In the Old Testament God warned his people to stay away from the detestable practices of the pagans, which would include sacrificing their own children to the so called deities.  Why, then, would God the Father want his only begotten Son to die as a sacrifice for us?  I know he died for our sins,but isn’t the fact that ordaining the death of his Son similar to what those pagans did?


At first I failed to see any conceivable parallel, but then I realized that yes, on the face of it, there is a parallel in that God offered his Son as a sacrifice.  I can see how one might find a parallel with Jesus being sacrificed and pagan child sacrifice.  However, any apparent parallel more or less disappears when one thinks about it.  The pagan version involves a person sacrificing their own child, clearly totally against the child’s will, for selfish reason so as to make “atonement” for thier own sins.  This could not be more opposite to what God did.

In Jesus, God did not do the killing and he did not do the offering.  It was God’s enemies who did the killing and Jesus (not the Father) who made the offering of himself.  It was Jesus who gave up his life.  Jesus said “I lay down my life of my own accord.”   (John 18:10).   Jesus willingly offered his own life as a sacrifice to a real God.   In the supposedly parallel pagan sacrifice, the child definitely does not offer its own life, and the one offered to–the pagan god–is not even real.  Offering one’s own child, for selfish reasons, to a false God against the will of the child who is essentially murdered is not at all similar to the Son Jesus willingly offering his life so that we could be saved from the punishment that we really deserve.  This is a very different thing.

That is how I see this rather interesting question.

John Oakes


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