Child abuse in the scriptures

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Child abuse in the scriptures

Question: Do the scriptures endorse child abuse?

Book of Mormon Central, KnoWhy #412: How Abraham’s Sacrifice of Isaac Illuminates the Atonement (Video)

It is claimed that God’s command of Abraham to sacrifice Isaac is an example of divinely endorsed child abuse.

Some claim that God’s command of Abraham to slay Isaac is an example of divinely endorsed child abuse. Anyone who knows the story is aware that the story is not about abusing Isaac nor does it even insinuate such. Rather, it is about God’s desire for Abraham to be willing to follow him despite hard trials to follow in his life. It also foreshadows the offering of God’s only begotten son in the flesh—Jesus Christ—saving us in Gethsemane and on the cross.

It is also claimed that God’s sending of Christ to be crucified instead of himself is such an example

In the case of Christ, some secular critics claim that God is an abuser by sending his son to die on the cross. The short answer is that Christ was foreordained to come to earth to redeem all mankind. He voluntarily gave himself in the pre-mortal council to become our Savior (Moses 4:1-2; Rev 13:8; 1 Peter 19:21). Upon coming here to earth, his agency was not taken away from him. He had the ability to put down his life and to take it back up (John 10:18). It was God’s plan from the beginning, but the supernal gift and voluntary sacrifice of a loving Savior.

There are cases where the Bible may be endorsing corporal punishment, which many see as child abuse

There are scriptures in the Bible that some see as endorsing corporal punishment and many today see corporal punishment as child abuse.

One example of this is Proverbs 13:24

He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

Other examples can be found in Proverbs 22:15, Proverbs 26:3, and Proverbs 29:15.

The meaning of these scriptures is unclear. Readers are encouraged to simply be aware of them and, by the Spirit, discern their proper interpretation for their own circumstances.

Further Reading