Author Topic: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?  (Read 9037 times)

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Offline Dave_Manchester

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A few prefatory comments, first of which is that this is my first post in this part of DTF but I've been a very long-time reader of the threads, and some of the regulars here know me well from Portnoy's forum (Stadler, el Barto, Jammindude, that last with whom I've had several discussions on religion, and to be honest it is his ideas on this question I am particularly interested in reading).

Secondly, I recognise that my question could perhaps have been posted in one of the other Christian-related threads, but with respect I ask that this be allowed to remain its own thread, because I really do want to focus on these two questions that I have, questions with which I've struggled for a very long time; indeed they may be the final questions (re: Christianity I mean) I have yet to reconcile for myself.   

And thirdly, although I write the pronouns for Christ with a small 'h', I mean no disrespect to him or those who believe him to be holy. It's just that I can't write it as 'Him' of 'His', because it wouldn't be honest, to me he was only a man (a great one to be sure, but still just a man).
 


So this is what I struggle to understand - why was it necessary for Christ to be put to death in order for God's plan to be accomplished? Why precisely die, why not say what he said, do what he did, and die naturally; what about God's plan would have been different had he not been crucified, why was the cross some kind of final piece of the puzzle? 

I know I'm perhaps 'guilty' here of applying my own human way of thinking to that of God, but anyway...I just struggle to understand how the creator of this inconceivably complex universe we find ourselves in (perhaps only 1 of infinite, at that) looked at our murderous kind, our bleeding, ravished planet, and could think of no better way to 'save' us, or to make himself known to us, than to 'copy' our barbarism and have his mocked and tortured son nailed to a cross. The teachings, the miracles, ok, but why was the crucifixion necessary? Was that really the best method God could come up with to make himself known to us? If yes, what are the Christian answers to why the crucifixion was required in order for mankind to be saved, and could there not have been another way?


My second question is more specifically connected with the manner of his death, but first I need to say that I am far from an expert on scripture, and so it is very possible I am simply wrong in some of my understanding of the Gospels here. If I am, please correct me.

But what is the Christian attitude to what seems to me an element of cowardice in the last moments of Christ's life, the asking that the cup pass (admittedly, he does then immediately go on to say not as he wants but as God wants), and the calling out to know why he has been forsaken on the cross. I can't help but relate him here to Socrates, centuries before, and with whom he is often compared. Socrates went to his death with staggering nobility and bravery, whereas it seems the story of Jesus has a few elements of cowardice, weakness, and a kind of childishly histrionic over-dramatisation (he was after all only one of tens of thousands to be killed in that way, in fact others had it far worse and made less of a meal over it).

I can see greatness in the figure of Christ as far as his life and his ideas are concerned, but the description of his death, and the manner of it, really troubles me. As a child the famous passage from John (3:16) was drilled in to me, but I was never quite able to make sense of it. I'm hoping some of you here can help me out with it, and I'm looking forward to hearing your ideas.

Sorry this was so long, the MP Forum gang will attest that I can be incredibly long-winded, I will try to reign it in.
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Offline yeshaberto

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welcome Dave!
glad to keep this thread on its own.
great questions!

The simplest answer I can think of to your first question is Jesus' own statement that "there is no greater love than that a man die for his friend" (John 15ish).
Whether the cross/death was absolutely the only way, I'm not sure, but it is the most demonstrative way that God could've communicated that he loves us - especially when Romans 5 reminds us that he didn't die for us when we were his friends, but when we were against him.

Regarding the second question, I think his prayer was more to serve as indicative that he was also human.  He didn't face the cross as a god, so to speak, but as a human - making it that much more sobering.  The second statement of being forsaken was to connect himself to the prophetic picture of the messiah in Psalm 22.

Offline Dave_Manchester

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Thank-you yeshaberto, for both the welcome and your post. I appreciate your answers...

...but I'm still stuggling here. Christ may have said that there is no greater love than to die for your friend, but if you have the option, is not living for, and with, your friend even greater? My addition of "if you have the option" is important there. Why was death the only option? I will agree that if there is really no other thing to do in order to save your friend (or indeed enemy) than to die for him, then that is a great act...but it seems to me that to an omnipotent God, the death of Christ in order to save mankind was not the only option open to him. Salvation, eternal life, forgiveness, etc...surely there was some other way than this squalid little slaughter?

You wrote that "Christ's death is the most demonstrative way that God could've communicated that he loves us", but with respect, what you've done there is re-write my question but without answering WHY this is so; why was death the most demonstrative way to demonstrate God's love? Regardless of the Romans passage about dying when we were against him, why was death AT ALL necessary, for or against him? Why is the death of Christ the most appropriate way to illustrate a message, much less a message of unfathomable love?


And Christ's words to tie him into the prophecy I also have a difficult time with. This seems more a kind of literary symmetry than something which makes sense on a realistic level. Why would Christ, in extremis, be concerned with making sure his death tied in with a prophecy from scripture? This to me seems like something those who composed and compiled the books of the Bible wrote IN ORDER to connect him to it. It just doesn't tally with everything we know of how any form of human character behaves. I can't imagine Christ on the Via Crucis thinking to himself: "I must remember to make my next-to-last words yet another oblique reference to an ancient text and hope they make the connection." Not this man who was famously one of the most clear, direct and careful teachers the world has known. 
« Last Edit: April 11, 2015, 07:27:40 PM by Dave_Manchester »
"As democracy is perfected, the office of President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts' desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron" - H.L.Mencken, 26th July 1920.

"China has total respect for Donald Trump and for Donald Trump's very very large brain" - American President Donald Trump, September 26th 2018.

Offline jammindude

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Wow Dave...I'm honestly humbled.   

My response to this could seriously get into "tl:dr" territory.   It's extremely multi faceted.  But maybe I'll just try and cover some of the bullet points and just field more questions as they come.

In a nutshell, I think one of the more important passages regarding this subject is at Romans 5:6-19
Quote
 For, indeed, Christ, while we were yet weak, died for ungodly men at the appointed time.  For hardly will anyone die for a righteous [man]; indeed, for the good [man], perhaps, someone even dares to die.  But God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more, therefore, since we have been declared righteous now by his blood, shall we be saved through him from wrath.  For if, when we were enemies, we became reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, now that we have become reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.  And not only that, but we are also exulting in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
 That is why, just as through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.  For until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not charged against anyone when there is no law.  Nevertheless, death ruled as king from Adam down to Moses, even over those who had not sinned after the likeness of the transgression by Adam, who bears a resemblance to him that was to come.
 But it is not with the gift as it was with the trespass. For if by one man’s trespass many died, the undeserved kindness of God and his free gift with the undeserved kindness by the one man Jesus Christ abounded much more to many.  Also, it is not with the free gift as it was with the way things worked through the one [man] that sinned. For the judgment resulted from one trespass in condemnation, but the gift resulted from many trespasses in a declaration of righteousness.  For if by the trespass of the one [man] death ruled as king through that one, much more will those who receive the abundance of the undeserved kindness and of the free gift of righteousness rule as kings in life through the one [person], Jesus Christ.
 So, then, as through one trespass the result to men of all sorts was condemnation, likewise also through one act of justification the result to men of all sorts is a declaring of them righteous for life. For just as through the disobedience of the one man many were constituted sinners, likewise also through the obedience of the one [person] many will be constituted righteous.

Ok.  There's a lot here.   But in a nutshell, Jesus was a replacement for Adam.   A perfect man was sacrificed to buy back what a perfect man lost.    Our father is Adam.   He was a perfect man who *chose* to rebel against God.    Once he sinned, he could not produce perfect offspring.   He was sinful and could only pass on sin and death to his offspring.   God knew that this was not *our* fault, so he rescued us by providing a ransom... a replacement for Adam.   A perfect man to buy back the eternal life that a perfect man had thrown away.   

The reason he had to die on a torture stake.  (I don't believe Jesus died on a cross, but honestly, it's irrelevant to this particular subject)  It was necessary for Jesus to die in that way because of this passage at Galatians 3:13 (this from the King James Version)

Quote
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

EDIT:  In saying "it is written", Paul is quoting from the Mosaic Law at Deuteronomy 21:23
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Calvin6s

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This is an interesting question.  Is it the modern day equivalent to "I'd take a bullet for you, man"?

Offline eric42434224

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Does/did god have the ability/power to fix the issue?  If the answer is yes, then no it was not necessary.
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Offline jammindude

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Does/did god have the ability/power to fix the issue?  If the answer is yes, then no it was not necessary.

Well, not if this was the way that he fixed the issue.  Then it is yes and it was necessary. 

God cannot ignore his own standards of justice...in fact, that is the heart of the issue.   So he doesn't bend his own rules for himself, even at great cost TO himself.   In one act, he showed perfection in wisdom, justice, and love.   And the fact that he moved to solve the problem so quickly (prophecying what he would do when was pronouncing judgement in Eden) shows how far-sighted he was, and that he had the power to carry out everything he said he would do. 
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Offline Zook

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How could they get any followers without creating the ultimate guilt trip?

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So was Jesus' crucifixion a way to semi-reverse the failure of Adam and Eve?  And just to be tongue in cheek, I found the whole Eve thing a case of entrapment.

Offline jammindude

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So was Jesus' crucifixion a way to semi-reverse the failure of Adam and Eve?  And just to be tongue in cheek, I found the whole Eve thing a case of entrapment.

Question 1:  A couple of different ways to read that, but it was God taking action to reverse ADAM's failure.    One could read your question to imply that Adam was a failure by God...this was not the case.   Adam failed, God did not.   In fact, that was another thing that Jesus did.   He proved that perfect obedience by a perfect man was possible.   By his obedience to the point of death, he proved that Adam *could* have been obedient if he had made the choice to do so.
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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2015, 10:11:50 PM »
So the point of Jesus was he was willing to die for us?

What about the mom that sacrificed herself or put herself in harm's way to protect her child or even her neighbor's child.  Did she not basically take the same act as Jesus, proving humanity is worth saving?

I'll be completely honest here and say that when we extrapolate some of these scenarios out, we usually come up with questions like these that inevitably end with "we can't possibly know God's will".

And if we can't know God's will, then can we really hold humanity to account?  And isn't that kind of a failure on God's part?

Offline jammindude

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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2015, 10:28:53 PM »
An imperfect human can never be the equal of a perfect human.

Ps 49: 7, 8 - None of them can ever redeem a brother or give God a ransom for him, (the ransom price for their life is so precious that it is always beyond their reach)

Life is precious to God.  All of us are precious to God.   But since we are imperfect, we are forever incapable of equalling a perfect man.   A perfect man had to prove that perfect obedience (even to the point of dying) was possible.    Even someone who sacrifices themselves for a fellow man cannot pay the ransom for *ALL* men.    The ransom was a price we were incapable of providing.   So God provided it for us...   And it is worth noting that as a cold transaction, most likely any angel could have filled the role.   But it was love (both God's and Jesus') that motivated him to offer his firstborn son.   The greatest possible thing he could possibly give.   EDIT:  Ugh....hate the redundancy on re-reading that, but too tired to figure out how to re-word it.   :lol
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Offline sneakyblueberry

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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2015, 10:53:05 PM »
I always used to think "big deal, if someone told me I had to die to save the entire planet, of course I would".  It used to make me feel real guilty - like I was the worlds biggest blasphemer or something.  Until I had one particular encounter with God, and I remember there was a song playing with the words, "I'll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon the cross".  Ever since then I've been at peace with the idea that there are just some mysteries that I will never know, and if I knew all of God's mysteries, then I wouldn't need to depend on him for anything.  It seems like the easy way out but tbh I no longer have the desire to know everything that really only God knows - I just want to know him.  I think if I had to bear all the burden of the world on my own, human shoulders... I dunno... I'd no sooner kill myself then have to be constantly mindful of every intricate detail of all the depressing, evil bullshit that happens in the world.   

Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2015, 07:31:47 AM »
He proved that perfect obedience by a perfect man was possible.   By his obedience to the point of death, he proved that Adam *could* have been obedient if he had made the choice to do so.
I don't follow.  Are you saying that Adam was a perfect man?
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Offline jammindude

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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2015, 07:37:13 AM »
He proved that perfect obedience by a perfect man was possible.   By his obedience to the point of death, he proved that Adam *could* have been obedient if he had made the choice to do so.
I don't follow.  Are you saying that Adam was a perfect man?

Absolutely
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Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2015, 07:43:11 AM »
Why do you think that?

Logically speaking, if he were perfect, he by definition couldn't have disobeyed.  Only something perfect can behave perfectly.  If it behaves imperfectly, it is imperfect. 

This is all assuming that the Genesis story is true, of course.  Just trying to follow the logic.
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Offline Cool Chris

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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2015, 08:16:11 AM »
Only something perfect can behave perfectly.  If it behaves imperfectly, it is imperfect. 

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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2015, 08:39:21 AM »
 Chris kind of hit it on the head. You're not describing a man, you're describing a robot. God created humans with free will. It was not free will that was the problem, it was the abuse of free will that was the problem.
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Offline jammindude

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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2015, 08:44:17 AM »
 Also, we have a tendency to think of Adam in imperfect terms. He was not naturally inclined toward disobedience. We are, because we came from him after he sinned.
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Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2015, 09:36:00 AM »
Why do you think he was perfect at all?
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Offline yeshaberto

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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2015, 09:45:30 AM »
I always used to think "big deal, if someone told me I had to die to save the entire planet, of course I would".  It used to make me feel real guilty - like I was the worlds biggest blasphemer or something.  Until I had one particular encounter with God, and I remember there was a song playing with the words, "I'll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon the cross".  Ever since then I've been at peace with the idea that there are just some mysteries that I will never know, and if I knew all of God's mysteries, then I wouldn't need to depend on him for anything.  It seems like the easy way out but tbh I no longer have the desire to know everything that really only God knows - I just want to know him.  I think if I had to bear all the burden of the world on my own, human shoulders... I dunno... I'd no sooner kill myself then have to be constantly mindful of every intricate detail of all the depressing, evil bullshit that happens in the world.   

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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2015, 10:07:13 AM »
Why do you think he was perfect at all?

 Because he was created by God directly, and he is spoken of as being the equivalant of Jesus.

 We are not created by God. We are pro created by our original parents. Who did not procreate until after they had sinned.
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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2015, 10:11:16 AM »
Why do you think he was perfect at all?
Because he was created by God directly, and he is spoken of as being the equivalant of Jesus.
He was spoken of that way by people who lived thousands of years after the fact (assuming, again, the validity of the account in the first place).  I don't find that to be helpful when talking about the Adam actually described in the original accounts.

What, from Genesis, would lead you to think that Adam is perfect?

And I wasn't describing a robot earlier.  I am trying to get to what you mean by "perfect."
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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #23 on: April 14, 2015, 10:31:21 AM »
JD, I am not trying to be a pain or argumentative.  I'm hoping to find better answers than I've found before.  This is a sticking point in traditional Christianity that has never made sense to me.
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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #24 on: April 14, 2015, 11:15:21 AM »
These accounts were given by God, so I don't consider this a vague recollection of a passed down story. Genesis is a collection put together by the only eyewitness of the event. And the later writings are God's clarification of the events.
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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2015, 11:20:17 AM »
These accounts were given by God, so I don't consider this a vague recollection of a passed down story. Genesis is a collection put together by the only eyewitness of the event. And the later writings are God's clarification of the events.
Does your justification depend on the scriptures being divinely written, direct from God?

That's just a sidebar, however.  Regardless of whom Genesis originated with, I am asking what, from the book of Genesis as we have it, leads you to believe that Adam is perfect?

Or does your answer depend on New Testament writings ABOUT Adam, which are lent credence by being divinely written by God?
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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #26 on: April 14, 2015, 01:42:34 PM »
 You're making distinctions where I don't. It's like you're trying to claim that Darth Vader is not Luke's father simply because it didn't say so in a new hope.
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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2015, 02:12:28 PM »
You're making distinctions where I don't. It's like you're trying to claim that Darth Vader is not Luke's father simply because it didn't say so in a new hope.
That's not really a good comparison.  Especially since I don't have to "believe" that all of Star Wars came from the mind of George Lucas; it's documented fact and right there in the credits.

But I was just hoping for an answer to my questions.  Oh well.
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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #28 on: April 14, 2015, 02:32:11 PM »
 Well, to be fair, I did answer your question, you just don't like the answer.  You say George Lucas lists himself in the credits, I say God lists himself as the author within the pages of the Bible itself. Quid pro quo.  And I certainly don't mean to imply by that statement that I take such a thing on blind faith. I hate blind faith. But as I've stated numerous times another thread I went through a lot of research to come to this conclusion.
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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #29 on: April 14, 2015, 02:56:57 PM »
Well, to be fair, I did answer your question, you just don't like the answer.  You say George Lucas lists himself in the credits, I say God lists himself as the author within the pages of the Bible itself. Quid pro quo.
You say that, but I don't see it.  Where does he list himself as the author?  I can read the credits of the Star Wars films, I don't have to guess or believe.

And no, you really didn't answer all of my questions.

And I certainly don't mean to imply by that statement that I take such a thing on blind faith. I hate blind faith. But as I've stated numerous times another thread I went through a lot of research to come to this conclusion.
You may not call it blind faith, but it is certainly faith.

And I have also gone through a lot of research to come to this conclusion.  So I'm looking for more information about your position, because it is different than mine.

But whatever.  If you want it to become contentious, I have no interest in that.
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Offline Dave_Manchester

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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #30 on: April 14, 2015, 05:10:16 PM »
Thank-you everyone for the input.

And Jammin especially thank-you as always, but I need to press you on one issue (and you know me well buddy, I argue tough but it truly is with a deep respect and desire to understand where you and others who believe what you do are coming from), because it really is the entirety of the problem I'm having in a nutshell - why was a blood sacrifice necessary? You reference the replacement of Adam, but my question was why this MANNER of replacement, why the torture and anguish? Why was the death required to replace Adam, especially since, to a Christian, death is not precisely 'death' as we commonly use the word, it's more a kind of removal from one room to another, some form of graduation from one level to the next. Nothing really rests on death if you don't truly believe death to be the end of the matter, and so why the slaughter?

As much if not more could have been achieved without the sadistic death, no?

You suggest the manner of Christ's death was required in order to fulfill prophecy, but this again is a form of shoe-horned literary symmetry to me. In the final act, Shakespeare reveals Macbeth was born by Caesarian section in order to fulfill the prophecy of the witches in Act 1. As literature, this has a truly beautiful perfection. But as truth...? My question re: Jesus is not about why he died order to preserve Biblical coherence, I'm interested to know how Christians answer the question of why their God could find no other better method to offer the proverbial olive branch, to bridge death, than having his 'only begotten son' (presumably being God he could easily have rectified that and had many others had he wanted) massacred in the manner he was.

Adam, we're told, was merely expelled. Christ was hung like meat. Why the blood sacrifice? Why did this this type of death, and this type of death alone, open the door to salvation? Why would God bow down to the practices of the ancient 'religions' that came before, with their emphasis on the spilling of blood to erase a wrong? Does the manner of Christ's death not contradict at least in some way the message of his life?   

The idea of perfection has come up, but I don't think it belongs here, because before determining perfection we first need to know the criteria of the ideal. When we speak of, say, a "perfect game" in bowling, it is clear what we mean, because the aim of bowling is to make a strike every time. But a perfect man? This to me is an empty term, because we don't know the criteria which define perfection. To label Adam, or Christ, "perfect", you give yourself a heavy burden of explaining what the criteria are. Christ, to me, was not perfect in human terms, because as I wrote before Socrates surpassed him by a very large margin in dignity, modesty, intelligence, and bravery; and Socrates was incontestably 'only' a man. In divine terms, I can't comment, because I have no idea what divine perfection looks like, it's possible Christ was divinely perfect but I wouldn't know. In this thread, I didn't so much want to examine the figure of Christ but rather the Christian answer(s) to why their God could conceive of no better way to draw us closer to him than having his son killed; an experiment which incidentally seems to have failed, since we've been going about the systematic business of killing each other in the name of our divisions ever since the events of Golgotha, in fact Christ's death gave us even more reasons to do so, and God, being God, must have known we'd do this. What was the point of it all? I repeat my question, and respectfully ask for an answer that doesn't amount to referencing Biblical prophecy: why was the death of Christ necessary? What was achieved with his death that couldn't have been achieved without his death?     
« Last Edit: April 14, 2015, 05:17:22 PM by Dave_Manchester »
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Offline bosk1

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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #31 on: April 14, 2015, 05:48:25 PM »
My question re: Jesus is not about why he died order to preserve Biblical coherence, I'm interested to know how Christians answer the question of why their God could find no other better method to offer the proverbial olive branch, to bridge death, than having his 'only begotten son' (presumably being God he could easily have rectified that and had many others had he wanted) massacred in the manner he was.

Adam, we're told, was merely expelled. Christ was hung like meat. Why the blood sacrifice? Why did this this type of death, and this type of death alone, open the door to salvation? Why would God bow down to the practices of the ancient 'religions' that came before, with their emphasis on the spilling of blood to erase a wrong? Does the manner of Christ's death not contradict at least in some way the message of his life?   

This is an interesting question that I have been pondering since reading the original post.  I don't buy the "replacement for Adam" argument.  Although there is definitely something to that, I think using that terminology is not only misleading, but misses the point of your question. 

There are also two other preliminary points that I think need to be made:  (1) This is a deep question that almost demands a treatise to answer in any semblance of depth; and (2) Any answer ultimately incorporates a lot of "I don't know" if one is being honest, because we are not directly told the answer in the Biblical texts we have, per se.  That being said, I will attempt to do some justice to your question.

There is a key aspect of God's very being and person that is emphasized quite a bit in the Old Testament, but is IMO overlooked in many Christian churches--namely, God's holiness.  Holiness is a concept that we have trouble understanding in this day and age.  I mean, I think it is a concept that humans struggle to grasp in general, but I think it is especially foreign to us in this day and age.  I cannot even attempt to do the concept of God's holiness justice in an Internet post.  But the idea is that God is special.  God is, literally, awesome--so much so that anything tainted or even common cannot stand in his presence.  It is simply a matter of the fact that God is so pure and so above everything common that the common and God cannot coexist in the same space.  As difficult as it is for us to read and relate to the book of Leviticus as modern day Christians, that book provides very graphic illustrations of this.  God set the Jewish nation aside and gave them VERY specific rules and regulations that made them VERY different from the nations around them.  They had very specific laws for how they lived, how they worshipped, how they did everything.  They were to abstain from a lot of foods, from contact with certain animals, from...a lot of common, everyday stuff.  And when they violated those laws, there were purification rituals they had to perform before they could be considered "clean" and stand whole in God's sight.  When they sinned, the rituals were even more extreme.  Again, the concept is that God is holy and is to be set apart as something VERY special and...uncommon.  The Jews had to make themselves holy and pure to stand in God's presence.  A lot of the rules and rituals may seem pointless or arbitrary, but I think it is relatively clear that a lot of the reasoning was simply to impress on humanity through very graphic and detailed illustrations the simply idea that God is very, very different than humans in a way that is very complex.  That idea is central to the discussion.  Put simply:  God is holy; we are not. 

Related to that is the problem of sin.  Sin not only makes us unholy, but completely separates us from God.  It is detestable to him, in any form.  Again, if we go to Leviticus, we see in graphic detail that the Jews had to offer sacrifices and spill blood in a VERY specific manner to make atonement for that sin.  It was ONLY by the spilling of blood that the sinner among God's people was cleansed of his sin and could once again approach God.  The idea of blood atonement is hinted at as far back as Cain and Abel's sacrifices in Genesis, not long after creation.  And those sacrifices are mentioned in passing throughout until we get to Leviticus and see the sacrifices explained in great detail, with much ritual added to them. 

So what we have at this point is that the spilling of blood was NECESSARY to make atonement for sin and restore the worshipper to a proper state of holiness to worship God.  This is the perfect opportunity to ask, "Okay, I get what you are saying.  But WHY is blood necessary?  WHY couldn't God simply forgive the sin some other way?"  And I get that that is really the heart of your question.  And that is the point where I have to say that I don't know, and nobody else does either.  What Scripture tells us is that God's nature is that he is holy, and when we sin and thus separate ourselves from him, the only thing that can make that right is the shedding of blood.  That is where we are left, and we aren't told much more, so we either accept that premise or we don't.

That being said, why Jesus?  The problem with the sacrifices mentioned above is that they had to be offered constantly.  Every time someone sinned, they had to offer the sacrifice.  Jesus' sacrifice paid the price once and for all because he is the very son of God.  He paid the price of atonement for all because only he could.  The fact that he lived a sinless life as a mortal is important.  But my reading of Scripture is that his simultaneously being deity is what made his blood sacrifice perfect, whereas the others were by definition imperfect.

Beyond that, I am afraid I don't have much to offer.  Why that specific type of death?  Not sure.  How exactly does it work that Jesus blood made atonement for ALL sin?  Not sure.  I mean, ultimately, we are dealing with the very nature of God...something that we only have a finite amount of information about, and that even that finite information is incredibly difficult to understand.  So I think it is natural to get to a place where we just have to say, "I don't know."  I am at that point in the discussion.  But I hope what I said has been somewhat helpful anyway.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2015, 07:04:19 PM by bosk1 »
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Offline jammindude

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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #32 on: April 14, 2015, 10:55:11 PM »
Give me until the weekend guys.   I'm currently under unbelievable amounts of stress from a new job, my work van recently breaking down over the weekend, taking care of my wonderful (very nearly disabled herself) wife, both of us taking care of her completely disabled mother, and on top of all that I'm attempting to mentor a wonderful young kid trying to get off meth....  But I'm spent.

My wife and I are taking a 3 day weekend to the ocean (my son is going to watch gramma).   I'm going to *mostly* unplug and go technology free, but I usually can't resist catching up on one or two things....this P/R forum being one of my favs.   

Actually...that's a great idea for an emoticon...  Can we get a "pause button"?   :P
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Calvin6s

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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #33 on: April 14, 2015, 11:24:26 PM »
Good luck on your 3 day break (but don't get on the SS Minnow).

Sorry things have been a bit much lately.  Starting a new job is always a bit tough.  Nothing is on auto-pilot, so your brain never can go into a bit of a cruise mode.  And knowing people are watching to see if you have the goods just makes you over think every step.

Should the timeout be a football black and white shirt ref making the "T" hand symbol?  Just remember, you don't have any time outs after this one.  When you come back, you need to put it in the end zone or start your season all over.   :angel:

Offline TempusVox

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Re: Why was it necessary for Jesus to die, and to die in the manner he did?
« Reply #34 on: April 14, 2015, 11:28:17 PM »
The thing about Adam being perfect, is that he could never make a mistake or a wrong decision, on the basis that he's in total control, and had all understanding as he would be perfect. If he did not have all understanding, he would be lacking in knowledge, making it impossible to make the right decision on every occasion. If it is impossible to make the correct decision on every occasion, then you are not perfect. And Adam and Eve were not capable of making the right decision on every occasion, as the account in Genesis shows. Therefore, it was impossible for them to have been perfect. When you really stop and think about it, it is not sensible to believe that someone who is perfect can become imperfect.

But, Adam was instrumental in that his actions resulted in all of us being sinners for all eternity, and as the Bible states, "The wages of sin are death."

Romans 5:12
When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. Adam's sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard.

And as Bosk1 mentioned, sin separates us from God.

Isaiah 35:8
And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it.

And, Isaiah 59:2
But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

And as I quoted from Romans above, the wages of sin are death; and God's holiness and justice demand that sin and rebellion be punished. The only penalty or payment for sin is eternal death. But our death is not sufficient enough to atone for our sin. Because atonement requires a perfect, spotless sacrifice, offered in just the right way. Jesus, the one perfect God-man, came to offer the pure, complete and everlasting sacrifice to remove, atone, and make eternal payment for our sin.

1 Peter 1:18-19
For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.

Hebrews 2:14-17
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.

So then ultimately, only through Jesus Christ can our sins be forgiven, thus restoring our relationship with God and removing the separation caused by sin.

2 Corinthians 5:21
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

1 Corinthians 1:30
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.

Romans 5:10
For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by his life.

So basically, when we are "in Christ Jesus" we are covered by his blood through his sacrificial death, our sins are paid for, and we no longer have to die an eternal death; which is why he had to die.




« Last Edit: April 14, 2015, 11:37:50 PM by TempusVox »
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