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Sacrifice of Noah

PART 2: What’s the Big Idea?

[NOTE: This series of posts expresses and expands on one sermon at The Meeting House – part 4 of our Origins series, called East of Eden. To hear that sermon, please go here.]


Now I’ve done it. I’ve become so excited about researching and writing on this topic that I have to repent of my previous commitment to keep this series to only four parts. For now, here’s the plan: I’m just going to keep posting on this topic until I stop posting on this topic. (Genius.) So, better get to it…

So what’s the big idea?

Here is the thesis of this series, the “big idea” that makes a world of difference if it is true: Religious sacrifice was never needed nor invented by God. Rather, ritual sacrifice is our human invention that God accommodates and uses for a season, and then eventually enters and ends through Jesus.

As we saw in the last post, in Matthew 19 Jesus sends us back into the Hebrew Scriptures to examine what God meant when he said:

For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
(Hosea 6:6)

We also looked at other passages where King David says God never wanted sacrifices (e.g., Psalm 40:6; 51:15-17). And yet, in the Bible God himself commands lots of sacrifices, especially in the book of Leviticus. So which is it? Or is it possible that God could actively command something that he doesn’t really want?

The answer is, yes. And we have plenty of examples of this, so much so that the phenomenon has its own name: the principle of accommodation. I’m going to use this post to help us nail this idea down. Unless we clearly see and savour in Scripture how God uses the principle of accommodation, the rest of what we have to say in this series won’t make much sense. So, let’s dig in…

The principle of accommodation

To begin with, the principle of accommodation is often applied to language itself. All verbal and written revelation from God is an example of God accommodating human language and ideas and concepts in order to communicate clearly with us. God meets us where we’re at, using language and metaphors and imagery that is drawn from our own experience in order to communicate truth to us in a way that makes sense in our time and space.

We have no reason to believe that the original biblical languages of Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic are the languages of Heaven. The Bible is an example of God’s accommodation to human ways of communicating.

When Jesus says the kingdom of God is like “a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth” (Mark 4:31), Jesus was not speaking from the standpoint of divine omniscience (since this statement on the surface is patently false) but he was accommodating the knowledge of his day.

What I find most fascinating is that the Bible goes on to record instances of God adopting and using human desires and ideas that he himself finds repulsive, in order to meet us where we are at in communicating important truth.

Examples of God’s accommodation to human desires

1. Kings

The Bible tells us that God originally designed Israel to function as a nation with God alone as their king, speaking through prophets. But at some point, the people of Israel decided they wanted a human king to rule over them, so they could be like the other nations around them. The prophet at that time, Samuel, took this as a kind of personal rejection of his role representing God to the people. But God responded to Samuel:

Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.
~ God to Samuel (1 Samuel 8:7)

God says that this is not a matter of people rejecting Samuel as their prophet as much as it is a matter of people rejecting God as their king! God takes this demand of the people as personal rejection of his rulership. This is serious corporate sin. And yet, God says that Samuel should listen to the people, and later makes it explicit – Samuel should represent God by appointing Israel’s first king.

Now here’s the thing: if you were to parachute into a later part of the biblical narrative without context, you would think that God is really into Israel having kings. God appoints and anoints generations of kings through the prophets. That’s because – and this is key – once God accommodates a human desire or practice, God doesn’t pout about it. God makes full use of this new direction in his relationship with his people. He adopts the new practice as though it were his own, even though it has sinful origins.

In fact, mind-blowing as it is, God always knew this would happen! And God already had plans in place to partner with Israel through their (sinful) desire to have earthly kings! Way back in Deuteronomy, hundreds of years before Israel would (against God’s better judgement) demand their first king, God says through Moses:

When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,” be sure to appoint over you a king the Lord your God chooses.
(Deuteronomy 7:14-15)

Wow. This is important because sometimes Christians will argue that animal sacrifices cannot be an example of divine accommodation because God had, before the foundations of the world, always planned for the sacrifice of Christ (see Acts 2:23; 1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8), and animal sacrifices prefigured the sacrifice of Christ. This means that God always knew and planned for the death of Jesus, and therefore always knew and planned for animal sacrifice to point to Jesus. This is true, but as Deuteronomy 7 shows us, just because God knows something is going to happen in the future and has an advance plan for it doesn’t mean it was his initial and ideal will. Yes, God planned for the sacrifice of Jesus because God knew we would sin, but we do not say that God’s will is or ever was that humans should sin. Likewise, God always knew Israel would reject his kingship in favour of an earthly king, and God had a plan for that, but this doesn’t mean that it was always God’s will for Israel to reject him. God always had a plan to use sacrifice for our salvation, just as he had a plan to use kings for Israel’s blessing – but neither was God’s ideal.

Just because God plans for something doesn’t mean it isn’t an example of divine accommodation, because God can plan for accommodation! Whether it is Israel clamoring for a king, or the Romans crucifying Jesus, God is in the business of redeeming rather than rejecting some of the worst ideas people come up with.

2. Temple

At the time of Jesus, the Jerusalem temple was at the centre of the religion of Israel. When it was built by Solomon, God blessed it with his holy presence (2 Chronicles 5:13-14). Later God called the temple “my house of prayer” (Isaiah 56:7) and when Jesus was a child he called it “my father’s house” (Luke 2:49). When he grew up, Jesus was passionate for the purity of the temple, and said it should be “a house of prayer for all nations” (Mark 11:17).

So, you would think that the temple was God’s idea right? Not a chance. In fact, when King David first proposed the idea to God, God reminded David that this was something he had never asked for (see 2 Samuel 7). God had already given instructions to Moses to build a tabernacle, or a special holy tent. It seems that God preferred the symbolism of a tent over a temple – God was mobile, on the move, ready to meet with us wherever we went, and not locked down to a single location, like a fixed temple might suggest. But God acquiesced and incorporated David’s desire to built him a temple into God’s own plans. Once again we see that God redeems rather than rejects our faulty human ideas.

3. Divorce

In the Torah (Deuteronomy 24), God gives instructions about divorce. When religious leaders ask Jesus about this in Matthew 19, Jesus responds saying that God allowed for divorce because of human hard-heartedness. In other words, divorce law in Deuteronomy is an example of God accommodating human stubbornness. As an aside, if Jesus is calling his followers away from the hard-hearted approach to life revealed in the Law, he must be offering us a heart-softening, morally empowering alternative. And that’s the Holy Spirit, made available to everyone in the New Covenant.

Besides these examples, we could add things like polygamy, patriarchy, war, and even eating meat. Maybe you can think of more. In all of these cases, God accommodates and uses things for our good and his glory that were never part of his ideal will.

The principle of accommodation is rooted in the fact that God made humankind in his image and likeness. We were designed to be people not pets, genuine partners not manipulated props. And God always honours his own image in us, taking our desires into account in how the future unfolds. This is real synergistic friendship.

Now one last example…

4. Slavery

We may wish it were otherwise, but in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, God accommodates slavery. God makes room for the cultural practice and even offers governing rules to minimize the damage and degradation of slavery.

Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.
(Leviticus 25:44-46)

Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.
(Colossians 4:1)

And yet, even with slavery-affirming passages like the above, we know enough from Scripture to conclude that slavery is not part of God’s ideal for human flourishing.

The Bible begins by telling us that every human being is made in the image and likeness of God. There are no levels of value within humankind, not according to gender, to race, or social status. Jesus affirms this in how he relates to “sinners” and social outcasts, treating them with high honour. And the New Covenant community lived out their faith in churches, relational family-styled communities, where slaves and slave owners would worship side by side as brothers and sisters. Over time, this alternative-culture of the Church would plant the seeds for the end of slavery (even if, we must admit, it took the Church far too long to get the memo).

So here we have a practice that is woven into the Torah itself, the very commands of God (e.g., Leviticus 25), and yet all Christians today would agree that slavery was never and is not now God’s ideal will for humankind. Instead, God’s way of relating to slavery in the Bible is what we could call a “harm reduction model”.

A Harm Reduction Model

If you were to walk into a safe-injection site funded by the Canadian government, without context you might think that the government of Canada desires that more and more people become drug addicted. But you would be wrong. The safe-injection sites are designed to help manage the damage and reduce the harm of drug use. This, I believe, is why we have the Law of Moses filled with its many instructions about everything from slavery to sacrifice.

If this is true, then we should see a paper trail in Scripture, and that’s exactly what we find. We have already seen that the later prophets, King David himself, and the author of Hebrews declare that God never wanted sacrifice. And we should also expect to find in the Bible the idea of sacrifice initiated first by humans rather than God – something we’ll examine in future posts in this series.

Sacrifice as Accommodation

Before we wrap up this post, let’s review what we know so far.

We have established that God has a pattern of embracing and using human inventions with complete investment, as though they were his own. That is, some direct commands of God in the Bible are not God’s ideal but God’s temporary accommodation of human ideals. And there is good reason to believe that this is the explanation behind the idea of sacrifice in the Bible. Like with Israel’s kings, God redeemed rather than rejected this very human idea.

To paraphrase Jesus in Matthew 19, God permitted us to make sacrifices because our hearts were hard. But it was not intended to be that way from the beginning.

In our last post we looked at how the author of the book of Hebrews quotes Psalm 40:6 from the Septuagint and comments:

“Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law.
(Hebrews 10:8)

This is significant. God was not pleased with the very sacrifices God himself was commanding in the Law of Moses. I don’t think it could be stated any more clearly.

This principle of accommodation answers so many questions, and raises so many more! And we will get to some of those questions in future posts. For now, let me thank you for tracking along with this blog series. I’m looking forward to your questions and feedback. Comment away!

Peace,

Tags : AccommodationEnd of ReligionHarm ReductionSacrifice

23 Comments

  1. Bruxy do you think the verse in Acts 17 applies to the principle of accommodation? “at one time God winked at their sin but now commands all men to repent ” I suppose this is refering to idolatry …. so freeing for us animal lovers to know animal sacrifice was not Gods idea!! nanse

  2. God’s ways and thoughts are not like ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). I think we push as far as we can in our very limited capacity of thought but in the end, we stand amazed in his presence and worship. God certainly is governing all things and that includes even sinful acts. We see that delineated pretty clearly in Genesis with the selling of Joseph into slavery. His brothers meant it for evil but God meant it for good. Meant means planned. It is not simply that God used the evil act for good but so governs and is absolutely sovereign over all things that he planned Joseph be sold into slavery. When you think about it, God is providentially working in and through and with ONLY sinful ways and thoughts because humanity is cursed by the Fall.

    The teleological approach to the sacrifice of Jesus holds the most water and seems to me to be the best option. History is not God simply responding and accommodating to humanity but an unfolding of his grand plan. As Peter states in Acts 4:28, “to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.” This is obviously a great mystery how God can ordain whatsoever comes to pass (see Eph 1). I would argue that God’s ultimate goal/plan was to bring “praise to his glorious grace” (Eph 1:6). And if that is true then if there is no Fall then there is no need for the cross which is the greatest of all acts from the Son to enact praise to the Father’s glorious grace.

    Everything revolves around the perfect and finished work of Christ. All of God’s plans lead to that ultimate of sacrifices and display of other worldly love. When one looks at the totality of the Bible you cannot walk away with any other conclusion but that our God so loved the world that he sent his only Son. And that supreme act of the Trinity brings great praise and glory from his people and the angels.

  3. If sacrifice was mans idea and not Gods, it’s logical to conclude Jesus was ending a man made sacrificial man made system by dying on the cross as the last sacrifice that ‘man’ felt was needed to be in relationship with God.

    As a musician, I feel like we need better ‘worship’ songs to reflect this truth.
    If I was a Jew, living under the law, then our songs make sense (needing the blood to atone for sin etc), but being I’m not Jewish and have never been under that law….I struggle with how we sing about the cross in many of our songs.

    Is it time we put an end to singing songs about the sacrifice Jesus made in the context that Jesus was ending a man made sacrificial system? Do we need better songs to reflect this and reframe it differently?

    I believe Jesus death and resurrection is VERY important but perhaps a view in a different light than we’ve traditionally believed it to be would be more helpful?

    Hope I’ve made some sense….

  4. I wonder if you feel that the “anti-religious” statements in the prophets are key to this argument… I am ok with the idea of accommodation, as a broad idea, but I am struggling with the idea that the entire sacrificial system falls under that. One reason for that struggle is that I don’t see it in the prophets. For instance, Hosea – this book has God saying that he rejects Israel in all sorts of ways, as a result of Israel’s behaviour – to me the more obvious meaning of the “anti-religious” statements in the prophets is that God is communicating his utter displeasure with his covenant people, not that he’s making some generalized systematic statement about religious rituals.

    1. > I am ok with the idea of accommodation, as a broad idea, but I am struggling with the idea that the entire sacrificial system falls under that

      There is good reason to struggle with this idea. Accomodation is a fairly new idea that has a number of theological rammifications that have not been spelled out. One huge problem is how to make all of the problem texts that don’t fit with accomodation (such as you mentioned) go away.

      Accomodation is eisegesis rather than exegesis. It’s reading into the text a particular viewpoint that one wants to hold, rather than looking for what the text is telling us. It’s taking a specific example (Israel’s desire for a king, that God goes along with) and generalizing it (false generalization fallacy?) to apply to all sorts of other things, so that we now have a new way of looking at the Bible. A new way that requires the Bible to have various errors in it.

      1. You say it’s a fairly new idea – I’m curious what the history of the concept of accommodation is? Do you know more about the origin of the concept? It feels anti-Jewish to me. Greg Boyd in his podcast last Sunday talks about accommodation too, and says, “they didn’t have a good understanding… they didn’t get it… there’s no way, given where they were at spiritually, that they could have received a true revelation of what God was like, they weren’t ready for it yet.” And yet the OT gives us the law, the prophets, wisdom… all huge revelations! Of course not as full as Jesus, but still. I think the accommodation view comes from a protestant anti-ritual bias… maybe also an anti-OT bias, and the fact that most Christians have never known what to do with the whole business of the Jewish people and their relationship with God.

        1. Thanks for these thoughts Becky. This is a good caution. At the same time, I don’t think we can shrink back from the conviction that Jesus gives us a more full revelation of God than the Old Testament ever did. That is kind of New Testament 101. As in John 1:17-18…

          “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”

          Until Jesus, it’s like “no one has ever seen God”. Whereas Jesus says:

          “The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me.” (John 12:45)

  5. I actually see the first instance of accommodation in Genesis 3. It was Adam and Eve’s idea to sew fig leaves together to cover their shame/nakedness. (Never occurred to me before that clothing was man’s idea). So Yahweh accommodated them by providing something more durable before exiling them to the harsh environment their disobedience brought into being.

    Don’t we as parents do this with our children? Think of the child who sneaks a cookie from the cookie jar knocking it to the floor, breaking it. Their “work” of repairing the jar only makes a bigger mess and they end up cutting themselves in the process. What compassionate parent doesn’t tend to the child’s wound first before exiling them to their room for time out?

    I equate my “religious works” with their fig leaves. In an effort to cover my shame, I sometimes find myself dressing up in rituals such as going to church, giving tithes and serving the community. But then God nudges me by His Spirit and reminds me to clothe myself in Jesus whose blood was shed to cleanse my guilty conscience. Then I am freed up to sing “Give thanks to the Lord our God, His love endures forever!”

    Thanks Bruxy for addressing the topic and others for commenting. I love learning this way.

  6. In Ezekiel 46, 47, during the Messianic reign, animal sacrifices are restored once more – even though the risen Christ is ruling. Why?

    Personally, I have felt this Origins series to be “Bruxy at his best.” I’ve loved how you’ve re-framed the Genesis story and although I still struggle with your views on atonement, I deeply appreciate the grace with which you carry your convictions, despite attack. I’ve also noticed a deeper gentleness in your spirit this ‘semester’, perhaps less underlying anger at all the misunderstanding, accusation, and flack. I’m not sure. Whatever, it is a reflection of Christ. Thank you for modelling how ‘to be’ when others are so strongly dictating to you how ‘not to be’. Your gentle, loving presence is ‘answering the question.’

    Every blessing,
    Dena

  7. Hello: I am part of the Newmarket Meeting house.

    May I add some – what to me- is really really exciting information to your Q and Eh last Sunday. As a science aficionado I am more “into this” than others but science knowledge can actually deepen our faith and trust in God and scripture. You mentioned Mitochondrial Adam and Eve as placing Eve in history couple hundred thousand years. That fact alone is radical in that we assume millions and billions of years of evolution. 200,000 years in geological time is like yesterday. But it gets even more exciting when you delve into the Mitochondrial Eve knowledge base and discover that some of the scientists looking at the data say the clock is ticking far faster and that the actual date of Mitochondrial Eve could be 6500 years ago, consistent with what Bible commentaries used to say about the date of creation. But perhaps most profound is this- the whole study of mitochondrial eve is measuring the rate of DECLINE of our DNA – our DEVOLUTION not EVOLUTION. https://creation.com/a-shrinking-date-for-eve. So it is really a knockout blow for the entire concept of evolution.

    May I take another moment while I have the floor to add some other new science: When Mount St. Helens exploded in 1980 it re-wrote geology because it demonstrated that what scientists had been saying took millions of years, can occur in mere days- i..e carving deep canyons and laying down strata layers like we see at the Grand Canyon. https://creation.com/lessons-from-mount-st-helens

    But I think the most profound thing we need to know as people who want to believe and trust the Bible is that scientists of the present era are not allowed to accommodate God in their explanation of whatever it is they are researching- whatever it is they reveal to the public and their peers. They must find a naturalistic non God explanation or be laughed off campus. This started in the era we call the “Enlightenment” https://creation.com/huttons-a-priori-commitment-to-materialism”. Imagine a court case where the prosecution was prevented from looking at all the options. Imagine the defense attorneys being too lazy to drill down and cross examine the witnesses for the prosecution. That to me is what churches today as they accept what science says without challenge.

    Thanks for presenting doing the Creation series and opening up these topics.

  8. Hey Bruxy,

    I was listening to the sermon that is tied (I think) with this blog post (Genesis 4), so hopefully I’m putting those together and asking this in the right place.

    As I’ve engaged with your recent teaching regarding accommodation, as well as encountering it elsewhere, I’ve wanted to pose this question: Given that God is the one who introduced animal sacrifice in the coverings for Adam and Eve before they were put out of the garden, how could it be said that blood sacrifice is a human idea, when God is the one who initiated it?

    Would it not follow that the reason animal sacrifice has played a significant part of “religion” is because of the origination of sacrifice in God’s covering Adam and Eve? This would accord very well with pointing forward to the future sacrificial system that was a precursor to the sacrifice of the Lamb of God on the cross.

    Would appreciate your thoughts on those questions if/when you have opportunity. Thanks in advance.

  9. Hey Sean – thanks for this question!

    You’ve raised an important issue that is worth investigation.

    I think our starting point should be to question the premise of your question: the assumption that “God is the one who introduced animal sacrifice in the coverings for Adam and Eve”. Really? Read the verse again. The text doesn’t say this. In fact, the text doesn’t mention the killing of any animal, only that God graciously provided skins for Adam and Eve.

    “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21)

    That is all the Bible says on the matter. Some Christians have read into this one verse a rather elaborate, theologically driven idea – that God killed an animal, or multiple animals, in order to teach the idea of sacrifice to Adam and Eve, and to show them the high cost of sin. The fact that they got animal skins to wear out of the deal is portrayed as a secondary benefit. The problem with this theory is twofold: it reads into the text what isn’t there, and downplays what the text actually says. This is an example of eisegesis (reading INTO the text) rather than exegesis (reading OUT OF the text).

    What the text tells us is that God cared for Adam and Eve in a practical way. God clothed them with garments of skin that he made for them. That’s it. The point is God’s care for his creation.

    If we try to read sacrifice into this event, then we have to ask why sacrifice is never mentioned and why even killing an animal is not mentioned. The words of that verse keep the focus on the result – clothing for Adam and Eve. There is no teaching on sacrifice we can read into this verse.

    The first sacrifice or “offering” in the Bible is Cain’s, followed by Abel’s. Later we read of Noah’s. Then Abraham cuts animals for his covenant with God. All initiated by humans (which supports the accommodation model). The first time God asks for a sacrifice is when he tells Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.

    I will cover all this in more detail in the next posts in this series (whenever I get around to that!). Thanks, Sean, for getting the ball rolling here!

    1. A number of people have raised the issue of God providing garments of skin for Adam and Eve, and thus concluding that God introduced the first animal sacrifice.

      Bruxy’s reply is really not a very good one, as I’ll explain.

      Bruxy says “Some Christians have read into this one verse a rather elaborate, theologically driven idea – that God killed an animal, or multiple animals, in order to teach the idea of sacrifice to Adam and Eve, and to show them the high cost of sin.”

      First of all, this is not an elaborate theologically driven idea. It’s absolutely misleading to say that, and even more so to neglect to mention the theologically driven motivation for assuming that God did NOT kill an animal to provide the skins. Bruxy’s recent theology is very much against the idea of God instituting animal sacrifice. The speculative principle of accomodation allows one to wiggle out of this problem (and basically any other problem in the Bible that you don’t like, but that’s another issue). I think that his problem with God planning the whole sacrificial system (as a straightforward reading of the Bible shows us), is that this then causes problems with two other parts of his theology: being very much against penal substitutionary atonement and God being a God of wrath. I’m just making it plain, that saying that God did NOT kill an animal to provide skins is an elaborate theologically driven idea.

      Why elaborate? Well, we seem to have forgotten the first principle of exegesis: what did it mean to the original audience? Well, any ancient Hebrew who heard the story would imagine that God killed the animal. How could he not? Especially with all of animal sacrifice at the tabernacle, at the temple, the lambs that God ordered killed at Passover. Secondly, Bruxy does not provide an alternative explanation for the origin of the skins if they didn’t come from dead animals. Did God make polyester skins, fake fur? Did God magically make goat skins that did not come from a live goat? There are three reasons to believe that he didn’t: (i) as C.S. Lewis teaches, God does miracles but not magic. Things don’t just appear; God uses existing things (5 loaves and 2 fish), (ii) it would be deceiptive for God to do this. Just as we don’t believe that God placed fossilized dinosaur bones in a young earth’s sedimentary rock, we don’t believe that God is tricking us here, (iii) something as astonishing as having animal skins appearing with out an animal being killed would have been noted and made very clear. Assuming that a sheep skin is from a dead sheep is natural and logical and does not need to be explicitly stated. Assuming anything else demands extraordinary proof.

      “This is an example of eisegesis (reading INTO the text) rather than exegesis (reading OUT OF the text).” No. What Bruxy is doing is eisegesis. He is the one trying to read into the text his theology that God did not originate animal sacrifices. Proper exegesis (as well as all of Church tradition) leads us to understand that God did originate animal sacrifice — and there’s absolutely no problem with God doing this.

      Finally, Bruxy uses the argument “it’s not in the text”. However, this is a very weak and insufficient argument because there is lots of stuff that is not in the text of Scripture that we believe and teach. For example, the Trinity is not in the text of Scripture anywhere, yet Bruxy rightly preaches on it. Similarly with the idea that slavery is wrong — that’s no where in the text either. Finally, even Bruxy has taught some things that are not in the text of Genesis (due to theologically driven ideas of his). When he was discussing Cains’ wife he said “Cain went away to another land to find his wife” (this is from the mp3 download fo the sermon around 21:54 min in). This is absolutely NOT in the text, and yet Bruxy says it. What does the text say? It says that Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and settled in Nod, east of Eden. And then it says that Cain’s wife conceived a child. That’s it. Note that it says nothing about Cain’s wife already being in Nod as Bruxy is teaching as the main part of his argument against Cain marrying his sister.

      I hope that this helps people see another side of the issue and also leads people to be consider all of the implications before they accept a new interpretation on some aspect of orthodox theology.

      1. Hi Michael. Thanks for this. It seems that your post is rooted in your misunderstanding (and therefore misrepresentation, I’m sure unintentionally) of my position. Hopefully you will be encouraged to know that you got me wrong. I do not make any claim that God did not kill an animal to provide skins for Adam and Eve. I’m not sure how you read that into my position.

        My point is WHY God (apparently) killed an animal – and the text says it was to provide skins for Adam and Eve, not to teach them about animal sacrifice as an act of worship, which is never mentioned. According to the text, the point of the dead animal(s) was God’s care and provision, not religious instruction. I hope that is helpful.

        1. Yes, dialogue is really important in order to understand what someone else is saying, which is why all churches should have Q&A like The Meeting House.

          It really did seem to me that you were saying that God did not kill an animal, and thus did not institute a sacrificial system. Thanks for clarifying that. As for saying that God did not plan and institute the whole sacrifices leading up to Jesus, well, we can just agree to disagree on that.

          Thank you for taking the time to reply to these comments.

  10. I want to add a quick reply to the statement that God instituted animal sacrifice in Genesis 3.
    Anyone can get on BibleHub and do an interlinear word comparison for both the verb “made” and the noun “skins”. The interesting thing here is that the Hebrew verb which is translated into our English as “made” is also attributed to God in Genesis 1:7, 1:16, and 1:25. Take a look at these verses and ask yourself if God made these from nothing or did he need something to “make” the firmament, the beasts, and the heavenly lights? So, could it be possible that God made skins whether animal or not from nothing? Or did it require God to use created matter “animals” to make for them skins? I like to think that God created for them skins out of nothing.
    Secondly, the Hebrew noun translated as “skins” in English is used both for human skin and animal skin. The next instance after God made for them skins is found in Exodus 34:29,30,35 referring to the “skin of Moses’ face”.
    So, to assume that God made skins from an animal to cover Adam and Eve is taking extreme liberty and imposing meaning into the text. So, I believe it’s actually not stated specifically because it’s not important for us to know. God covered them with skins, but He did it, not them. It’s safe to assume that if God states that He isn’t pleased with animal sacrifices, that He did not intend for that in the beginning when Adam and Eve sinned.
    Just a final touch. I believe it’s in God’s nature, especially seen in the person and character of Christ, that He lovingly made for them skins, whether human skin or animal or some other matter that we do not know of, by speaking it just as He did with the expanse and the heavenly lights and the beasts.
    He isn’t a Creator and Redeemer after all with no need from us or anything else to cover us with grace and hesed love.
    Peace.

    Ben

    1. Also, I’m with Jeff.
      I’m also waiting impatiently for the next installment in this amazing series! The first two have been very insightful and instructive.
      Thanks Bruxy for this series! You’re so on point brother!

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