When I was listening to John Barclay talk about Paul’s notion that Abraham received grace without regard to his worth, I vaguely remembered something I had read in another book by Jon Levenson.
I found it. Levenson has been talking about various rabbinical interpretations of the near sacrifice of Isaac by his father, Abraham. He says:
The larger theological point is that the trials of the righteous serve to demonstrate not God’s injustice, as many think to be the case, but quite the opposite, the fairness of his choices. For those choices are not mere whims, evidence of the arbitrariness of providence, and the proof is that those chosen, like Abraham, for exaltation, are able to pass the brutal tests to which God subjects them and thus to vindicate the grace God has shown to them. The trials that appear to be their humiliation are, in fact, the means of…
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