Why didn't God just tell Abraham that He didn't condone human sacrifice?


#1

Why did God put him through such a hard test when He could have just told him right away that human sacrifice isn’t the answer?


#2

I think you’re making a bit of a mistake. You’re sort of looking into the story from the outside, and focusing on a single event “as if” Abraham didn’t know that God didn’t condone human sacrifice.

However, Abraham had been promised and tested multiple times; each time Abraham failed to fully understand the depth of the promise. By the time God decided to allow the test concerning Isaac, Abraham had several examples of God’s faithfulness to his promise.

That is why, when Abraham goes up the mountain with Isaac, he makes a statement of faith to those who came with him: “if the boy and I go up and worship (correctly) we will (both) come back down to you.” Genesis 22:5. The passage is translated variously, but notice that Abraham uses the plural “we” will come back down to you.

Both Abraham and Sarah had a personal promise that children (who number astronomically) would come through the very flesh of Isaac. Abraham knew, beyond a doubt, that the sacrifice of Isaac could not end in a permanent death. That’s why God allowed the test. Abraham already had the answer.

Sarah had proved herself shallower in her faith than Abraham. She was in Mamre, when God appeared to Abraham and promised him a son “of your own flesh.” She was his wife and his own flesh. Hagar, the slave, was not around at that time. The promise could not have been to Hagar. Sarai knew that the promise was made with herself in mind, yet she had still insisted on using Hagar when doubts crept in. Abraham had also doubted when God sent them into Egypt, and Abraham told Pharaoh that Sarai was his “sister”. We could discuss why the severity of disbelief is different between the husband and the wife. His was a shallow breach of faith, but hers was more damaging. The same is true with the mocking laughter. Abraham mocked in surprise, but immediately repented (and fell on his face.) However, Sarai was hypocritical in taking the name (Sarah=princess), but later mocking God about the birth of a son from her own flesh. She shamed Abraham and lied to God about her mockery.

The test came about after this final scene of mockery. Miracle after miracle had happened in order to bring Isaac to birth; That’s when God decided to finally allow a hard test which says: “Don’t you get it YET?! The promise must come through the living flesh of Isaac born to Sarah. NOTHING can stop that. No other children can fulfill the promise.”

Read Hebrews, chapter 11:11-19. That explains, very clearly, that Abraham did not only use blind faith. Abraham “REASONED” from his experiences (eg: history). “If God is able to open a dead womb, he can also raise a child from the dead.” cf: especially verses 11,12 and 19.

usccb.org/bible/hebrews/11


#3

Are you sure of this? I don’t think that’s why Isaac was spared. After all, God ended up following through Himself, with His own Son, as the sacrifice.


#4

HUH?
Not the answer?

Isn’t Jesus dying for everyone’s salvation a human sacrifice?

.


#5

:smiley: Not really…
Jesus’ death is a “god-man” sacrifice.
If Jesus wasn’t God, the death would have been pretty much useless.
Otherwise, sacrificing babies to Moloch would have saved us all … a long time before.
That is a pure human sacrifice.

It’s easy to nail someone for writing an ambiguous question… we really ought to be a little less ready tear someone to pieces over an awkward phrasing, yes? I don’t think Apologetic should be about the easy, slam dunk! reply. :smiley: A fuller reply can be more charitable (and useful.)


#6

You posed a good question. I have never thought of it that way. I just take for granted that God was testing Abraham for his obedience, a prelude to the covenant between them.

I thought it was possible that the test was literal, as there were many weird things in the Old Testaments which were not applicable today.


#7

According to the text God had Abraham do that so that God would know whether or not Abraham feared God.

Genesis 22:12
““Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.””

Here’s the interlinear translation.


#8

God wanted to give people an precursor of Salvation.

Look at what God asked, Abraham had to go to Mt Moriah. That is the Mt that Jerusalem would eventually be built on. That is the Mt where Calvary stood.

Who carried the wood of the sacrifice up the mountain?, Isaac, the son. Who carried the wood of the cross up the mountain?, Christ, the Son.

What was the sacrifice that was offered, a male sheep?, it’s head encased in thorns. What was the Sacrifice of the Cross?, the Lamb of God, His head encased in thorns.

It was a means by which God would teach all generations of the Sacrifice offered by Christ, and to put it in human terms that we could understand.


#9

This was God’s plan all along. Just had to get Abraham on board… JESUS would die for our sins. ALL of our sins… an he would come from the seed of ABRAHAM…


#10

One could ask a similar question on all the debates today, like SSM, abortion, many christians are misguided about these things and what Gods laws actually say…since there is so much misunderstanding going on, why could not God just show up and make it clear, put an end to the debate once and for all?


#11

It’s also good to remember when reading scripture the 3 most neglected issues:
1 Context,
2 context,
and
3 context.

You can’t interpret Scripture by imposing modern cultural, literary, and religious sensibilities.
It has to be interpreted in the context in which it was written.
What seems abhorrent or ignorant to us now was not necessarily abhorrent to an ancient culture.


#12

Not sure what you mean.
I don’t consider AFerri’s phrasing awkward or ambiguous in the least.
(Are you saying that you do?)
I think her question was very straightforward and simple, and I applaud that. Which is why I responded in like.
And I sure wasn’t tearing her to pieces or “nailing” her for anything (?).
I was merely shocked by her question.

I have to disagree with you, again, on the rest of your post.
Since Jesus was “fully human”–as many say here–it would be considered a human sacrifice. His body was hurt, he went through pain.
I would *never *venture to say his death would have been useless if the details were different somehow. That’s quite a grand statement you are making. His death may have had a very, very big impact even if the details of who people thought he was was different.
We see the evidence of that today.
There are many people who do not believe he is divine who have been greatly impacted by his life and death.
To them, even though they don’t think he’s god, his death was not useless at all.

.


#13

It is ambiguous. She clearly could have meant “purely human” sacrifice.

I think her question was very straightforward and simple, and I applaud that. Which is why I responded in like.
And I sure wasn’t tearing her to pieces or “nailing” her for anything (?).
I was merely shocked by her question.

And your shock showed in your answer. That’s exactly why your answer sounded like a “put down” or nailing her. You could have taken a moment to get control of your feelings, and answered a bit more tactfully. That’s my complaint. Your answer may be taken as “straight forward”, but it could also be taken as a sharp rebuke. I’m asking you to be a little sensitive.

I have to disagree with you, again, on the rest of your post.
Since Jesus was “fully human”–as many say here–it would be considered a human sacrifice. His body was hurt, he went through pain.
I would *never *venture to say his death would have been useless if the details were different somehow. That’s quite a grand statement you are making. His death may have had a very, very big impact even if the details of who people thought he was was different.
We see the evidence of that today.

So, you are saying that if Jesus were ONLY man, the sacrifice would still have saved us?
Of course if the details were different, the value of the sacrifice would be different.
Don’t ignore the context of my statements.

This is a Catholic site, and the Catechism of the Catholic church teaches that his sacrifice is of value because he can do what no other man can do ; he can take all sins, for all times, upon himself. A mere human sacrifice could not do that. Isaac could not do that. The O.P. is about Isaac; not Jesus who is fully human and FULLY GOD.

Catechism of the Catholic Church:

598 In her Magisterial teaching of the faith and in the witness of her saints, the Church has never forgotten that "sinners were the authors and the ministers of all the sufferings that the divine Redeemer endured."389 Taking into account the fact that our sins affect Christ himself,390 … [EG: in the present …] Since our sins made the Lord Christ suffer the torment of the cross, those who plunge themselves into disorders and crimes crucify the Son of God anew in their hearts (for he is in them) and hold him up to contempt. And it can be seen that our crime in this case is greater in us than in the Jews. As for them, according to the witness of the Apostle, “None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” We, however, profess to know him.

Is Isaac or Ghandi present in my heart in a way that causes him to suffer? Am I punishing Ghandi and Isaac? Is a sacrifice of Ghandi really a good thing because it’s INDIRECTLY “of use”?

There are many people who do not believe he is divine who have been greatly impacted by his life and death.
To them, even though they don’t think he’s god, his death was not useless at all.
.

Point is granted, although you IGNORED the sentence right after the one you are attacking. I could have been more precise. When I said “useless”, I obviously meant useless toward salvation and forgiveness of sins. In that sense, if Jesus is not GOD his sacrifice would have been useless.

In secular terms, Jesus’ death is a tragedy. You are really undermining your own argument by viewing the value of Jesus’ sacrifice in terms of the human alone. Jesus death was EVIL in the secular world. Even in Catholic thought, Jesus death was a result of an evil, EG: sin;

Jesus death was a prejudiced criminal crucifixion. If he is not God, how is that death Good?
It’s a cause for sorrow. Like Ghandi or Martin Luther King.
Is Ghandi’s death really necessary for his life to be useful? Is it not a shame? Would it not have been BETTER if people had listened to Ghandi and changed their lives?

It doesn’t matter that after these martyrs died that their deaths were useful to people. Their deaths were evil. Human sacrifice is not something to be condoned. That’s the point of the O.P. Figures like Martin Luther don’t deserve to die. Children did not deserve to be sacrificed to the false God, Moloch. The true God is not a being who desires blood and gore.

The way you are arguing, you sound like Isaac being butchered would have been good.
Why are you defending a statement made in “shock” when it is more an issue of pride than good judgment? Can’t you just admit it wasn’t the best answer you could have come up with?


#14

For several reasons
1 God was just then making Himself known amidst Abram being surrounded by PAGANS who did not know GOD.

2 Faith formation takes TIME

  1. Since the fall of the at one time “good angels” who rejected GOD, and are now devils led by Satan; and the FALL of Adam co-sponsored by Eve; GOD’s Divine [perfect] sense of JUSTICE demanded that all future humanity would HAVE to prove their love, and loyalty to Him. … a FACT that continues in the present times, and until the End times as well.:thumbsup:

Isaiah 43: 7 & 21 “[7] every one who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” & [21] the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise."


#15

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