Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A thought about animal sacrifice in the OT & the sacrifice of Christ in the NT

Here's a thought, perhaps a weird thought -- I don't know whether I buy it myself. Still . . .

Adam and Eve sin, they lose the image of God, and so God clothes them in animal skins, emblematic of their new bestial nature.

Throughout the Old Testament, beasts are then sacrificed as representatives of the people who sacrifice them. This is, in fact, appropriate. That God receives animal sacrifices on our behalf as our representatives is then again emblematic of our bestial nature created by the fall. So the OT sacrifices actually reflect, and remind us, of the loss of our humanity in the fall. After all, the sacrifice of a beast can only save another beast.

In that sense, while OT sacrifices protect (from God's wrath), they do not, and cannot, redeem. Something offered for redemption must be worth at least that which was lost. An animal cannot atone for the loss of one's humanity. (Indeed, even the sacrifice of a fallen human cannot redeem -- if humans are bestial because of the fall, then sacrificing another fallen human cannot repay for the humanity that we lost in the fall.)

Then Jesus comes, a new Adam (Ro 5; 1 Co 15). In him, then, is the sacrifice that can atone for the sins of a man. And through that sacrifice, God re-creates us as a new humanity in Christ.


Blogger Neal said...

While this may be a valid interpretation, I prefer a different one. Adam and Eve were clothed in animal skins as a foreshadowing of all of God's children being clothed with Christ, the Lamb of God.

January 23, 2007 12:47 PM  

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