When Sarah laughs at the thought of having a child with Abraham, she says to G-d it is because Abraham is too old (he is approaching 100) rather than because she, at 90, is too old. However, G-d tells Abraham that Sarah believes it is she who is too old. Does this mean that G-d told Abraham a little white lie? If so, what are the implications of this for human behavior? If not, how can we explain this passage in Scripture?
One of the Christian (I’m not sure if it is specifically Catholic) explanations is that G-d did NOT lie but rather related to Abraham only a portion of what Sarah said to Him, and G-d omitted the remainder of what Sarah said. The reasoning for the omission is that G-d did not want to upset Abraham and spoil his relationship with his wife, yet, at the same time, G-d NEVER lies since it is not in His nature to do anything evil. Nonetheless, is there any evidence in the biblical text that G-d omitted some of what Sarah told Him?
Another possible explanation I thought of is that G-d related to Abraham what Sarah REALLY meant rather than what she said. She might have been blaming Abraham by her words but she in fact internally felt that it was SHE who was too old to bear a child.
The main Jewish explanation of these verses is that G-d did indeed tell a white lie to Abraham, revealing as a lesson to humankind that this is sometimes, albeit rarely, permissible. In this instance, it was for the purpose of keeping the peace and domestic tranquility between Abraham and Sarah rather than upsetting and doing emotional harm to both of them. Two of the major attributes of G-d are Peace (Shalom) and Truth, but G-d is instructing us that sometimes these two virtues come into conflict with one another in the course of human behavior. That is, G-d is teaching us that we must exercise wisdom to determine in each individual situation whether peace or truth is more essential and beneficial. Nonetheless, does this make G-d a liar?
What are your thoughts about this passage from Scripture from a Catholic perspective and a personal perspective?