Edited & republished from a previous long-standing document on 26 November, 2016.
Abraham is accredited as father of nations; Isaac (followers of the higher Biblical God) is held the legitimate succession; Ishmael (followers of other Gods still in some way creditworthy) the illegitimate succession. We needs note that both are clear successions & the God of Abraham arrived at a separate covenant with each; according to their standing with him.
Isaac endeavors to operate to the high standards of the Biblical God; thus his chosen people to whom God exercises duty of care. Ishmael follows lower Gods or more mundane aspirations, still of sufficient merit for the Biblical God to exercise duty of consideration.
While distinctly different levels of Covenant; each is clearly off some worth in the eyes of the One God of Abraham. Thus fulfilling Abraham’s plea in Genesis 17:18 ~I wish that Ishmael too stood good in your sight~ Duty of consideration is clearly below duty of care; but attests Ishmael’s serving of other Gods may also be of some merit.
Which begs the questions…
Just who & what is Isaac exactly & how do we trace his heirs & successors?
Just who or what is Ishmael exactly, & how do we trace & accredit his modern day successors?
Just who is included in the family of Abraham, & what contentious major religion may not even be an Abrahamic faith?
d/click to open…
I have long been clear in my own mind; where the Isaac Covenant is taken up by mainstream Jews & Christians committed to serve a higher God; & where the Ishmael Covenant is taken up by a ~loose confederacy~ of faiths that follow other Gods, provided said faiths are creditworthy efforts; then Muhammad’s pretensions to be the inheritor of either Covenant is wholly without foundation.
In my view Ishmael can only be a grouping of non-Biblical faiths; provided said faiths are genuine attempts to build creditworthy societies as they understand such in the conditions they live in & at their levels of development.
I have long held the ~nominal~ twelve tribes & nations of Ishmael can only be a loose Confederacy of other faiths; ranging from Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Aztec Religions, presumed Divine right of Kings & Emperors, Civil Religions, Atheism et al. If both the Isaac & Ishmael Covenants are clearly spoken for, their heirs & successors apparent; then Muhammad’s claims are false.
I do not include the natural religions to which most of humanity variously subscribed too for the first 40,000 years of hunter-gatherer, surface scavenger existence; as members of the family of Abraham. These all assumed the natural world held some type of dominion over humanity.
Adam is accredited as the first intentional developer-builder man who exercised some type of transcendent dominion over the natural world; so was charged with duty of prudence in his self-management. Both Isaac & Ishmael are descendants of Adam, intentional developer-builder man made in the image of a developer-builder God, NOT descendants of the pre-Adamic natural religions.
To close on the matter of Abraham; why is he so important TO ME?
Adam is accredited as living 930 years, a period of early axial age man. Thus Adam is not a single person but the Biblically accredited time-period of earliest axial-age society. His society was struggling towards higher development, but found itself at the mercy of capricious forces it did not understand. (Most particularly he was the victim of failings in human nature which he did not understand)
Noah was also the victim of forces he could only attribute to an aggrieved God. Noah’s flood is probably a retained memory of the meltdown from the last ice-age; which would have submerged most low lying human settlement. It’s been removed from historical sequence & used as a moral lesson, as that is what the Bible does.
Abraham is accredited as originating from the city of UR, a remnant of early Sumerian civilization. He & his extended family may have lost a power struggle in Ur; they seem to have found it prudent to leave; to become a wandering group of nomads. Yet rather than going feral; they resolved to remain a constructive group with higher aspirations.
It was Abraham who first resolved, if these ups & downs are what life is going to keep throwing at us; we have got to get on top of it. Take ownership, establish some solid foundational precepts on which we can stand, aspire to serve a God at the top end of the human spectrum; one who exercises sound governance & administration combined with consideration for human fallibilities; & commit to Him in good times or in bad. This is the only way we can hope to be a creditworthy species in all the various conditions life throws at us.
Thus Abraham is foundational; the first man to take ownership & seek to build a higher systemic theology we might aspire to serve no matter what life throws at us. Since then both Bible & a range of other efforts have built up & developed from this early & simple base.
Thus Abraham is the foundation, spirit & base model for all the more developed efforts the Bible & humanity generally has bought forth since.
Abraham (through the Isaac Covenant) is the accredited father of the Biblical religions; commencing with the Jews who as God’s chosen people in the laboratory state of Israel, did all the R&D work necessary to make a higher God manifest in some coherent form. Concluding with Christ & the Trinity which formed the completed product; so becoming actively~ missional~ in taking this higher faith to all people; confident it could attract converts on its own merits. Christ commands ~invite all who will come~
While (through the Ishmael Covenant) Abraham is also the father of a diverse range of other faiths. Every good faith effort to build a creditworthy society must start with some person who takes ownership & endeavors to get on top of the challenges confronting humans; making Abraham the father of all major faiths, at least in ~genre~ if not in any one person. The only major religion I exclude is Islam; as a faith seeking to variously ~coerce~ submission & ~impose~ its aberrant writ, is hardly a good-faith effort that can stand & compete on its own credit-worthy merits.