Child sacrifice is unthinkable?

We have a couple of Bible verses that we’re going to take a look at today as we consider both the omniscience of God and the unthinkability of the abomination of killing children that we find in the Old Testament. The first verse is Psalm 113:3. This is a very famous Bible verse. It says, “From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised.”

Some people who would like to prove that the Bible is untrue and full of errors will be intentional with trying to dig up pugnacious arguments about the inerrancy of Scripture . They will say things like: “the sun does not rise, nor does the sun set. This is an error in the Bible because it says that the sun rises and sets. We know from science that actually it is the spinning of the earth that causes the appearance of the sun to rise and set. The sun does not revolve around the earth and rise and set.”

Objections like these should be responded to by explaining that sometimes the literary device of “the perspective of the writer” is being employed to use everyday, ordinary, relatable language to describe an event. In this case, as we stand on this earth, whether we know or not that the sun does not rise or set, we all say that it does.

We all say, “come over and look at this sunset.” We all say, “come over and look at this sunrise from our perspective.” That is the way that it appears. It’s not necessarily wrong to describe the sun as rising and setting as long as you realize this is the perspective of a Biblical writer and God is willing to use that perspective in order to convey a point.

There is another passage that really fascinates people. For some people, it trips them up and causes them to have great pause or consternation as they try to grasp the meaning of this particular Bible verse from Jeremiah 32. We here at PassionLife use this passage quite often when we’re doing our teaching about abortion overseas.

A lot of this passage in the book of Jeremiah goes into the sins of the Israelites. It tells how they became more and more wicked over time, following their neighbors and the pagan, Canaanite culture around them into the most spiritually repulsive of behaviors. The behavior that seems to get a heavy amount of God’s attention is the repulsive behavior of child sacrifice.

We know that there was lots of child sacrifice in those early Canaanite religions and cultures. The Israelites eventually began to mimic those cultures by sacrificing their own children. We know they were praying and sacrificing their children in the worship of false gods, since God never commanded anyone to worship Him with the sacrifice of our own children.

This passage is explicit and detailed. A lot of the things that are said are just so heart wrenching because God is hammering away at the preeminent moral evil of child sacrifice. He caps a lot of what He’s saying with verse 35: “They built the high places of Baal, in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and their daughters to Molech. Though I did not command them, nor did it enter into My mind that they should do this abomination to cause Judah to sin.”

The phrase “nor did it enter into My mind” trips up a lot of people because we know that God knows everything. He is omniscient. He is all knowing. Nothing takes Him by surprise, past, present or future. We’re the ones who are surprised by what happens, God is never surprised by what happens. What God is doing here is using metaphorical language.

God exaggerates, if you will, or puts a special literary emphasis on how horrible the idea of child sacrifice is to Him. He says, in essence, “I didn’t command them to do it, nor did it enter into My mind that they would do this. This thing that they are doing is so unthinkably evil that it is shocking to the conscience and it is shocking to Me as the holy and righteous God of the universe.

Did God know that they would sacrifice their children? Yes. But the point is that God will use language that we can relate to. He uses visceral, everyday, gut-level human language to create an urgency in us to listen to the weight of His words. ” I did not command them to sacrifice their children to Molech, nor did it enter into My mind that they would ever have the gall to do something this terrible. Child sacrifice is treated in the Bible as a preeminently, unthinkable moral atrocity.