Taguchi: Stars-A A +A
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
GOD brought Abram outside and said,“Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them. So shall your descendants be.” Abram believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.” Genesis 15:5-6.
The casual reader would assume that this scene of the covenant between Yahweh and Abram (late changed to Abraham) takes place at night because stars, a multitude of them, are mentioned.
Does it? Let’s take a closer look.
In the verse that follows, the above covenant, in which God makes Abraham the ancestral founder of Israel and Judaism, is immediately sealed with an animal sacrifice “as the sun was going down.”
This suggests that the above scene unfolds not in the dead of night but when the sun has not yet fully withdrawn its light. Therefore, the stars are not visible.
Yet Abraham is challenged to have unquestioning faith and trust in Yahweh’s promise.
The “poetic theme” of this scene is faith is believing the stars are in the heavens even when they are not there as they are being spoken of as being there.
The sign of the stars pointed out by Yahweh to Abraham when he makes the covenant with him ties up with another covenantal sign: the star of Bethlehem.
Both signs reveal the faith needed to believe that the incredible promise of a Chosen People first revealed to Abraham is sustained and given full meaning in the incredible virgin birth of Jesus, Son of God.
It is hard to believe the promise because Abraham’s wife is barren and beyond the childbearing years.
Take note that this hard-to-believe promise develops from incredible to ludicrous.
In the Old Testament, Abraham must suspend his disbelief, and trust that he will be the patriarch of a nation, even though the biological possibility that this reality would happen is virtually nil.
But in the New Testament, Mary stretches out this faith even farther, for she makes no detours (as Abraham does) in accepting by faith that she would conceive a divine son, virginally.
Faith-wise, the fiat of Mary overreaches that of Abraham.
It is for this reason that she is the best model of faith.
Ancestry-wise, Jews and Arabs claim Abraham as their common patriarch.
Religion-wise, the link between Judaism and Christianity is rooted in the Abrahamic covenant, as scripturally immortalized with the symbolism of the stars.
In other words, Judaism and Christianity gaze starry-eyed at the stars, as far as Yahweh’s covenant with Abraham is concerned.
Nearby, Islam can also appreciate how beautiful the stars of Abraham are.
It is another star, the star of Bethlehem pointed out by the three wise men in Matthew 1:2 that has caused the three religions to look cross-eyed at each other—for this star signifies the birth of the God-Man, Emmanuel.
Emmanuel, which means God is with us or God becoming man, born virginally, is so mind-boggling and even blasphemous, that it overstretches one’s imagination to breaking point.
But to us who celebrate Emmanuel’s birth today, we are like Abraham and Mary.
Whether the stars are shining in the sky or not, we know they’re there.
Those who refuse to believe that this unnatural birth could really happen seem to say, on a clear night when the stars are clearly visible, that they are not there.
Well, we must respect the beliefs and disbeliefs of others, including atheists who do not believe in a creator.
They only believe in themselves.
In other words, if the whole of reality were a movie, sila ang star!
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 24, 2013.