God began the creation saying, “Let there be light!” From the first moment of cosmic existence, light has been the illuminating and invigorating factor. Consequently, we can go back before Jesus (the fullness of Light) and see men and women who embodied the light of faith.
For those of us in the faith traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam our common light-bearer is Abraham. We see others before him, but we begin with Abraham because here is where the God-human covenant is made that brings “the people of God” into being.
In God’s relationship with Abraham we see the I-Thou nature of faith–the culmination of the same personalization that we saw in God’s relation with Adam, Eve, Noah and the generations of people named in the genealogies found early in Genesis.
Abraham is our focal point, because through him all of the earth is to be blessed. The blessing is initiated in God’s call and enacted by Abraham’s (and his family’s) response. The response is one if faith, not sight–trust, not certainty. And this sets the pattern for all the rest of us. God is trustworthy. Our faith is possible because God is faithful.
This is where the life of God in the human soul begins. As Richard Foster has described it, God says, “I will be with you,” and then asks, “Will you be with me?” Our positive response ignites the light of faith in us, and like Abraham, we leave our Urs and move toward our promised land.