Did Jesus Have to be Crucified?

lunamoth

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Given that we have free will, at any time the events leading up to the Cross could have gone another way. Did he have to die on the cross for God's plan to be effective?

If he did have to die on the cross, what does that say about free will and about God?

Is it reasonable to believe that salvation is completely found in the Incarnation itself, that God taking on flesh and sharing in our human suffering was sufficient sacrifice to conquer sin and death?

Is it possible that it says more about the price we demand from God that we crucified Jesus?
 
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"For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life. For God sent forth his Son into the world, not for him to judge the world, but for the world to be saved through him. john 3;16-17



But God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. ROMANS 5;8



He who did not even spare his own Son but delivered him up for us all, why will he not also with him kindly give us all other things? ROMANS 8;32


By this the love of God was made manifest in our case, because God sent forth his only-begotten Son into the world that we might gain life through him. 1 JOHN 4;9


YES IT WAS GODS PURPOSE FOR HIS SON TO BE PUT TO DEATH.

 
Given that we have free will, at any time the events leading up to the Cross could have gone another way. Did he have to die on the cross for God's plan to be effective?

If he did have to die on the cross, what does that say about free will and about God?

Is it reasonable to believe that salvation is completely found in the Incarnation itself, that God taking on flesh and sharing in our human suffering was sufficient sacrifice to conquer sin and death?

Is it possible that it says more about the price we demand from God that we crucified Jesus?
Yes there are millions of mothers and fathers who have sent their sons and daughters off to pay the ultimate price. I really don't buy that that is such a big deal to G!d. In the space of time human's have existed for only a blink of an eye. And of the thousands of years we've been around Jesus was only here for 33 years, which means for 99.9999999999999% of the time he's been with the father. And if we believe what he says, I and the father are one, he never left.

No I don't see it as required, accepting for us he finished the task. He could have said, "Oh, yeah I can die and be resurrected, but I'm not gonna show you" We don't build religions around those guys. He took the time and effort bring into our realm of acceptablity the possibility.

Exactly we demand proof. The covenant wasn't enough for us, enough for the Jews, but not enough for the restofus.
 
Hey Luna, hey Wil. I'll follow Wil's lead in this thread by using the G, !, and d. Luna's first question was "Given that we have free will, at any time the events leading up to the Cross could have gone another way. Did he have to die on the cross for God's plan to be effective?" The stated reason for the crucifixion can be summed up in Romans 7:9-10
Romans 7
9 I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died;
10 the very commandment which promised life proved to be death to me.
The commandments have been proven to be good, but our bodies or our natural thinking have been proven to be in opposition to the commandments at all times. Enter the crucifixion. The chapters 7 & 8 of Romans go into some detail on this. Jesus agreed that his own death was just is held up as the ultimate proof that our human nature has something wrong with it (sin or error), and also the fact that it pleased G!d for his sinless son to die is considered a second proof. It is in this way that G!d has condemned sin within humanity and ultimately in Jesus' as explained by Paul. A third witness that is mentioned is our struggle to do the right things even though we often do the wrong things.
Romans 7
16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good.
17 So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me.....
24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

Romans 8
3 For G!d has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,

Isaiah 42:21 The L!RD was pleased, for his righteousness' sake, to magnify His Law and make it glorious.
By this reasoning, the willing death of a man who had not personally sinned was a necessary part of the plan to magnify G!d's law.
 
Given that we have free will, at any time the events leading up to the Cross could have gone another way. Did he have to die on the cross for God's plan to be effective?

If he did have to die on the cross, what does that say about free will and about God?

Is it reasonable to believe that salvation is completely found in the Incarnation itself, that God taking on flesh and sharing in our human suffering was sufficient sacrifice to conquer sin and death?

Is it possible that it says more about the price we demand from God that we crucified Jesus?
I am torn here. There is so much that I want to believe, and contextually makes too much sense.

First, blood sacrifice for atonement was the norm in Jesus' day. We may cringe now, but it was the way it was supposed to be in accord with the Torah. With this as a foundation I find no great mystery that Jesus was offered to shed blood as a sacrifice for remission of sin.

Second, if the Gospel is to be believed, then Jesus died on the cross (stake or pole for mee's sake) at the very same hour the Paschal lambs were being slaughtered in preparation for the Passover. A *very* special sacrifice indeed.

Third, with the same caveat, is that at the moment Jesus died the Temple Veil was rent (torn) in two *from the top down,* which then opened the Holy of Holies to the sanctuary. There is very big medicine here.

Fourth, and I realize this often receives strong contest from our Jewish friends, but I find more and more occasions where it certainly seems to me that Jesus in life and death fulfilled a number of prophecies in Isaiah, Ezekiel and the Psalms among others, some written a thousand years before the event.

These to me are some pretty strong metaphysical witnesses to the power of the life and teachings of Jesus. For all of the objections and rational arguments against the Divinity of Jesus, I have yet to hear any significant argument that begins to approach these important aspects without wholly dismissing the Gospel texts.

That's my take on the matter.
 
Whipped, tortured with thorns, slapped in the face and spit upon, this Righteous One was then nailed to a torture stake to suffer an agonizing drawn-out death.


Finally, about 3 p.m. on Friday, Nisan 14 in the year 33 C.E., Jesus with his last breath cried out: "It has been accomplished!"—Mark 15:16-20; John 19:1-3, 30.



Yes, all that Jehovah had purposed in sending his only-begotten Son to earth had been fully accomplished.

Jesus had learned obedience by the things suffered; had proved the Devil a liar and qualified himself to be Vindicator of Jehovah in the issue of universal sovereignty.

He had come to "bear witness to the truth," and this he certainly did.

He preached good news to the poor, comforted mourners and declared Jehovah’s day of vengeance to high and low alike.

Jesus worked what was good, was rich in fine works, was most liberal with his time and energy in behalf of others, was ready to share his great knowledge and wisdom with others, and in the end he finally got a firm hold on the real life, everlasting life in the heavens with his Father.—John 18:37; 1 Tim. 6:12, 18, 19; Heb. 5:8.
 
What does the ransom involve?

You might think of it this way: Suppose you had a computer but one of its electronic files was corrupted by an error (or virus) that someone had planted in an otherwise perfect program.

That illustrates the effect of what Adam did when he deliberately disobeyed God, or sinned.

Let us continue the illustration. Whatever copies you might make of the corrupted electronic file would be affected.

However, all need not be lost. With a special program, you could detect and purge the corrupting error from your files and computer.
Comparably, mankind has received a "virus," sin, from Adam and Eve, and we need outside help to wipe it out. (Romans 5:12) According to the Bible, God provided for this cleansing through Jesus’ death. It is a loving provision from which we can benefit.—1 Corinthians 15:22.
 
Hi All,

Thank you for the responses so far. First let me say that I am coming at this from a Trinitarian, creed-based view. So, the Incarnation and divinity of Jesus is a given. That Jesus died for our salvation is a given. I am interested in how our free will intersects with God's plan.

I may be mistaken, but I think I've read from a Catholic perspective that Jesus did not have to die on the Cross; things did not have to unfold they way that they did. Maybe if I give my own answers to the questions it will clarify what I'm trying to get at.

Given that we have free will, at any time the events leading up to the Cross could have gone another way. Did he have to die on the cross for God's plan to be effective?
I agree with the first sentence above. We have free will. Judas betrayed Jesus of his free will and at any time could have changed his mind and not gone through with it. Events could have unfolded in a way that did not lead to Jesus being crucified.

It may be that even if it was not Judas and the crucifixion, it would have been some other set of circumstances that lead to the killing of Jesus. It could be that the world really can't bear perfect love, that the world will always say 'No!'

But, if we have free will and it was necessary that Jesus be killed, rather than dying a natural death (whether free or imprisoned), it seems a rather risky plan.

If he did have to die on the cross, what does that say about free will and about God?
Would God really implement a plan that required us to kill him?

Is it reasonable to believe that salvation is completely found in the Incarnation itself, that God taking on flesh and sharing in our human suffering was sufficient sacrifice to conquer sin and death?
If Jesus had died a natural death and resurrected, would it be the same?

Is it possible that it says more about the price we demand from God that we crucified Jesus?
This I don't have an answer to. In a recent discussion someone seemed to make the point that if we personally don't take responsibility for killing Jesus, we also can't claim that he died for our sin.

Any replies about these particular ideas?
 
Since this is related to theories of atonement, I'll throw my thoughts on that out here with the caveat, ultimately I think that the atonement is a Mystery. Theories of atonement are useful in that they help us explore our relatioship with God, but I don't think that 'knowing the right theory' is required for salvation.

I don't fully buy the substitutionary atonement theory even though the idea that Christ was a sacrifice for our sins is very meaningful to me. It just does not make sense to me that God requires that we sacrifce an animal or a Person to forgive us. It's not quid pro quo.

Forgiveness is free. It really is the dollar being held out for us to take. It is the prodigal son, forgiven before he is in earshot of his father's house. It is the adultress forgiven before Jesus tells her to sin no more.

The catch is, before Jesus we did not know how to accept that dollar, or what it would mean. Forgiveness is freely given and costs us everything. It costs us our life. When we take the dollar we've given up everything else.

Jesus mission was to show us perfect love and where perfect love leads us: to the death of our selves. By his death evil was exhausted, and no longer has a hold on us. The way I think of this is as if Jesus' love was a black hole. As we poured our evil and sin on him, as we nailed him to the cross, he perfectly absorbed all that evil with perfect non-resistance. And he still perfectly absorbs the evil we pour out in our repentence and through the Sacraments. In this sense, it makes sense that we need to claim our role in nailing him to the cross to partake in his salvation.
 
Given that we have free will, at any time the events leading up to the Cross could have gone another way. Did he have to die on the cross for God's plan to be effective?
Yes.

If he did have to die on the cross, what does that say about free will and about God?
It was not for God's sake He dies on the Cross, but for ours. It's not the God demands the Cross, it's that we are too blind to see the Cross is the inevitable outcome of our actions.

God didn't bring Christ to Golgotha ... we did.

For St Gregory of Nyssa (c335-394), the poet and mystic, God is he who is Being as his Nature, whereas creatures exist only by participating in that inexhaustible source of Being — their being, our being, is a gift — without God, we would not exist, and that holds true for every given moment ... we exist, moment to moment, by an act of Divine Grace in keeping the world in continuance.

If the creature turns away from this source with a desire to belong to itself, to become the reason of its own being, it has engaged in a process of the separation of the self from the source of being (sin), the inevitable and eventual outcome of which is the total and absolute loss of being, the annihilation of the self.

Is it reasonable to believe that salvation is completely found in the Incarnation itself, that God taking on flesh and sharing in our human suffering was sufficient sacrifice to conquer sin and death?
Yes, although the taking of flesh and the sharing in the human condition is not sufficient in itself.

The human condition is tragically flawed, or wounded, which blinds man, and this blindness must be healed ... but if the healing involves taking away the capacity to sin, then man is healed, and made less than man ... so the would must be healed, but the way left open for man to sin if he so chooses ...

Christ overcomes death not by magicing it away, but by passing through it, and doing so as man, not as a God, "Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani? that is, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matt 27:46), and by a supreme act of faith in the face of this utter forsakeness "And Jesus crying out with a loud voice, said: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. And saying this, he gave up the ghost" (Luke 23:46).

Christ took on the human part 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' and opened the way through that veil with 'Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit'.

The physical presence of Christ in the world at all shows we are not forsaken — he who has seen Christ has seen God, and the physical presence of Christ in the world, after the Resurrection, shows that "he that shall lose his life for me, shall find it" (Matt 10:39).

Man actualised death;
Christ actualised salvation.
The Cross is the means by which man is saved, and remains free.

Is it possible that it says more about the price we demand from God that we crucified Jesus?
In the spirit of the question, yes — although we can make no demand of God whatsoever. I'd say it's more then lengths God is obliged to go for us, rather than the price we extract from Him.

Thomas
 
I guess the problem I've always had is that I don't see what practical difference it's made that Jesus died. His martyrdom was hugely instrumental in establishing his cultus, but what the practical effect of "salvation" is is entirely unclear to me.

Chris
 
Hi Chris —

"Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me."
John 14:6.

Without His death, we'd never have seen it ... ?

I think an answer might be found in John 20:11-15
"But Mary stood at the sepulchre without, weeping. Now as she was weeping, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And she saw two angels in white, sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been laid."

I say an answer because this is, as far as I am aware (others may have said it) my speculation:
I think the two angels are the two Cherubim of Genesis 3:24 — "And he cast out Adam; and placed before the paradise of pleasure Cherubims, and a flaming sword, turning every way, to keep the way of the tree of life" ... we gave up the way to the tree of life when we fell, we chose death.

For Mary, He is gone, she knows not where:
"They say to her: Woman, why weepest thou? She saith to them: Because they have taken away my Lord; and I know not where they have laid him."
The angels know. The flaming sword, the Pillar of Fire that led Israel in her Exodus, has become the light of life, and still we comprehendeth it not. This is the human condition. In entering into our own being, we have lost sight of God, and in so doing lost sight of our own true nature. This unknowing is the fear that binds us, that outside us there is nothing. We can only rely on ourselves because there is nothing else. We don't know what happens when we die ... and we fear extinction.

"When she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing; and she knew not that it was Jesus."
This is the good person, who 'turned herself back' from the way of Adam, but the reality remains ... she does not know Jesus even now.

"Jesus saith to her: Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, thinking it was the gardener, saith to him: Sir, if thou hast taken him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away."
The gardener she thought is the Gardener of the world — He who planted the garden, and planted man therein, to care for it, and nurture it ... and in man's failing to obey that commandment, He has been caring, and nurturing it, and us, ever since. It is a prayer to the unknown God.

"Jesus saith to her: Mary. She turning, saith to him: Rabboni (which is to say, Master)."
So Mary turns again ... which way now does she face now? First she faced into the sepulchre, and saw it empty of that which she sought, then she turned away to the gardener, to ask the way to that which she seeks — now she turns — again — (to the sepulchre?) and sees Him whom she seeks.

In saying her name, He revealed Himself to her, he revealed His inner nature, His interiority — this goes beyond the 'good man' — both know God, but the Christian knows in person — she is in God, but God is in her also, in the Person of Jesus Christ.

And she sees life beyond the veil. He had to die, because we need proof, from the 'other side' that life here is worth it.

That's what His death and resurrection says: 1 Corinthians 13:12 "We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know I part; but then I shall know even as I am known."
How can man understand God? How can man comprehend the Eternal, the Absolute, how can man talk of 'union' — for union can only happen by what we share in common ... And what we share in common is 'being', and that being encompasses a nature (which is general and invisible) and a person (which is particular, and visible).

So He had to die, not that we might live, but that we might believe, and thereby live.

He rose from the dead ... and not as an idea, or an ideal, or a myth, or a metaphor, not even as a spirit, not even as a God, but as a God-man, by which we may know that, for us, there is a continuity of being from this side of the veil to the other ... not some abstract idea of an anonymous soul or as something other in another mode of being, but as us ... Mary saw it, Thomas had touch of it ...

... Life not in the sense of a drop-let absorbed into the ocean — a wonderful image, but one in which the droplet ceases to be, it loses its identity.

In that Resurrection, as John was to see so clearly, we can live in Him now, we can be transformed, not only to live in the Way and the Truth of Life, but in the Spirit which illuminates and animates that Life ... and in so doing we might transform the world, if only because we shape the world in which we live.

He had to die, and come again, so that we might believe there is life after death.

+++

He could have died an old man, in bed, surrounded by His friends, a happy man ... but that would not encompass our human state, an easy death is not given to all.

But that's not the point.

He did not bear the brunt of death, He bore the brunt of sin, the crushing burden that breaks us ... the privation of every human good, the stripping away and flaying of everything that we are, to its eventual finality in death, and not just death but everything that accompanies it — the sense of betrayal, doubt, fear, pain, trial, condemnation, victimisation, suffering, abuse, thirst, ignomany, destitution, abandonment, extinction ...

His last words say it all "And Jesus crying out with a loud voice, said: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. And saying this, he gave up the ghost."
Luke 23:46

In the depths of His abandonment, He gave up the very last thing He had, the only thing He had left, because, God forgive us, we had stripped Him of everything else. He surrended the very last fragment of his being, the only thing left He could call His own, to God.

And he came back that we might have faith, and thus life, in Him.

Thomas
 
Thanks for the effort, Thomas. It all just seems so, what's the word? ...mythological, I guess. There doesn't seem to be an entry point that doesn't require a very large leap of faith.

Chris
 
I'm sure I saw something on the BBC news yesterday about Jesus not being crucified but taking revenge on his enemies. :eek:

Somebody tell me I didn't dream that....

s.
 
Hi Chris —

It's a doozie, isn't it?

I sometimes wonder whether that 'very large leap' is required to cross the gap from how we determine the world to be, to how it is. We are so conformed to this reality, and render anything else as myth or fairy tale.

It's difficult to believe someone might give so much ... for me.

Then again, wiser heads than mine assure me that faith in God is a gift, not a given, and something that has to be worked at — but that's the orthodox view, that all might be saved, not just pre-determined elect — at ground, we have to let Christ in (a gloriously cheesey statement, but real, none the less), we have to open the door.

Have you seen "The Light of the World" by William Holman Hunt?

The point is, there's no handle on the door, He can't get in unless the door's opened from the inside. This order of faith enters, it is not generated. We have to let in He who is every man's neighbour.

But then I read elsewhere:
But nobody is going to tell me how I'd be better off with religion. I'm happy and free without it, and that's the way it's going to stay.

OK, that's your experience, but don't tell me you've come to terms with it, brother, because you haven't ... I'd say you've walled yourself in.

In love,

Thomas
 
First let me say that I am coming at this from a Trinitarian, creed-based view. So, the Incarnation and divinity of Jesus is a given. That Jesus died for our salvation is a given. I am interested in how our free will intersects with God's plan.
I am wondering then if the question is mistaken, dear Luna. For if Jesus is Divine and G-d, then his will *is* the will of G-d, there is no "free" about it.

Therein lies a difference, in that all of the rest of us humans are free to will against or other than what G-d wills. If Jesus was G-d, he could not possibly will against or other than what G-d wills, because he is G-d. Jesus' will and our will then become two completely different critters.

Would God really implement a plan that required us to kill him?
Who are we to say what G-d would or would not do? He is G-d, He can implement whatever He wishes, it is His game to play as He sees fit. I trust there is some reason behind it all that I do not now understand but that is right and proper and meant to be.
 
I am wondering then if the question is mistaken, dear Luna. For if Jesus is Divine and G-d, then his will *is* the will of G-d, there is no "free" about it.

Your question goes to the heart of the Mystery — Jesus Christ is true God and true man — so the question of His human will is very much a real one — else 'Incarnation' is a misnomer — and the Gospels testify to that, without doubt.

I assume Lunamoth is coming at the question from the orthodox viewpoint — not the erroneous one, in assuming Christ is either a God, or a man, so from an orthodox point of view, your point is invalid.

Thomas
 
If Jesus had refused, then he would not have been forced. Just going from the gospels, letters, etc. If he had refused it is likely that he would have undergone further discipline until he finally said 'Yes, I'll do it.'
Hebrews 5
7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to
save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear.
8 Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered;
If he continued to refuse all of his life. I think that it would mean something terrible had gone wrong. Certainly he didn't just pop out of the womb ready to die though.
 
Yes.

+++
It was not for God's sake He dies on the Cross, but for ours. It's not the God demands the Cross, it's that we are too blind to see the Cross is the inevitable outcome of our actions.

God didn't bring Christ to Golgotha ... we did.
+++

Man actualised death;
Christ actualised salvation.
The Cross is the means by which man is saved, and remains free.


In the spirit of the question, yes — although we can make no demand of God whatsoever. I'd say it's more then lengths God is obliged to go for us, rather than the price we extract from Him.

Thomas

Thank you for the reply Thomas. I think you are getting where I am coming from (thank you eveyone else too!). I am approaching this from a (hopefully) orthodox view.

About the part I underlined, what I'm wondering is what would have happened if we had not brought Christ to Golgotha? We had to do it by our free will, but if our free will is free then it might not have happened. We were compelled by our evil nature, but not by God.

What if Jesus had been imprisoned instead?
 
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