Currently, my favorite interpretation of the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac is that God was testing Abraham - and that Abraham FAILED the test.
How could this be, given the traditional interpretation of that story?
According to this view, Abraham had been raised in a culture that included human / child sacrifice, so God tested him to see if he had abandoned totally that culture. He hadn't. Therefore, God stopped him from continuing that abominable tradition and then taught him that ONLY God would be required to sacrifice a "mortal" - and ONLY in a situation where that child actually was a God and was fully aware, understanding and approving of the sacrifice in advance. (just like Issac had to have been, given the details of the account) In other words, the lesson to Abraham was to eliminate entirely from his teachings to his children the mistaken idea that it was OK to sacrifice people to their God and, instead, to await the time when GOD, the Father, and God, the Son, would take care of it once and for all - for all people throughout all time.
It also is interesting to note that, according to Mormon theology, the God who commanded and stopped Abraham (the God of this world) was Jehovah, the pre-mortal Jesus - which means that "God" wasn't sacrificing anyone else in the future. He actually was sacrificing himself - much more like someone running into a burning building to save someone than one person killing another person. I know we talk about the Father sacrificing the Son, but it's more powerful to me when looked upon in the Book of Mormon terms of God sacrificing himself, not someone else.
I have no idea if that interpretation is accurate - or even if the entire story is nothing but a grand figurative myth. Given the existence of the story, I choose to interpret it in the way that makes the most sense to me - and the interpretation above currently is my favorite.
[NOTE: As I've said many times here, I absolutely love the symbolism that can be understood through stories like this, but I am open totally to the possibility that the account in the Bible is historically accurate and the traditional interpretation is correct - that it actually occurred as an intentional Christ-type and that Abraham passed the supreme test. I have NO problem whatsoever with people reading this story as foreshadowing and a Christ-type - or with those who teach it that way in Sacrament Meeting or General Conference. There is great power in that interpretation - and I even have no problem teaching it myself in that manner in a setting where I believe it is appropriate. In fact, as I said, it very well might be the "accurate" interpretation. There really isn't any way to know objectively. It's just not the version I personally like the most right now.]
Stay Home and Go to BYU, 1941
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