Abraham and Isaac

From my Human Sacrifice and the Eucharist (also called In Defense of Human Sacrifice):

Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Isaac is a perfect instance of a sacrificial act. It clearly shows the basic truth that all sacrifice is ultimately human sacrifice. The ram that Abraham ultimately slaughters is offered “in place of his son” (Gen 22:13). Killing an animal would be meaningless without this identification. Liberals are typically scandalized by this story; it seems wrong to them that Abraham should be blessed because he was willing to commit murder. Yet the Jews have treasured this story for millennia. Why? Is it because it proves Abraham’s devotion to God? This is certainly true, and the Bible itself draws attention to it, but there is more than this. When Abraham offered his son to God, binding him upon an altar with the intention of slaughtering him, Isaac became God’s property, a sacred thing, a thing “set aside” for God. That God decided to leave Isaac alive does not change his consecration, and the people of Israel, who are the seed of Isaac, are also a thing set aside for God. So this episode is one of the many acts in the Old Testament in which the covenant between God and “His people” is affirmed and renewed. Only as a people set aside for God can Israel be a light to the nations, because a thing offered to God becomes a conduit to God. In this way also, Isaac is the prefigure of Christ—also sacrificed by his Father—who, as the supreme sacrifice to God, becomes the supreme conduit to the Father, the ultimate “sacred thing” which removes sin and renews communion with God.

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