While not sure if this qualifies as a legitimate “typology” – seems fairly close so…
I am in the slow (and expected to be lifelong) process of re-looking at the entire bible through the window of Universal Restoration. And I’m wondering if that haunting story of Abraham offering up his son Isaac on Mt Moriah as sacrifice is really an early hint of eventual UR. I understand that I am not trained to massage original meanings and intent out of text the way our theologians here are, but here is what I’ve been thinking…
For years, the story of Abraham obeying the command of God and his willingness to offer his own son Isaac up in sacrificial death has bothered me. First, why would God even ask such an abhorrent thing if He intended to stop Abraham anyway, and second, how certain can we be that this event somehow foreshadowed Christ’s death on the Cross as penal substitution? (That’s the way I always heard the story; God was showing Abraham what the eventual death of Christ was going to be about. A sacrifice is demanded, a perfect one no less, and Christ becomes that sacrifice thereby taking our sins away. etc. Penal substitution imagery.)
My tentative peace with this story slowly started when I admitted that I could not accept an image of a God who needed blood, innocent blood at that, to cause Him to change His attitude towards me. Something else must be in play beyond simple substitution. As I began to see sacrifice in terms of covenantal relationship – signifying intent to again “draw near” – it became possible to see the death of Christ as God’s sacrifice for – and “to” – us, signifying His intent to continue and never abandon relationship! Christ as God’s promise never to leave us alone or lost. Not about our failures but about His Victory.
As this was evolving I also looked to Jewish sources for understanding into this story they call the Akedah. It surprised me to discover that many in that tradition see Abraham’s actions as a monumental failure instead of the great act of faith that so many Christians bless it with. God would never ask such a heinous thing of Abraham; Abraham should have known that, so his acquiescence to kill his own son demonstrated how flawed he was – not how faithful. God, as He so often and so graciously does with all of us, came to Abraham’s rescue, and provided a way out. God’s purpose was to educate Abraham that violence was not part of what he wanted, or needed. He provided an escape for Abraham’s perceived dilemma as He demonstrated His ability to guide circumstances and thus engender deeper trust.
So my question is something along these lines:
Is it reasonable to look back on the Akedah, in light of the cross, and see hints of Universal Restoration on that distant Mount in the actions of God??
In the Akeday, can we see a type of eventual Universal Restoration?
A type of God doing whatever necessary to accomplish His purposes?
A symbol of God’s incredible willingness to guide us through difficulties so we may grow?
Given the breadth of the promise that was to be fulfilled through Abraham, given how sweeping was to be the effect of this one faithful man of God on the world, given that God had unilaterally initiated this reality, can we not suggest this was a significant hint at future Universal Restoration??