Abel: The Unsung Hero of Faith - Between Divine Judgment and Human Virtue

Use this forum to discuss the June 2023 Philosophy Book of the Month, Killing Abel by Michael Tieman
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Sushan
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Abel: The Unsung Hero of Faith - Between Divine Judgment and Human Virtue

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This topic is about the June 2023 Philosophy Book of the Month, Killing Abel by Michael Tieman



Abel's story in the book of Genesis serves as a turning point in the biblical narrative, marking a fundamental shift in humanity's relationship with the divine. Abel's faith led to his offering being accepted by God, setting a precedent that would echo through generations. In Killing Abel, this relationship is explored in depth, shedding light on how Abel's faith influenced not only his personal journey but also the course of human history.

Michael Tieman portrays Abel as a quiet hero of faith, whose belief in God brought him closer to the divine and set a standard for future generations. Abel's faith served as a catalyst for God's condemnation of Cain's act, providing a yardstick for judgment and punishment. At the same time, Abel's faith led to his spirit being accepted by God, freeing him from the clutches of evil.

Through Abel's story, we're invited to reflect on how faith influences our actions and their consequences, how it shapes our relationship with the divine and with each other. Abel's silent yet profound heroism also prompts us to consider what lessons we can glean from his life and how they can be applied in our own spiritual journey.

How does Abel's faith challenge our understanding of virtue and morality? How might Abel's relationship with God inform our understanding of divine judgment and human agency?
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
Akangbe Opeyemi
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Re: Abel: The Unsung Hero of Faith - Between Divine Judgment and Human Virtue

Post by Akangbe Opeyemi »

God is always standing for people who have relationships with him. I read a part of the Bible today “2Chr.16.9 For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war." (NIV). God can fight for our cause which can breed divine judgment on situations that concern us.

Virtue and morality are good. Faith is strongly believing in God even in impossibilities. Abel's faith made me understand how he had a good relationship with God even after his parent's mistake. There is no how one will grow in faith and all other characteristics like virtue and morality will not improve. Faith doesn't negate virtue.
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Re: Abel: The Unsung Hero of Faith - Between Divine Judgment and Human Virtue

Post by Stoppelmann »

Author's description at Amazon:
"Killing Abel is a work of fiction based on the first passages of the book of Genesis in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible.

From "In the beginning . . ." to the Great Flood, the Bible only says about two words per year of history, for that period on earth. Not very much. From Noah to Jesus, the Bible provides us with one hundred times that amount of history to guide man.

Killing Abel takes the two words per year that God gave us, not changing a single one or changing a single context for those words, and fills in the gaps with the author's imagination.

Any foundation for a coherent worldview must start at a logical place, and there is only one choice available for where to begin, in the beginning.

If the underlying context is not Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning . . ." then it is a pretext. If you cannot trace your worldview back to a beginning, then what is it based on? If it has no beginning, then it has no foundation. Of all the tasks a man could face in life, the one I would least like to undertake is that of trying to deny a beginning.

Killing Abel is written with the premise that God is open to doing as He pleases. Neither you nor I can bear up against what is true in an attempt to make God out to be something that fits our own misconceptions/conceptions that are not based on God's actions.

In Killing Abel, God is depicted as a loving Father, which is not always an easy role to play, as many mortal fathers would readily admit. Being a good father is the most important, most difficult, and without exception, the most consequential obligation a man has.

In the truest sense of the word, I believe that Killing Abel is a novel interpretation of the historical events from Adam to Noah.

This is not meant to be theology―it is the fictional account of a loving Father and His children based on what little is revealed in the Bible.

Perhaps God chose not to reveal much about the first 1,700 years of man's history so that man would think more about those early days. I hope that my imagination will entice you to use yours as you read a novel view of the killing of Abel."
“Find someone who makes you realise three things:
One, that home is not a place, but a feeling.
Two, that time is not measured by a clock, but by moments.
And three, that heartbeats are not heard, but felt and shared.”
― Abhysheq Shukla
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Re: Abel: The Unsung Hero of Faith - Between Divine Judgment and Human Virtue

Post by Sushan »

Akangbe Opeyemi wrote: June 15th, 2023, 6:29 pm God is always standing for people who have relationships with him. I read a part of the Bible today “2Chr.16.9 For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war." (NIV). God can fight for our cause which can breed divine judgment on situations that concern us.

Virtue and morality are good. Faith is strongly believing in God even in impossibilities. Abel's faith made me understand how he had a good relationship with God even after his parent's mistake. There is no how one will grow in faith and all other characteristics like virtue and morality will not improve. Faith doesn't negate virtue.
Thank you for sharing your reflections on the intertwining of faith, virtue, and morality. The scripture you quoted from 2 Chronicles indeed reinforces the idea that a heart committed to God can tap into divine strength and guidance, which aligns closely with the themes explored in Michael Tieman's "Killing Abel".

The connection you drew between Abel's faith and the improvement of other characteristics such as virtue and morality is particularly poignant. It is true that faith can act as a catalyst for personal growth in multiple dimensions, and Abel's story is a profound example of this.

However, I would like to delve a bit deeper into the implications of Abel's faith and the divine judgment it invites. If we look closely, Abel's faith didn't just improve his virtue and morality, but it served as a critical basis for God's judgment. His unwavering faith was the standard against which Cain's actions were evaluated and condemned. Does this then suggest that our actions, irrespective of their moral and ethical standing, are judged based on the depth of our faith?

Also, your reference to the concept of time is intriguing. Time indeed waits for no one, and perhaps this adds another layer to the understanding of faith. Abel's faith was not predicated on time or circumstances, but it was unwavering and steadfast. Could this be a call for us to cultivate a similar kind of faith, one that is independent of time and external circumstances?

I am interested in hearing your thoughts on these further implications of Abel's faith as portrayed in the book, and how they relate to our contemporary understanding of faith, virtue, and divine judgment.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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Re: Abel: The Unsung Hero of Faith - Between Divine Judgment and Human Virtue

Post by Sushan »

Stoppelmann wrote: June 21st, 2023, 4:11 am Author's description at Amazon:
"Killing Abel is a work of fiction based on the first passages of the book of Genesis in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible.

From "In the beginning . . ." to the Great Flood, the Bible only says about two words per year of history, for that period on earth. Not very much. From Noah to Jesus, the Bible provides us with one hundred times that amount of history to guide man.

Killing Abel takes the two words per year that God gave us, not changing a single one or changing a single context for those words, and fills in the gaps with the author's imagination.

Any foundation for a coherent worldview must start at a logical place, and there is only one choice available for where to begin, in the beginning.

If the underlying context is not Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning . . ." then it is a pretext. If you cannot trace your worldview back to a beginning, then what is it based on? If it has no beginning, then it has no foundation. Of all the tasks a man could face in life, the one I would least like to undertake is that of trying to deny a beginning.

Killing Abel is written with the premise that God is open to doing as He pleases. Neither you nor I can bear up against what is true in an attempt to make God out to be something that fits our own misconceptions/conceptions that are not based on God's actions.

In Killing Abel, God is depicted as a loving Father, which is not always an easy role to play, as many mortal fathers would readily admit. Being a good father is the most important, most difficult, and without exception, the most consequential obligation a man has.

In the truest sense of the word, I believe that Killing Abel is a novel interpretation of the historical events from Adam to Noah.

This is not meant to be theology―it is the fictional account of a loving Father and His children based on what little is revealed in the Bible.

Perhaps God chose not to reveal much about the first 1,700 years of man's history so that man would think more about those early days. I hope that my imagination will entice you to use yours as you read a novel view of the killing of Abel."
The author's approach to extrapolating the sparse details provided in the Book of Genesis is both imaginative and respectful of the original text. Rather than altering the given words or their context, he seeks to fill in the gaps using his creative perspective, ultimately enabling a deeper exploration of Abel's faith and its far-reaching implications.

The proposition that God may have deliberately left certain details sparse to encourage contemplation and interpretation is intriguing. It invites us to reflect on the narrative and the characters in a more profound way, perhaps discovering insights that weren't immediately apparent.

As you've pointed out, Abel's faith serves as a touchstone in the biblical narrative, influencing not just his personal journey but the course of human history. It sets a standard of belief, and it's through this lens that we can better understand the divine judgement and human agency.

However, I can see how this interpretation might be provocative to some, as it involves a degree of speculation. It's essential to remember that while the author's imaginative filling of gaps offers one possible perspective, it isn't meant to be definitive. It's a starting point for discussion and exploration, not a conclusion.

In that spirit, I would love to hear more thoughts on this. What do you think of the idea that God may have intentionally left gaps in the narrative to stimulate our thinking? And how might this reinterpretation of Abel's faith affect our understanding of morality and virtue?
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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Re: Abel: The Unsung Hero of Faith - Between Divine Judgment and Human Virtue

Post by Stoppelmann »

Sushan wrote: June 23rd, 2023, 10:01 am However, I can see how this interpretation might be provocative to some, as it involves a degree of speculation. It's essential to remember that while the author's imaginative filling of gaps offers one possible perspective, it isn't meant to be definitive. It's a starting point for discussion and exploration, not a conclusion.

In that spirit, I would love to hear more thoughts on this. What do you think of the idea that God may have intentionally left gaps in the narrative to stimulate our thinking? And how might this reinterpretation of Abel's faith affect our understanding of morality and virtue?
The question, whether God left gaps, makes the problem visible. It is a symbolic story by human beings, imagining the beginning of humanity as a creation of one leading to more, and the introduction of fratricide, suggesting it was right at the beginning and is therefore an inherent problem of humanity. In the story, God lets it happen, and then accuses Cain, cursing him with a mark that will be seen by all. This isn't a story like any other but writing it as a novel tries to do that - and the story loses its character.
“Find someone who makes you realise three things:
One, that home is not a place, but a feeling.
Two, that time is not measured by a clock, but by moments.
And three, that heartbeats are not heard, but felt and shared.”
― Abhysheq Shukla
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Sushan
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Re: Abel: The Unsung Hero of Faith - Between Divine Judgment and Human Virtue

Post by Sushan »

Stoppelmann wrote: June 23rd, 2023, 10:29 am
Sushan wrote: June 23rd, 2023, 10:01 am However, I can see how this interpretation might be provocative to some, as it involves a degree of speculation. It's essential to remember that while the author's imaginative filling of gaps offers one possible perspective, it isn't meant to be definitive. It's a starting point for discussion and exploration, not a conclusion.

In that spirit, I would love to hear more thoughts on this. What do you think of the idea that God may have intentionally left gaps in the narrative to stimulate our thinking? And how might this reinterpretation of Abel's faith affect our understanding of morality and virtue?
The question, whether God left gaps, makes the problem visible. It is a symbolic story by human beings, imagining the beginning of humanity as a creation of one leading to more, and the introduction of fratricide, suggesting it was right at the beginning and is therefore an inherent problem of humanity. In the story, God lets it happen, and then accuses Cain, cursing him with a mark that will be seen by all. This isn't a story like any other but writing it as a novel tries to do that - and the story loses its character.
Your interpretation is thought-provoking, especially when considering the symbolic implications of fratricide in this story. It's a significant point that, by transforming this narrative into a novelistic form, the original character of the story could be lost. However, could this shift also provide new ways of exploring and understanding the themes inherent in the narrative, such as human fallibility, divine intervention, and the nature of good and evil? Would this reinterpretation allow us to delve deeper into the complexities of these issues?
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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Re: Abel: The Unsung Hero of Faith - Between Divine Judgment and Human Virtue

Post by Prince Oyedeji Oyeleke Jayeola »

Have you rightly said Abel is an unsung Hero of Faith. His death was as a result of his unwavering love for God. I ask myself questions on the events surrounding his death. But, I love how Micheal Tieman write addressed this in the book.
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Re: Abel: The Unsung Hero of Faith - Between Divine Judgment and Human Virtue

Post by Sushan »

Prince Oyedeji Oyeleke Jayeola wrote: August 26th, 2023, 11:29 am Have you rightly said Abel is an unsung Hero of Faith. His death was as a result of his unwavering love for God. I ask myself questions on the events surrounding his death. But, I love how Micheal Tieman write addressed this in the book.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I too find myself grappling with the complex events surrounding Abel's demise, especially given the magnitude of his faith. It's fascinating how Michael Tieman has brought new depth to Abel's character, helping us unpack those very questions and emotions.

Abel's unwavering love for God, as you mentioned, led to a tragic end. Yet, his story continues to inspire countless generations. In many ways, it underscores the unpredictable nature of life and the sacrifices that might arise from holding steadfast to one's convictions.

Building on your reflection, I wonder how Abel's narrative can help us navigate the challenges and dilemmas we face in our own spiritual quests. How can his story of commitment and sacrifice guide us in situations where we are confronted with choosing between our faith and worldly expectations?
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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