The Worst Analogy for God…
Well, there might be others, but I heard this one on the “christian” radio station this morning, and it made my heart hurt. I have heard it before, and sadly, even used it. That was before I grew in my understanding of the the nature and character of God.
Here is the analogy as heard on the radio – and there are various different versions: The dad works at a train station as a bridge operator. He must operate the bridge so when the train is not there, ships can go under the bridge, but when a train comes, he must then flip the switch so the train can pass over the bridge without killing all on board. One day his son ends up on the tracks while there is a train coming.
While the child is oblivious to this, the dad quickly catches on and must make a quick decision: Either save his son and let the hundreds of passengers on the train be killed, or sacrifice his son to save the many on the train.
While the dad tries to get the son’s attention, his efforts fail to rescue his son in time. Dad makes the logical move to save the many at the expense of the one, but his heart is broken. These pictures are from several different versions of the story that have been found to be popular on the web. One such variation is where the son ends up crushed by the bridge.
At any rate, the father is in anguish over the loss of his son. We are then further guilted by the analogy by how carefree the people on the train are – not knowing that someone has paid dearly for their lives by sacrificing his own.
Do you see the error in this analogy? I am sure the inventor of this story meant no harm. Silly people have gone even further by trying to tell us the story is actually true. I shake my head in chagrin! While it is true that Jesus did pay dearly, nobody killed Him. And His Father did not send Him to die without choice. That would be on the level of child abuse…who would want a Father like that?
I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
-The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (John 10:17–18). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
He Himself said “…nobody did this to me! This was my choice!” But He didn’t stop there. Keep listening! “,,,I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, AND I have authority to take it up again. This charge I received from my Father.” The Son came up with the idea, the Father signed off on it, and because God is good and God is love, we can all be redeemed, healed, set free, discipled, empowered and serve Him. Way cool!
To be clear, we are indeed talking equivalencies here! This may stretch a few brains, but here is what God Himself says in His Word: Jesus was fully God …
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form
-The New International Version. (2011). (Col 2:9). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
If that is not enough, (the following is a passage a certain cult hates…), take a look at Revelation 1 (a few selected passages, but if you track who is talking, you will see!). The Apostle John is on the Island of Patmos, and Jesus appears to him:
I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. – Revelation 1:12–18
So what is interesting is that Jesus Himself tells he was alive, then dead, then alive again. If you were to look at that same passage in the New World Translation (Jehovah’s Witness Bible) it ascribes those words to Jehovah God! When did Jehovah ever die? On the cross!
So you see, God and Jesus the Son are one and same…nobody killed Him, or sacrificed Him. He laid down His own life, and took it up again. Why? Love! Redemption!