Thursday, January 03, 2013

Abraham: How he came to the knowledge of God?

Abraham was seven years old when he began to seek God. So one day he said to his father: 'Father, what made man?'
His father answered: 'Man [made man]; for I made you, and my father made me.'
Abraham answered: 'Father, it is not so; for I have heard an old man weeping and saying: 'O my God, why have you not given me children?''

His father replied: 'It is true, that God helps man to make man, but he does not put his hands to [the task]; it is only necessary that man come to pray to his God and to give him lambs and sheep, and his God will help him.'
Abraham answered: 'How many gods are there, father?'
The old man replied: 'They are infinite in number, my son.'

Then Abraham said: 'O father, what shall I do if I serve one god and another [god] wishes me evil because I do not serve him? In any case discord will come between them, and so war will arise among the gods. And if, perhaps, the god that wills me evil shall slay my own god, what shall I do? It is certain that he will slay me also.’

The old man, laughing, answered: "You have no fear, for no god makes war upon another god; no, in the great temple there are a thousand gods with the great god Baal; and I am now near seventy years old, and yet never have I seen that one god has smitten another god. And assuredly all men do not serve one god, but one man one, and another."

Abraham answered: "So, then, they have peace among themselves?"
His father said: "They have."
Then said Abraham: "O father, what be the gods like?"
The old man answered: "Fool, every day I make a god, which I sell to others to buy bread, and you know not what the gods are like!"

And then at that moment he was making an idol. "This," said he, "is of palm wood, that one is of olive, that little one is of ivory: see how fine it is! Does it not seem as though it were alive? Assuredly, it lacks but breath!"

Abraham answered: "And so, father, the gods are without breath? Then how do they give breath? And being without life, how give they life? It is certain, father, that these are not God."
The old man was wroth at these words, saying: "If you were of age to understand, I would break your head with this axe: But hold your peace, because you have not understanding!"

Abraham answered: "Father, if the gods help to make man, how can it be that man should make the gods? And if the gods are made of wood, it is a great sin to burn wood. But tell me, father, how is it that, when you have made so many gods, the gods have not helped you to make so many other children that you should become the most powerful man in the world?"

The father was beside himself, hearing his son speak so; the son went on: "Father, was the world for some time without men?"
“Yes," answered the old man, "and why?"
"Because," said Abraham, "I should like to know who made the first God."

"Now go out of my house!" said the old man, "and leave me to make this god quickly, and speak no words to me; for, when you are hungry you desire bread and not words."
Abraham said: "A fine god, truly, that you cut him as you will, and he defends not himself!"

Then the old man was angry, and said: "All the world says that it is a god, and you, mad fellow, say that it is not. By my gods, if you were a man I could kill you!"
And having said this, he gave blows and kicks to Abraham, and chased him from the house."

"One day, Abraham having come to the age of twelve years, his father said to him: "Tomorrow is the festival of all the gods; therefore we shall go to the great temple and bear a present to my god, great Baal. And you shall choose for yourself a god, for you are of age to have a god."
Abraham answered with guile: "Willingly, O my father."

And so betimes in the morning they went before every one else to the temple. But Abraham bare beneath his tunic an axe hidden. Whereupon, having entered into the temple, as the crowd increased Abraham hid himself behind an idol in a dark part of the temple. His father, when he departed, believed that Abraham had gone home before him, wherefore he did not stay to seek him."

When every one had departed from the temple, the priests closed the temple and went away. Then Abraham took the axe and cut off the feet of all the idols, except the great god Baal. At its feet he placed the axe, amid the ruins which the statues made, for they, through being old and composed of pieces, fell in pieces.

Thereupon, Abraham, going forth from the temple, seen by certain men, who suspected him of having gone to thieve something from the temple. So they laid hold on him, and having arrived at the temple, when they saw their gods so broken in pieces, they cried out with lamentation: "Come quickly, O men, and let us slay him who has slain our gods!"

There ran together there about ten thousand men, with the priests, and questioned Abraham of the reason why he had destroyed their gods.
Abraham answered: "You are foolish! Shall then a man slay God? It is the great God that has slain them. See you not that axe which he has near his feet? Certain it is that he desires no fellows."

Then arrived there the father of Abraham, who, mindful of the many discourses of Abraham against their gods, and recognizing the axe wherewith Abraham had broken in pieces the idols, cried out: "It has been this traitor of a son of mine, who has slain our gods! for this axe is mine."

And he recounted to them all that had passed between him and his son. Accordingly the men collected a great quantity of wood, and having bound Abraham's hands and feet put him upon the wood, and put fire underneath.

'Lo! God, through his angel, commanded the fire that it should not burn Abraham his servant. The fire blazed up with great fury, and burned about two thousand men of those who had condemned Abraham to death. Abraham truly found himself free, being carried by the angel of God near to the house of his father, without seeing who carried him; and thus Abraham escaped death."

"Having arrived near to the house of his father, Abraham feared to go into the house; so he removed [himself] some distance from the house and sat under a palm tree, where, being by himself, he said:"There must be a God who has life and power more than man, since he makes man, and man without God could not make man."

Thereupon, looking round upon the stars, the moon, and the sun, he thought that they had been God. But after considering their variableness with their movements, he said: "It must be [necessarily] that God does not move and that clouds do not hide him [as they hide the planets]; otherwise men would be reduced to nothing."

Remaining thus in suspense, he heard himself called by name, "Abraham!" And so, turning round and not seeing any one on any side, he said: "I am sure I heard myself called by name, 'Abraham. "
Then, two other times in a similar manner, he heard himself called by name, "Abraham!"
He answered: "What calls me?"

Then he heard [the voice] say: "I am the angel of God, Gabriel."
Abraham was filled with fear; but the angel comforted him, saying: "Do not fear, Abraham, for you are friend of God When you broke in pieces the gods of men, you were chosen [by] the God of the angels and prophets such that you are written in the Book of Life."

Then said Abraham: "What should I do [so as] to serve the God of the angels and holy prophets?"
The angel answered: "Go to that fount and wash yourself, for God wishes to speak with you."
Abraham answered: "How should I wash myself?"

Then the angel appeared to him as a beautiful youth, and washed himself in the fount, saying: "Do the same as this, O Abraham."
When Abraham had washed himself, the angel said: "Go up that mountain, for God wilshes to speak to you there."

Abraham ascended the mountain as the angel [had instructed him], and having sat down upon his knees he said to himself: "When will the God of the angels speak to me?"
He heard himself called with a gentle voice: "Abraham!"
Abraham answered him: "Who calls me?"
The voice answered: "I am your God, O Abraham."
Abraham, filled with fear, bent his face to earth, saying: "How shall your servant who is dust and ashes hearken to you!"

Then said God: "Fear not, but rise up, for I have chosen you as my servant, and I will bless you and make you increase into a great people. Therefore go forth from the house of your father and of your kindred, and come to dwell in the land which I will give to you and to your seed."

Abraham answered: "I will do everything, Lord; but guard me [so] that no other god may harm me."
Then God spoke, saying: "I am God alone, and there is none other god but me. I strike down, and make whole; I slay, and give life; I lead down to hell, and I bring out thereof, and no-one is able to deliver himself out of my hands."
Then God gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so our father Abraham knew God."

The End.
Not Yet Verified.

Source: Gospel of Barnabas

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