Originally a history professor on the planet Ungara, Abin Sur was soon appointed Green Lantern of Space Sector 2814 in the mid 1860s. As a child, he became best friends with Ruch Ehr and later, by association, Munni Jah. The two of them were a couple and Abin secretly loved Munni, but never overtly spoke of this.
Recruited by the Green Lantern known as Starkaðr, he is known to have come to Earth on several occasions. In the Old West, he teamed up with an Henry Lee Jordan, an ancestor of Hal Jordan, to battle an alien named Traitor (who was responsible for the death of Starkaðr).
During World War Two, he briefly encountered Starman and Bulletman when the three battled an alien being under the control of Mr. Mind. After the disbandment of the JSA, he visited Earth once more in pursuit of the genocidal criminal Tybalt Bak'sar, where he encountered the Martian Manhunter.
Abin would importantly learn about a prophecy that concerned the fate of the universe known as the Blackest Night. His curiosity on the Blackest Night led him on a journey to the planet Ysmault and interrogated its inhabitants the Five Inversions, who had foreseen the prophecy. Qull of the Five Inversions told Abin about The Black, a complete antithesis of the Emotional Spectrum, that will consume all life. Abin's questions also foretold him about the War of Light, the downfall of the Green Lantern Corps, and as well his death, when his ring fails him at a critical moment, but will be succeeded by his successor that will be the greatest amongst his contemporaries.
Abin's discovery of the prophecy of the Blackest Night was also previously written in the Book of Oa. However, the prophecy was believed to be a lie concocted by their enemies by the Guardians of the Universe in which the passage on the Blackest Night was later removed from the Book of Oa. Only two Guardians, Ganthet and Sayd, as well as a Zamaron tribe, would take his discovery seriously. Regardless of the Guardians' inaction, Abin sought in finding a way in countering the prophecy from happening.
While on patrol, Abin was attacked and pursued by the being known as Legion while on its way to Oa. Badly injured and with his space ship seriously damaged, he made an emergency landing on the nearest habitable planet (Earth) and began using his power ring to search for a successor to wield the ring after he passed on. The ring settled on Hal Jordan as the most suitable replacement right before his death.
For a brief time during Zero Hour, he was pulled to the present, where he assisted the Darkstars in their battle against Entropy before being returned to his own time.
In the afterlife, Abin Sur assisted Swamp Thing (Alec Holland) in rescuing his daughter Tefé from Hell. It was later revealed that part of his very own soul was being tortured in Hell while his spirit acting as a companion to Hal Jordan during his brief stint as the Spectre. Eventually, he freed himself from Hell and assisted Jordan on several spiritual adventures and metaphysical dilemmas. Eventually, Abin Sur engaged in the Karamm-Jeev Descent, an Ungaran form of reincarnation, and was reborn as Lagzia, the daughter of Sur's old friends Ruch Ehr and Munni Jah.
During some point in his life, Abin sired a son, Amon Sur, who grew up to become the man in charge of the Black Circle crime syndicate. Amon was angry at his deceased father for abandoning him for the Green Lantern Corps and decided to take his anger out on all Green Lanterns. Amon was eventually stopped by Abin's successor's successor, Kyle Rayner and a second-generation Guardian of the Universe called Lianna.
The Blackest Night inevitably came to pass, in which Abin Sur's body was resurrected as a Black Lantern along with his sister Arin. The Black Lantern siblings confronted and battled Hal Jordan, Sinestro, Star Sapphire, and Indigo-1 on Korugar. Abin engaged against his successor and attempted to break his morale by recalling Jordan's role in destroying the Green Lantern Corps under the influence of Parallax and failing to save Coast City; however, Jordan came to terms with his past actions. Ultimately, Abin and Arin were destroyed by the combined powers of the lanterns.