Why Circumcision?

desert and stars Abraham

And God said to Abraham, “…You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.” Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised. (Genesis 17:9,11,24)

What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness.’ (Romans 4:1-3)

 

There is no denying that circumcision is a bizarre ancient ritual. In fact, scholars from a wide range of disciplines continue to debate the purpose and origin of the practice.

I’m the kind of person who gets tripped up on stories that aren’t clear to me and I’ve long wondered about this part of Genesis.

Now, a couple decades later, I think I finally understand it (or at least, enough of it).

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From the Beginning

tree in garden of eden

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)

“…through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)

I’ve found that the Genesis story of Adam and Eve is fascinating in many regards. But one particularly interesting dimension of the story is that it tells us about the first distancing that occurs in humankind’s relationship with God.

This is not a trivial theological matter. This is the story of humankind’s first break from God. Doubt enters in. And humans no longer commune with God as they once did.

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