The pharoah ordered his Eqyptian supervisors to make the Israelites’ lives “bitter with hard service.” Yet the more the Israelites were oppressed, “the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad.”
"Fear,” writes Karl Barth, “is the anticipation of a supposedly certain defeat.” Fear describes Joseph’s brothers, who fear and hate their brother’s favored status. Fear strikes the hearts of Jesus’ disciples when they see him walking toward them on the water.
Maybe it was time for Abram to move on. After all, he and his wife Sarai had been living in Ur for many years. Abram’s father had died, and Abram had lost his brother Haran to an untimely death. Moving on might do both him and Sarai some good. Yet we all know that in the wake of crises like these, moving on is sometimes difficult. Nostalgia can be paralyzing.
Some time ago the New York Times ran this headline in its science section: “Before the Big Bang, There Was . . . What?” The article surveyed cosmologists, those who study the whole physical universe, or, as some of them believe, universes.