Religious Mysteries 101 – The Crucifixion, Part 2


 

But, hey, Christians tell us Jesus had to die for our sins. A typical conversation might go something like this:

 

 Monotheist: Oh. So you believe God died?

Trinitarian: No, no, perish the thought. Only the man died.

Monotheist: In that case, the sacrifice didn’t need to be divine, if only the man-part died.

Trinitarian: No, no, no. The man-part died, but Jesus/God had to suffer on the cross to atone for our sins.

Monotheist: What do you mean “had to”? God doesn’t “have to” anything.

Trinitarian: God needed a sacrifice and a human wouldn’t do. God needed a sacrifice big enough to atone for the sins of humankind, so He sent His only begotten son.

Monotheist: Then we have a different concept of God. The God I believe in doesn’t have needs. My God never wants to do something but can’t because He needs something to make it possible. My God never says, “Gee, I want to do this, but I can’t. First I need this certain something. Let’s see, where can I find it?” In that scenario God would be dependent upon whatever entity could satisfy His needs. In other words, God would have to have a higher god. For a strict monotheist that’s just not possible, for God is One, supreme, self-sufficient, the source of all creation. Humankind has needs, God doesn’t. We need His guidance, mercy and forgiveness, but He doesn’t need anything in exchange. He may desire servitude and worship, but he doesn’t need it.

Trinitarian: But that’s the point; God tells us to worship Him, and we do that through prayer. But God is pure and holy, and humankind are sinners. We can’t approach God directly because of the impurity of our sins. Hence, we need an intercessor to pray through.

Monotheist: Question—did Jesus sin?

Trinitarian: Nope, he was sinless.

Monotheist: How pure was he?

Trinitarian: Jesus? 100% pure. He was God/Son of God, so he was 100% holy.

Monotheist: But then we can’t approach Jesus any more than we can God, by your criterion. Your premise is that humankind can’t pray directly to God because of the incompatibility of sinful man and the purity of anything 100% holy. If Jesus was 100% holy, then he’s no more approachable than God. On the other hand, if Jesus wasn’t 100% holy, then he was himself tainted and couldn’t approach God directly, much less be God, the Son of God, or partner with God.

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Religious Mysteries 101 – The Crucifixion, Part 1

 

Of all the Christian mysteries, none rank as highly as the concept of Christ’s crucifixion and atoning sacrifice. In fact, Christians base their salvation on this one tenet of faith. And if it really happened, shouldn’t we all?

If it really happened, that is.

Now, I don’t know about you, but the concept of Jesus Christ having atoned for the sins of mankind sounds pretty good to me. And shouldn’t it? I mean, if we can trust that someone else atoned for all of our sins, and we can go to heaven on that concept alone, shouldn’t we instantly close on that deal?

If it really happened, that is.

So let’s check this out. We’re told Jesus Christ was crucified. But then again, we’re told a lot of things that later prove to be doubtful or even untrue, so it would be reassuring if we could verify the fact.

So let’s ask the witnesses. Let’s ask the gospel authors.

Umm, one problem. We don’t know who the authors were. This is a less popular Christian mystery (i.e., waaay less popular) – the fact that all four gospels of the New Testament are anonymous.  Nobody knows who wrote them. Graham Stanton tells us, “The gospels, unlike most Graeco-Roman writings, are anonymous. The familiar headings which give the name of an author (‘The Gospel according to . . .’) were not part of the original manuscripts, for they were added only early in the second century.”
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