Why does God need to be appeased by burnt animals?

Hello,

I am a skeptic, but I am friendly, so I hope you will be too!

I recently started reading the old testament, and I have a question. Forgive the language…I mean no disrespect, but I don’t know how else to ask it.

Why does God need to be appeased by burnt animals? The old testament documents thousands of animals being sacrificed. I understand the punitive aspect of a man giving up something of value to atone for his sins, but the scripture makes it sound like God actually ENJOYS animal sacrifice.

Also, how exactly does killing/burning an animal atone for one’s sins? Why take it out on a dumb ox?

Thank you.

The way I heard it explained, the Hebrews took on some of the customs of the Egyptians during their 400 years of servitude. One of these nasty little habits included worshipping some of those Egyptian gods.

God wanted to remind His children of their errors, even as He forgave them. So He had them sacrifice these animals to prove that He is greater than the Egyptian gods.

A contemporary example, is a woman who is married to a drunk. One morning after a heavy night of drinking, the man wakes up with the woman holding a bottle of whiskey. She gives it to the man, but also gives him a hammer. She tells him that she will leave him if he doesn’t throw away the whiskey and break the bottle.

The situation repeats itself the next day and each day onward, with the wife giving the man the bottle and the hammer and telling him she’ll abandon him if he doesn’t destroy the bottle and the whiskey.

Take Care,

Notworthy

I read a book on Christian animal theology that theorized that since Jesus died for ALL sins for all time, there was never a need for animal sacrifice, and the people were misled.

There is SOME truth in that, but remember, this prefigured the Eucharist. An unblemished animal was sacrificed and eaten for forgiveness of sins. Christ was the perfect being who was killed and we eat him to forgive our sins.

[quote=Penitus]I read a book on Christian animal theology that theorized that since Jesus died for ALL sins for all time, there was never a need for animal sacrifice, and the people were misled.

There is SOME truth in that, but remember, this prefigured the Eucharist. An unblemished animal was sacrificed and eaten for forgiveness of sins. Christ was the perfect being who was killed and we eat him to forgive our sins.
[/quote]

Actually your sins need to be forgiven before receiving Jesus in the Eucharist.

[quote=thistle]Actually your sins need to be forgiven before receiving Jesus in the Eucharist.
[/quote]

Just mortal sin, though. The Eucharist forgives venial sin. I think there’s a heavy case of animal sacrifice prefiguring the Eucharist in the same way that circumcision prefigures the fullness of Baptism.

Implicit in the Genesis narrative of the Fall is the suggestion that God Himself performed the first animal sacrifice. After Adam and Eve sinned, we read that God clothed them in animal skins. From whence came these skins, if not from an animal slain by the Lord?

Yes, I guess God could have used roadkill, but natural death is understood not yet to have entered the world. The first death then, was of that animal. The animal was slain to show that the penalty of sin is death, both spiritual and physical, and to show that the Lord was establishing a system of substitutionary atonement. The immediate death which our First Parents had earned was transferred to the animal.

The effect of the sacrifice also was to cover their nakedness, or rather the shame which had resulted from their rebellion, thereby further showing that the propiatory provision God then set in motion would only cover sin, not truly remit it: that could come only through the Sacrifice of the Redeemer. As with so much in the OT, that first sacrifice foreshadowed the work of the Divine Savior. It demonstrated, too, that only God’s actions could atone for sin - the leaf-garments Adam and Eve constructed were inadequate. Moreover, it proves that even after sin, God’s loving care does not cease.

We see that Abel, Noah, Abraham, etc. perpetuated this system of sacrifice instituted by God. (The theory of pagan Egyptian origins does not wash…)

All of the Old Testament offerings pointed to the ultimate sacrifice of Christ on the cross. We can only make sense of the Old, in light of the New.

[quote=FriendlySkeptic]Hello,

I am a skeptic, but I am friendly, so I hope you will be too!

I recently started reading the old testament, and I have a question. Forgive the language…I mean no disrespect, but I don’t know how else to ask it.

Why does God need to be appeased by burnt animals? The old testament documents thousands of animals being sacrificed. I understand the punitive aspect of a man giving up something of value to atone for his sins, but the scripture makes it sound like God actually ENJOYS animal sacrifice.

Also, how exactly does killing/burning an animal atone for one’s sins? Why take it out on a dumb ox?

Thank you.
[/quote]

This refers to pre Jesus presence o Earth. Man was full of sin and had nothing to cleanse them, later the blood of Jesus. The person who sacrificed the animals would pass his sins on to the animal by putting his hand on it’s head. The animal’s blood would be a filter of the person’s sin, but not cleansing. It was the only way peole could try to reach the Lord.

[quote=FriendlySkeptic]Hello,

I am a skeptic, but I am friendly, so I hope you will be too!

I recently started reading the old testament, and I have a question. Forgive the language…I mean no disrespect, but I don’t know how else to ask it.

Why does God need to be appeased by burnt animals? The old testament documents thousands of animals being sacrificed. I understand the punitive aspect of a man giving up something of value to atone for his sins, but the scripture makes it sound like God actually ENJOYS animal sacrifice.

Also, how exactly does killing/burning an animal atone for one’s sins? Why take it out on a dumb ox?

Thank you.
[/quote]

Because it is blood which gives us life.

Exactly as the previous poster said. In the Jewish scriptures (the politically correct term these days for the Old Testament), life was represented by the blood of an animal. When the blood was gone, so was the life.

The carcas of the animal was either burnt as you noted, or it was eaten – so it was considered almost incidental. As an offering to God, it was burnt to prevent any other practical use by men.

As in your other skeptic threads, I refer you once again to the Bible, to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and to the online Catholic Encyclopedia for future questions.

Two very important points.

Firstly, the Israelites did used to worship various Egyptian gods, gods which were depicted as being goats, lambs, and so forth. God commanded them to sacrifice these animals to show that He was greater than these Egyptian “gods,” and to help break the Israelites from their ‘addiction’ to worshipping these gods. The sacrifices were a daily reminder to the people that these creatures were not gods and could be killed very easily and could be given to the true God.

Secondly, Scripture identifies three types of animals in God’s creation. There are the common animals, the “souly” animals, and the animals with soul and spirit. Only human beings have both soul and spirit. The 2nd type, the “souly” animals, are animals that we as humans can gain an attachment to. They are animals that seem to express a personality, of sorts, and which we tend to keep as pets or to grow affection for. God asked the sacrifice of these sorts of animals because they mean something to us. It is a real sacrifice, and so it shows a real commitment to God.

All the animal sacrifices prefigured the Lamb to be sacrificed on Calvary. Namely Jesus Christ.

If you read the passages to where Abraham was going to sacrifice his son Issac you will see an immediate similarity to this prefigurement. God sends an angel to tell Abraham that he need not sacrifice his only son and at that time they find a lamb with its head caught in a thorn bush (like Jesus who’s head was crowned with thorns).

Then go and read the passages about the passover, how they would sacrifice a lamb.

Then read the Christian Gospels concerning the Last Supper and the passion of Jesus.

Ken

God is Infinite. AND He is INFINITY.

If I have an IQ of 100, and if Bill Gates has an IQ of 200, and if Einstein had an IQ of 300, then what is God’s IQ? NOT 400. He is not in our image. God’s IQ is Infinite.

So, I figure that God had a good reason for demanding various types of sacrifices. Just because I can’t figure it out, doesn’t mean there isn’t a good reason.

He’s not just a bigger version of us.

Hi all!

See forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=1078264&highlight=sacrifice#post1078264 for an orthodox Jewish perspective.

Questions?

Be well!

ssv :wave:

[quote=FriendlySkeptic]Hello,

I am a skeptic, but I am friendly, so I hope you will be too!

I recently started reading the old testament, and I have a question. Forgive the language…I mean no disrespect, but I don’t know how else to ask it.

Why does God need to be appeased by burnt animals?
[/quote]

Im not a biblical scholar or incrediblly brilliant, but maybe I can shed some light on this in terms you can understand a little easier, because being a skeptic, this can be a little hard to wrap your mind around. Please give me a little license while i make my point.

My next door neighbors have moved and their house is vacant. My 7 year old daughter and her friends have been told several times they can not play basketball in the driveway. The girls don’t know a thing about civil lawsuits and homeowners liability, so of course they think that I’m just being unfair, but none the less I have valid reasons for telling them they can’t play next door.

Alot of biblical law is the same way; God’s wisdom is extended to us, even though we may not always understand the reasoning. In regards to animal sacrifice, it wasn’t to “appease God” so much as it was a way to systematically strip the Egyptian cultural influence of idolatry from the Isrealites. The animals that were worshipped by the Egyptians were to be sacrificed, another class of animals important to the Egyptians were to be considered “unclean” (this is also the origin of Kosher food laws). Through these laws, God was, more so than seeking appeasement, giving a methodology to reverse the ingrained system of animal worship the Israelites had become accustomed to over centuries of bondage in Egypt and bring them closer to the Truth. God bless you and I will continue to pray that you find truth. I hope this helped.

He doesn’t need to be appeased by burnt animals.

But He has chosen to teach us a few things about His Infinite nature by making a few demands that make us wonder about Him.

Dear Skeptic:

Most people in here have told you “what it means”, but what matters is why.

Why God ask for such things?

The answer is quite simple: the Old Laws had the purpose of educating the chosen people (remember they were quite barbaric before it: Gn. 4, 23-24).

They are not the definite truth about God and His relationship with mankind.

Only the God-man revealed God’s permanent Truth and Being (Love, that is).

So, if it was for the purpose of educating them, we have to ask:

How animal sacrifice educated them?

Well, if you are a shepherd, your animals are the most valuable thing you have, so the idea is to give up to the Lord the best you have.

What God really wants is the conversion of your heart.

They had to express that with animal sacrifice and other religious obligations, but the Bible -even before the Messiah- made clear that “religious obligation” without heart conversion was not God’s Will: Dt. 10, 12-21; Is. 1, 11-20, etc.

And this permanent truth remains now that we are no longer under that Law.

I encourage you all to read Exodus, where Moses asks Pharaoh to let his people go three days into the desert to sacrifice. Pharaoh told Moses to Sacrifice in Egypt, and Moses said, “No, our sacrifices would be an abomination to Egyptians” (I’m paraphrasing).

Why is this? The animals being sacrificed were predominantly animals that represented gods to the Egyptians. This was God’s way of reminding the Hebrews that these sacrifices were meant to break the Hebrews from their idolizing ways (the ways of the Egyptians).

Notworthy

I don’t question what God wants, I just do it.

He wants a burnt animal, He gets one.
He wants a knife in my son, I put it there.
He wants to drown nearly all the human race, I pack the boat.
He establishes the Catholic Church in 33 A.D., I join it.
You ask God why. I’ll just do it.:bowdown:

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