What is so interesting about the story of Abraham and the near-sacrifice of his son is that on many other occasions Abraham argued with his God and reasoned with Him. For instance, when God was en route to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham argues at length with Him and persuades God to spare the towns if He can find ten good men within them. This sort of occurrence is entirely absent from the Qu'ran, where at one point Abraham concedes "I have no power to get aught on thy behalf from God"; but in Genesis, Abraham's God does not command him, but is rather his companion.

The exception, of course, is when God tells him to sacrifice "your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love". Abraham's doubts, if he has any, are not recorded; he simply sets about the task at hand. But what we know of Abraham's willingness to argue with God ought to make us doubt the usual interpretation of this, that it was simply a test of Abraham's faith and capacity to sacrifice everything for God.

One interpretation hence suggests that this story has another meaning: Abraham is confidently demonstrating that God will keep His side of their covenant. It is of course entirely unreasonable for God to ask for the sacrifice of Isaac, a man made in His own image and told he would inherit the Promised Land; and so Abraham went along, being entirely truthful when he said to his son, whilst preparing the sacrifice, that God would provide a lamb for it. Seen this way, the story more aptly illustrates a faith in God's reasonableness, not his demand for obedience. And don't forget that Isaac means "he laughs", perhaps for more reason than one.