“We Cannot Judge” Mayans Who Sacrificed 100 Young Boys

by Ken Ham on June 20, 2024
Featured in Ken Ham Blog

Satan has always attacked children—he hates the “seed of the woman” and has always sought to steal, kill, and destroy the most vulnerable. He hates the family. And yet another example of that was highlighted in a recent study of 64 of the over 100 skeletons of sacrificial victims who were buried in an underground chamber in the Mayan city of Chichén Itzá, located on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.

These skeletons were of all boys, generally between the ages of three and six years old. Many were related, including two sets of twins. The researchers aren’t exactly sure why the boys were sacrificed, but the presence of twins among the victims suggests maybe it was a memorial to the “hero twins,” twin boys who, in Mayan mythology, “went to the underworld to avenge their father.”

The thought of over 100 young boys being offered up in death to appease or remember a false god is grotesque and horrifying. It reminds us of how much God hates this practice, forbidding his people from offering up their children (they did anyway, and he judged them severely for it). It also reminds us that this practice has not disappeared, it’s just morphed from an ancient temple and burial ground to a sterile clinic or even one’s own home as untold millions of children are killed, sacrificed to the god of self, by surgical or medication abortions. Yes, child sacrifice, which people should abhor, is rife in our culture.

But another shocking element to this story was the comments of the study’s lead author, Rodrigo Barquera.

Barquera acknowledged that it could be jarring to realize the remains at the site belonged to “kids, and that they were sacrificed.”

“But we have to bear in mind that death is a completely different concept for Mesoamerican cultures. . . . Death is not seen as a bad thing. Of course, under our perspective, it’s wrong. But back then, and according to their myths and their beliefs, what they were doing was considered correct, so we cannot judge what they did under our modern point of view.” (emphasis added)

This is what moral relativism and secularism does—it says, “Yes, under our perspective this atrocity was wrong, but we cannot judge those who think or thought differently than we do.” So, of course, the question for Barquera would be “How do you know ‘your perspective’ is the right one? By what standard do you say that we shouldn’t continue to sacrifice children to pagan deities if we want to?” After all, if morality—including the killing of innocent children—is all about perspective and whether or not we’re doing what we consider to be correct, how can anyone say that what anyone else is doing is wrong? You can’t!

Barquera knows that sacrificing children is “jarring” because he has a conscience given to him by God (Romans 2:15). He knows child sacrifice is wrong in the present, even if he won’t apply that standard to the past, because God’s law is written on his heart. The Mayans had the same conscience and law on their hearts—they just chose to dull their consciences by the worship of a false god and the evil practices they invented to go along with it.

As Christians, we don’t live in the gray world of “we can’t judge those of the past,” because we aren’t judging by a “modern point of view.” We’re judging the past and present based on the unchanging, eternal Word of God. That’s why we can say with confidence and authority that the sacrificing of children to the “hero twins” was pure, unadulterated evil, even though it was acceptable in the worldview of the people of that day. And we can likewise say that the sacrificing of children to the god of self which takes place today is pure, unadulterated evil, even though it is acceptable in the worldview of many of the people of our day.

The standard is not our modern point of view—it’s the authority of God’s Word, which says that murder is wrong and that life and death belong to God alone.

The standard is not our modern point of view—it’s the authority of God’s Word, which says that murder is wrong and that life and death belong to God alone.

Oh, and it’s worth noting the account of Abraham and Isaac in all of this. God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac (who was not a child, but a full-grown man at the time) as a burnt offering. We’re told this was a test of Abraham’s faith—a test he passed, faithfully going up the mountain to offer his son, believing God would provide the sacrifice and even knowing God could raise the son of promise from the dead. Before he could sacrifice his son, God stopped Abraham and provided a ram in Isaac’s place. And note that when Abraham left his two young men that were with him, taking Isaac with him to sacrifice, he said, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you” (Genesis 22:5). He fully expected both of them to return, which they did.

This account is a picture of Christ. Jesus is the Son of promise, going to the mountain as a sacrifice for sin. Just as the ram stood in Isaac’s place, Jesus stands in our place, through his sacrifice absorbing the just wrath of God against sin. Then he rose from the dead and now offers salvation from sin and guilt to all who will repent and believe in him—even those who have sacrificed their own children!

Yes, the one true God doesn’t demand child sacrifice—he offered his own Son, Jesus, as the perfect sacrifice once for all and now offers salvation without cost.

Get More Answers on Answers News

This item was discussed Monday on Answers News with cohosts Dr. Gabriela Haynes, Dr. Georgia Purdom, and Dr. Marisa Tillery. Answers News is our weekly news program filmed live before a studio audience here at the Creation Museum, broadcast on our Answers in Genesis YouTube channel, and posted to Answers TV. We also covered the following topics:

  • Christian foster couples need not apply?
  • Was there a “lost age” of egg-laying mammals?
  • Bill allows women to sell their own babies?
  • And more!

Watch the entire episode of Answers News for June 17, 2024.

Be sure to join us each Monday at 2 p.m. (ET) on YouTube or later that day on Answers TV for Answers News. You won’t want to miss this unique news program that gives science and culture news from a distinctly biblical and Christian perspective.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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