More Than a Slave Woman

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In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: In Galatians 4, Paul, using allegory, famously addressed those who were trying to earn their salvation. Abraham had two sons: one by a slave woman, and another by a free woman; he had one son naturally, and the other supernaturally. Hagar represented those who are born under the Old Covenant, those who live under the law are slaves to the law, trying to earn their salvation. Sarah, on the other hand, represented those who are born according to the Spirit and are free to be sons supernaturally redeemed by God’s grace rather than by their own merit. The problem is not that Paul used Hagar and Sarah here as a metaphor. Before even starting this train of thought, Paul himself says: “These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants” (Gal 4:24). The problem is that Paul’s metaphor has been used wrongly to take precedence in Christian interpretation of Genesis 16 and 21, creating a precedent for allegorizing her to the point where she no longer seems human.
Hagar, Slave, Genesis 16, Genesis 21