89:9 Sacrifices and Sacraments
89:9.1 The human sacrifice, throughout the course of the evolution of Urantian rituals, has advanced from the bloody business of man-eating to higher and more symbolic levels. The early rituals of sacrifice bred the later ceremonies of sacrament. In more recent times the priest alone would partake of a bit of the cannibalistic sacrifice or a drop of human blood, and then all would partake of the animal substitute. These early ideas of ransom, redemption, and covenants have evolved into the later-day sacramental services. And all this ceremonial evolution has exerted a mighty socializing influence.
89:9.2 In connection with the Mother of God cult, in Mexico and elsewhere, a sacrament of cakes and wine was eventually utilized in lieu of the flesh and blood of the older human sacrifices. The Hebrews long practiced this ritual as a part of their Passover ceremonies, and it was from this ceremonial that the later Christian version of the sacrament took its origin.
89:9.3 The ancient social brotherhoods were based on the rite of blood drinking; the early Jewish fraternity was a sacrificial blood affair. Paul started out to build a new Christian cult on "the blood of the everlasting covenant." And while he may have unnecessarily encumbered Christianity with teachings about blood and sacrifice, he did once and for all make an end of the doctrines of redemption through human or animal sacrifices. His theologic compromises indicate that even revelation must submit to the graduated control of evolution. According to Paul, Christ became the last and all-sufficient human sacrifice; the divine Judge is now fully and forever satisfied.
89:9.4 And so, after long ages the cult of the sacrifice has evolved into the cult of the sacrament. Thus are the sacraments of modern religions the legitimate successors of those shocking early ceremonies of human sacrifice and the still earlier cannibalistic rituals. Many still depend upon blood for salvation, but it has at least become figurative, symbolic, and mystic.