I am in a religious debate with my girlfriend’s father. He has put the question to me about the real presence of God in the Eucharist during the Last Supper. He has indicated some time sequence objections. I have an idea on how I will respond, but I am looking for some more input or information to use. I have already quoted many of the Fathers. Here is the dialogue;
(1) In response to my question about the nature of the “Body & Blood” of Christ at the Last Supper, you explained that “the bread and the wine was consecrated to become his true body and blood just like it has in the celebrations of the Eucharist thereafter. Jesus is God, time and space do not affect his abilities to make present something that takes place historically later in our sense of time.”
Granted since he is God, Jesus can do anything he chooses to do, but the nature of the Eucharist has time/sequence ramifications (unlike the character of God). The Old Testament believers in Jehovah God, the Israelites, offered animal sacrifices to atone for their sins until Messiah (Christ) would come to die for them. The writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews maintains that Christ’s death was the “once for all” sacrifice (Heb. 7:27 & 10:10). The word “once” is a time-related word, a threshold word indicating a point of beginning. Speaking of Christ’s death and resurrection, the writer says, “But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God” (Heb. 10:12 - NIV). Christ sat down at God’s right hand after a specific point in time, that is, following his sacrificial death on the cross.
Hebrews 10:1-18 culminates with the claim, “And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.” There was a time and place for the sacrifice of “bulls and goats” because it was commanded in the Old Testament. But that time ended at the death of Christ. That’s why the curtain in the Holy of Holies in the Temple, which separated the High Priest on the Day of Atonement from the people, split in two at the moment of Christ’s death (Matthew 27:50-51). The ripping of the curtain symbolized the end of sacrificing animals and using Temple altars. Until the death of Christ, it was still appropriate for Jews to offer sacrifices for sins in anticipation of Christ’s death.
My point is that by transforming the contents of the cup, which the disciples drank at the Last Supper, to become the blood of Christ which was yet to be shed, such a suspension of time/space circumstances operates out of harmony with everything else that occurs instantaneously at the historical moment of Christ’s death. Only at the moment Christ
died was salvation secured for sinners and that event becomes the climax of all human history. If the effectiveness of Christ’s blood can be moved back in time, then it would appear unnecessary to have the Israelites sacrifice animals for centuries before Christ died.
Please advise on theological response to this objection. Thanks for your help.