[This article was originally published by Gerald Ihle on The God Of Jesus]
– from Who Does God Pray To? –
If Jesus is NOT God and Christians go on saying that he is, then something very profound is lost in theology. To say that God died on the cross is to miss the suffering love the Father had for his tortured Son agonizing on the cross. It would have been easier for God to offer up himself than to offer up his only Son, Jesus.
I believe the Abraham and Isaac story is in the Bible for a reason. God wanted to test Abraham to see if his faith was strong enough to obey him even if it meant giving up his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. The story reveals the anguish of a dedicated father having to choose between his son or God. It was a hard choice. Abraham was not asked to sacrifice himself! His choice would be harder than self-sacrifice! God never intended to let Abraham go through with it. It was a test of love as well as of faith. At the last moment God provided a ram for sacrifice in place of Abraham’s son. Abraham was to call that place on Mount Moriah “THE LORD WILL PROVIDE.”
So Abraham called the name of the place “The Lord will provide” as it is said to this day, “On the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided” (Gen 22:14)
What God did not require of Abraham, He would fulfill in the same place at a later time in history, to show his love for the world by giving up his beloved Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for the salvation of a sinful world: “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only son into the world” (1 Jn 4:9). Rather than God giving up himself to death, the heavenly Father gave up his Son to die on the cross. God required more of himself than He required of Abraham.