How did God intend to "in Abraham's seed bless the nations"
I had always thought the promise to Abraham that "In your seed all the nations
shall be blessed" was a round-about way of blessing. The options being:
Israel will be an example, do good works, etc.
Israel will result in Christ who will bless the nations.
The first option is a very weak sort of blessing compared with what we think
of as the blessings of God (His life and holy character).
The second option does not seem to be what the author had in mind given that
the seed is more numerous than the sand.
But the option I have suggested sees the blessing as the relationship with God
by faith, but available to all, and therefore to all the nations. It does not
have the problems of either of the other two views, and seems less convoluted,
even though it means a very different interpretation.
David John Marotta, Medical Center Computing, Stacey Hall
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Date: Wed, 7 Oct 1992 16:30:00 -0500 (CDT)
From: Tom Geer <GEER@acuvax.acu.edu>
Subject: RE: NO SUBJECT
1) I would greatly suspect that when the author (or even editor) of Gen 15
used the term "seed" he would have naturally concluded that Abraham's seed
was the nation of Israel. Paul's perspective of Christ being "The seed"
enables him to see it a little differently. One difference being that
the statement was probably originally taken to mean that God would bless
all peoples through Israel. Paul sees that "blessing" in a special way
and related specifically to Christ.
2) Paul, I think, would see his different perspective on this passage as
just that -- a different perspective possible only in Christ. That would
not necessarily mean that his previous understanding was "wrong." Certainly
Paul thought God had blessed all nations by Israel; but that blessing of
Gentiles being God's people without circumcision and law-keeping is a
special way that Christ has blessed all nations.
I see Paul doing something like this: His opponents in Galatia had used
Abraham as the prime example of someone who kept the law before there
was a law. Paul agrees with the importance of Abraham, but not on that basis.
He is important because he had a relationship with God because of his faith.
Thus, not people of the law are his descendants, but people of faith. And
thus Gentiles can now be regarded as his descendants; but this is possilbe
(possible) because of Christ. I think that what Paul says in v. 8: "In you
all nations of the earth will be blessed" is how he perceives the "good news"
in Galatia. Gentiles don't have to be circumcised and be law-keepers; they
are accepted as Gentiles.
I've probably taken this discussion away from what is expected on a NT Greek
list. Sorry 'bout that. But while I'm here, does anyone out there have
any insight into the phrase Paul uses in Gal. 4:15 "You would have dug out
your eyes and given them to me"? I'm curious as to whether that is an idiom
similar to "you would have given me your right arm" or if Paul uses that
particular phrase because that was his problem. I'm very much inclined toward
the idiom idea, but I've not seen it elsewhere. Have any of you?