I recently spoke with someone who can't believe God would sacrifice their own child for the benefit of others. I mean, what kind of parent would do such a thing?
I don't have children, but I can imagine that if I did, I would kill anyone who tried to do them harm. I would pay all costs to keep that child safe, to give that child the opportunity for a future. I can't imagine how I could ever offer up my own child for the benefit of people who might never know, or care, for the sacrifice in question.
But what if things depended on you to be where you were? What if people's lives depended on your continuity? What if you HAD to be where you were so they could continue? So they could survive?
Watch this for a moment. It's a very powerful video.
How does this relate to God, who could instantly stop the train and lower the bridge and save his boy?
The first thing you need to know about our world is that it follows certain rules, and there are very important reasons why. The continuity of our existence creates constants by which humans can depend, whether the laws of nature or the laws of God. If those constants don't remain sure, it means nothing can ever be known as true, and God is nothing if not truth.
Here are a few things you should consider about the constants of life:
- Free will creates value to love: Without the ability to make decisions and then for those decisions to play out as we have attempted to execute, our choices and our free will would have no meaning. Which means our love would have no meaning. If we cannot be sure that we love based on a free decisions, then we cannot be sure that we aren't slaves merely playing out some long, convoluted script. God wants us to love Him, and He wants that love to mean something. If we don't have the free will to make decisions and experience their outcome, then our love has absolutely no meaning, and without our ability to love, the entire point of our existence would also have no meaning.
- God's constancy is the anchor for existence: God will not change the core of his existence to suit even his desires. As well for a man to want a wife but refuses to change merely to get A wife, when what he wants is the RIGHT wife. He will not change who He is just to get what he wants, even if what He wants is our love. He will not change who He is -- or what He has created -- merely to suit his desires.
- Sin is the antithesis to God, His character: Before He ever created us, he separated himself from all we would call sin. Perhaps we might define sin as chaos. God is order, sin is chaos. To be pure, to be constant, to be Himself, he must remain without sin. He cannot become intimate with sin or it will taint his character. This is a lynchpin for our own existence. Without God's constancy, ours will fail.
- The price of sin is death: To deal with sin, death is required. A sacrifice of life to prevent sin's infection is required to deal with it, because sin begets death, and in the in must be dead, itself to be removed.
- Actions have consequences: Because reality must play out moment by moment according to people's decisions -- good or ill -- to modify it supernaturally moment to moment would destroy the system. The system was designed so people could make real decisions and live by them, so that in the end, their love -- and their lives -- had value.
"So if all of this is true, I still don't get why God would sacrifice his own son. It's not like the video."
In a way it is, in a way it isn't. The need for sacrifice is the same, though the rules might differ just a touch. Here's one way to break it down.
- God creates a world in which life can grow, develop and one day choose with intelligence whether or not to love its creator
- God sets rules into place in which those living beings can make decisions, live by them, and build value to their love
- God creates living beings with a very simple choice within the framework of that freedom -- the story of Eden. Adam and Eve have the choice to obey God and to disobey God (free will), which means their loves means something.
- Man chooses to reject God and his paradise and instead chooses to reject Him. He made them without sin, they chose sin.
- When two beings are intimate at the spiritual level, the essential elements of each comingle. For God to be intimate with us puts his own constancy at threat, of which He will not do.
So, how does a God who creates us so that He might love us (God is love), prevent the very rules he set into place to give us free will and envalue our love to keep us form him?
By cutting off a piece of yourself and sacrificing it so that it might pay the price of sin, for its price is heavy. It's death. Nothing less will keep it away.
God loved YOU. Despite the poor decisions of your ancestors, he wanted you to have a chance at a life and a relationship with the intelligent, transdimensional being who brought you into being through the careful shaping of vibrations at the well-below subatomic level. (Science thing known as string theory).
And so, in order to fulfill the laws and rules by which you were created, you have constancy and by which your decisions and your love mean something, he had to pay the price of your sin, and so he cut from himself the most valuable piece of himself --his son -- so that you might have life.
"How is sacrificing his son cutting off a piece of himself?"
Unlike humans, where our children are wholly separate from ourselves, Jesus IS God, and IS himself. It might be safe to imagine that God shape a piece of himself into Jesus without ever fully removing it. However, to achieve the sacrifice needed, God had to cut Jesus completely away from himself.
Jesus, upon the cross, looks up at God and says: "My father, why have you forsaken me?" This is the moment God must separate himself from Jesus so that Jesus can take on all the sin of the world and pay that very heavy cost.
But there's a pretty awesome ending to this. You see, God knows that Jesus' sacrifice pays the price, but also knows that the separation isn't permanent, and upon paying that price through a sinless death (Jesus's own life was sinless), Jesus could then return to God.
So how could a parent sacrifice their child?
It doesn't mean God loved his son any less, or us any more, but because there was purpose, one that required a heavy cost, but whose payout was worth it. In the short-term, it seems impossible, but God's vision extends so far beyond our own that it requires trust. It continues to require just that as we move on in our lives.
There is one last thing you should know about why God sacrificed his son for you -- to show you how serious He was about you and your welfare, your future and your love. He wanted you to have no doubts how important you were to Him.
Just in case you ever doubted it.