morning and got on his donkey, heading for the site of the sacrifice, with Isaac in tow carrying the wood.
Abraham is commended throughout Scripture for his faith. Is this an example of commendable faith - obedience to God's command even when it flies in the face of ethics, rationality and basic common sense - even when it appears to contradict earlier promises made by God?
Clearly there is something in the word of God here that overcomes all Abraham's natural reluctance to engage in infanticide. God's word, with no other supporting evidence whatsoever, is sufficient to put Abraham on his donkey.
So why, when it comes to the word of Christ - the gospel - are we so anxious to surround it with rational proofs? Why are we so keen to iron out all the difficulties? Why are we so eager to turn it into something a little less radical and a little more palatable?
Does God's Word create faith, or doesn't it?