Jump to content

Did Jesus Have To Be Killed?


murmsk
 Share

Recommended Posts

Just as a starter, and first thoughts only.

 

The first thing I thought of when seeing this question was Blake's "If moral virtue were Christianity then Socrates was the Saviour".

 

In terms of a ministry of 30 years, I assume what is meant is 30 years of moral teaching, of teachings concerning the "Father" and "his" relationship with us? Of how we can, in some sense, become like "him"?

 

In my understanding, there is no Faith in this world that merely equates moral virue or "knowledge" as such with "salvation - or "enlightenment." It does seem to me that Christianity rests in some way upon the "death" of Christ and of our relationship with it. Take that away and we DO have merely a "teaching", one dimensional, of a certain worth, yet of no more worth than any other "teaching".

 

Just first thoughts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My own view is that Jesus, through his death, symbolizes the emergence of a new order out of the reigning status quo thus reversing the the notion of a "fall" from a perfect beginning. Adam and Jesus unite to form a new symbol that points to a goal not yet attained.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think under the corrupt political and religious culture which Jesus lived under and given what kind of message he was preaching, Jesus' death may have been inevitable but I don't think it was required as part of some divine plan for salvation. The Christian belief of original sin is not found anywhere in the bible and was invented by St. Augustine who had a cynical view of life and the times he was living in. There were other church fathers and theologians who had different views of salvation than original sin, though. Pelagius was an ancient Christian theologian who believed Jesus' death was merely an example for Christians to follow and that salvation came from following the example of Jesus rather than Jesus' death being a spotless sacrifice for our sins. The church father, Origen, believed in universal salvation and believed even demons would eventually be saved. The bible itself has a wide variety of different views on salvation. Paul teaches salvation through faith in the resurrection but in the synoptic gospels, Jesus teaches salvation through works and that what matters isn't your faith but how you treat other people. Jesus himself places more emphasis on giving to the poor and our actions in this life than he does in his death and it's only mostly post-Easter Christian theology that obsesses over Jesus' death. Jesus died for our sins in the same sense that MLK Jr died for the civil rights movement but neither examples are divine requirements by God. If Jesus didn't die, Christianity may have turned out to be a very different religion, but given that none of the Jews expected the messiah to have died, there's no guarantee Jesus' teachings wouldn't have survived without Jesus' death.

Edited by Neon Genesis
  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It does seem to me that Christianity rests in some way upon the "death" of Christ and of our relationship with it. Take that away and we DO have merely a "teaching", one dimensional, of a certain worth,

 

Certainly each Christian must find a relationship to that part of the Jesus story. The responses to the death within the Christian community are so varied that I think at times the death is only an image which has no value in the story beyond that until some community of Christians makes something of it. Sometimes the it is the horrific image of Christ being sacrificed for our debts that is important. Sometimes it the expression of self sacrificing love which we are to follow that is important . The death is there but I don't know that it makes us 2D or 3D better.

 

Is Islam 1D? Ethical monotheism of some Jews? Buddhism? Hinduism?

 

The idea that Jesus's self sacrificing love is not the action of a super hero saving his people but as a way of being which we may imitate I think is new. The gospel narratives don't agree that payment for a debt is the correct interpretation.

 

Life long teaching

 

Ayn Rand

Mohammed

Buddha

 

The development of democracy with many named and unnamed teachers.

 

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It does seem to me that Christianity rests in some way upon the "death" of Christ and of our relationship with it. Take that away and we DO have merely a "teaching", one dimensional, of a certain worth,

 

Certainly each Christian must find a relationship to that part of the Jesus story. The responses to the death within the Christian community are so varied that I think at times the death is only an image which has no value in the story beyond that until some community of Christians makes something of it. Sometimes the it is the horrific image of Christ being sacrificed for our debts that is important. Sometimes it the expression of self sacrificing love which we are to follow that is important . The death is there but I don't know that it makes us 2D or 3D better.

 

Is Islam 1D? Ethical monotheism of some Jews? Buddhism? Hinduism?

 

The idea that Jesus's self sacrificing love is not the action of a super hero saving his people but as a way of being which we may imitate I think is new. The gospel narratives don't agree that payment for a debt is the correct interpretation.

 

Life long teaching

 

Ayn Rand

Mohammed

Buddha

 

The development of democracy with many named and unnamed teachers.

 

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

 

Yes, I was just giving first thoughts and a personal view. Its just my own experience that when we see "religion" as purely an ethical teaching, first the ethics become objectified "out there" and we seek to attain and live them. It may just be me, but this leads into Phariseeism - and if not, into the despair of the attainment. It has been my understanding of the various faiths that they seek a way around this consequence. Buddhism speaks of "wisdom" ( and not of a wisdom of the "self", as its unique feature is its anatta doctrine, No-self), wisdom as "the mind/heart thirsting for emancipation seeing direct into the heart of reality" (definition by Buddhist scholar Edward Conze) Cutting a long story short( B) ), morality/ethics is born as a by-product of such wisdom. Buddhism, in my understanding, is the unfolding of various paths to uncover such wisdom.

 

I just transpose this onto Christianity. Without the "death" of Christ featuring in some way, then it seems to me to be reduced to a moral system pure and simple. Personally, from my own Buddhist perspective, it is in the idea of kenosis, the self emptying of Christ, within the Incarnation and exemplified further in the Cross, that Christianity transcends itself from being a purely moral system. (Phillipians 2:7). In following Christ, the self is emptied of "self" and - in this "wisdom" - exists for others.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

(snip)

It has been my understanding of the various faiths that they seek a way around this consequence. Buddhism speaks of "wisdom" ( and not of a wisdom of the "self", as its unique feature is its anatta doctrine, No-self), wisdom as "the mind/heart thirsting for emancipation seeing direct into the heart of reality" (definition by Buddhist scholar Edward Conze) Cutting a long story short( cool.gif ), morality/ethics is born as a by-product of such wisdom. Buddhism, in my understanding, is the unfolding of various paths to uncover such wisdom.

 

(snip)

 

 

Yes, and Christianity also speaks of a wisdom that is not of this world but one that is beyond all understanding. The death, seems to me to have at least some symbolic meaning that adds to Christianity yet is common also to other teachings. Could it be called Christianity without his physical death? In my view, yes, but "as a religion", it is my opinion that it was made more significant and noteworthy to many by such a death than if it had not been that way.

 

Joseph

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In one sense, Jesus did not have to be killed. He had no obligation to save anyone. He could have chosen not to save anyone.

 

In another sense, Jesus had to be killed. In order for there to be salvation for anyone, Jesus had to be killed. God demands that there is a penalty for sin and that penalty is death. The sins of other people were imputed to Jesus and Jesus paid sin's penalty. Since Jesus paid sin's penalty for them, they do not have to pay that penalty. God no longer requires that they pay sin's penalty because Jesus paid it for them. If Jesus had not died, then God would still require that they pay sin's penalty. If God accepted people into heaven without their penalty being paid for, then that would pervert God's justice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

thus reversing the the notion of a "fall" from a perfect beginning.

 

minsocal, do you mean changing our understanding of what happened in Eden or do you mean completing the fall with a "rising up"? or?

 

 

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

 

Dutch,

 

A proper answer to you question would be fairly involved. As a starter, I suggest this:

 

"At the other end of the spectrum is the process worldview, in which human nature is viewed as still evolving, still being created with human cooperation. The basic assumption in this worldview is that human nature has never been without flaws. Physical and moral evil are the unavoidable dark side of our struggle to grow as persons to our fuller potential in the image of Christ, the Second Adam. Good and evil are linked together as we explore and discover new, deeper expressions and meanings of our human potential and sexual nature. Certain general principles of what is right and wrong in human behavior are acknowledged, but specific decisions about what is right and wrong depend on applying these basic premises to our relationships, sexual and otherwise, and their context ..."

 

http://www2.hu-berlin.de/sexology/GESUND/ARCHIV/catholic.htm#Process

 

minsocal

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am very put off by the notion that Jesus' death is in any way related to salvation. To me, Jesus was one of those people who knew that they had to take actions that put him at risk of being executed by those in power. I don't think it matters whether or not they actually killed him. What seems important is his willingness to risk his life and to risk being tortured and humiliated in order to give a chance of dignity and freedom to others. Perhaps it is simply a stroke of fortune that his actions led to the creation of Christianity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Minsocal

 

"At the other end of the spectrum is the process worldview, in which human nature is viewed as still evolving, still being created with human cooperation.

 

From Jakob Boehme I understand this but what I am interested in is this from your link.

 

Theological emphasis shifts to the Second Adam, Jesus, at the end of time.

 

How is Jesus the Second Adam? Why is Jesus at the end of time in an evolving universe?

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am of the same thought as Grampaw.. Its kinda fun to think about what Christianity might have looked like had he had more time. We might be reading Jesus' letters instead of Pauls.....

 

steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cutting a long story short :unsure: , morality/ethics is born as a by-product of such wisdom

 

Without the "death" of Christ featuring in some way, then it seems to me to be reduced to a moral system pure and simple. Personally, from my own Buddhist perspective, it is in the idea of kenosis, the self emptying of Christ, within the Incarnation and exemplified further in the Cross, that Christianity transcends itself from being a purely moral system. (Phillipians 2:7). In following Christ, the self is emptied of "self" and - in this "wisdom" - exists for others.

 

As one who is not sure about Jesus I thank you for this perspective.

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In one sense, Jesus did not have to be killed. He had no obligation to save anyone. He could have chosen not to save anyone.

 

In another sense, Jesus had to be killed. In order for there to be salvation for anyone, Jesus had to be killed. God demands that there is a penalty for sin and that penalty is death. The sins of other people were imputed to Jesus and Jesus paid sin's penalty. Since Jesus paid sin's penalty for them, they do not have to pay that penalty. God no longer requires that they pay sin's penalty because Jesus paid it for them. If Jesus had not died, then God would still require that they pay sin's penalty. If God accepted people into heaven without their penalty being paid for, then that would pervert God's justice.

 

I've been reflecting upon this, wondering exactly what the "sense" may be. Initially the view expressed had some sort of resonance with a choice of words I read long ago in a letter of Merton's, that true "mysticism" must needs be "the contact of two liberties", and that a "mysticism" born of drugs would fall short of this. (In a way, perhaps this was the beginning of my own rejection of certain Buddhist "techniques" for "gaining/attaining" wisdom/insight, and my drift towards the Pure Land expression of the Faith)

 

Taking it all in, where the view expressed falls down - for me - is in the implication that while the Divine's "justice" would be compromised by pure acceptance, the Divine's love would not be so compromised if the Divine "chose" not to rescue us from our "sin". Given that love is seen as the greatest thing of all, at least in human terms, this implication appears questionable.

 

And further, I would ask just WHEN was the decision made to "save" - and therefore "die" for us? "We were chosen before the foundation of the world" (Ephesians). I will leave it to the logicians to debate if even an omnipotent God could in fact foresee the totally free choice of a human being prior to being created..........(its the sort of question that quite frankly puts my poor old head in a spin) But if He can, then the choice to "save" seems to have been made fairly early on in proceedings. If not, and God was in fact shocked by the decision to "reject" Him, one wonders why things have gone on so long, given the terrible consequences of delay - taking Conservative theology and belief at face value.

 

Really, I cannot help but agree with a summing up made by the philosopher J.E.Barnhart.....That many fundamentalist/conservatives have had to walk away from at least one version of the "God that failed". That God seemed to them to be made in the image of the ignoble, agressive dimension of mortal man. Some aspects of their evangelical faith were very meaningful to them, but they discovered that most of these meaningful and valuable aspects could be found elsewhere without all the meaningless aspects.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

As one who is not sure about Jesus I thank you for this perspective.

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

 

Dutch,

 

And thanks for the thanks. Really I truly seek to see it as passing on what has been passed on.........

 

I've spoken of other forums where I have debated with other Christians of various colours. Seeking to express various things, mainly just the infinite Grace and Mercy of the Divine, and that this has no barriers accept those made by ourselves.

 

I have been called.......a ravenous wolf (grrrr grrrr), a false prophet, carnal, the natural man, hypocrite, and told that I do not "have the spirit", that my "days are numbered", that.......I could genuinely go on if I could actually remember it all. I think the only accolade missing is that of a "pig returning to his vomit", but surely its only a matter of time?

 

To be honest, I am a very vulnerable person, and it really doesnt come easy to come in for all this.

 

Anyway, just to explain why your own thanks are meaningful to me.

 

"For the earth brings forth fruits of herself"

 

All the best

Derek

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Derek,

 

In a sense I am rebuilding my spiritual world. First, my Sunday theodicy made no sense. Then, an interventionist God made no sense. An historical Jesus is a problem because of the specificity and the minute part of the 13.7 billion years the earth has been around Jesus is here.

 

I find it beneficial to see this statement succinctly stated - although hard to live -

Cutting a long story short :unsure: , morality/ethics is born as a by-product of such wisdom

 

 

The following, especially since you used Christ not Jesus, provides a door that perhaps transcends specificity.

 

it is in the idea of kenosis, the self emptying of Christ, within the Incarnation and exemplified further in the Cross, that Christianity transcends itself from being a purely moral system. (Phillipians 2:7). In following Christ, the self is emptied of "self" and - in this "wisdom" - exists for others.

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Minsocal

 

"At the other end of the spectrum is the process worldview, in which human nature is viewed as still evolving, still being created with human cooperation.

 

From Jakob Boehme I understand this but what I am interested in is this from your link.

 

Theological emphasis shifts to the Second Adam, Jesus, at the end of time.

 

How is Jesus the Second Adam? Why is Jesus at the end of time in an evolving universe?

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

 

Dutch,

 

First, some comments on the evolution of human nature. The best evidence we have today appears to condradict some of the basic assumptions some religious sects have made concerning human nature. By the middle of the 19th Century, some Christians began to question the dogma of "total depravity" found in Luther and Calvin. Evolution began to provide new answers to old questions and new questions that replaced old assumptions. Evolution is adaptation without teleology. It is Aristotle's efficient caustion and, since it lacks intentionality, it cannot be deemed "good" or "evil". Our problem is not in our nature as such, but in how we use our nature in maladptive ways. Here is a list of innate adaptive response cataloged by Dr. Paul Valent (himself a Holocaust survivor):

 

1. In the aftermath of a large scale disaster we:

 

1a. Must rescue others (rescue, protect, provide) or,

1b. Must wait to be rescued (attachment, protected, provided).

 

2. As self-responsible individuals we often engage in goal oriented behaviors accompanied by the following appraisals:

 

2a. Must acieve goals (assertiveness, combat, work) or,

2b. Must surrender goals (adapting, accepting, grieving).

 

3. When in the presence of immediate danger we:

 

3a. Must remove danger (fight, defend, rid) or,

3b. Must remove ourselves from danger (flight, run, hide, save onself).

 

4. When essentials are scarce we can:

 

4a. Obtain scarce essentials (compete, dominate, acquire) or,

4b. Create scarce essentials (cooperation, trust, mutual gain)

 

When I read the Bible, I see all of these themes played out in various ways, especially in the Old Testament. From this list, I would say war is often a maladaptive form of 4a and not the adptive form of 3a. Based on the experience of war and conflict, early progressives realized this and found the antidote in the teachings of Jesus, appropriately enough as they called themselves followers of Jesus and not Plato or Aristotle.

 

Given this list, Jesus represents to me the transition from the First Adam locked in a world efficient causation to one of choice (final causes) in which the "end of time" is that point at which our own choices reach the goal mapped out by Jesus. This could be an individual approaching wholeness in his/her lifetime or societies over a much longer period of time. How long will it take? Old folk saying ... "time will tell".

 

Take care,

 

minsocal

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been reflecting upon this, wondering exactly what the "sense" may be. Initially the view expressed had some sort of resonance with a choice of words I read long ago in a letter of Merton's, that true "mysticism" must needs be "the contact of two liberties", and that a "mysticism" born of drugs would fall short of this. (In a way, perhaps this was the beginning of my own rejection of certain Buddhist "techniques" for "gaining/attaining" wisdom/insight, and my drift towards the Pure Land expression of the Faith)

 

Taking it all in, where the view expressed falls down - for me - is in the implication that while the Divine's "justice" would be compromised by pure acceptance, the Divine's love would not be so compromised if the Divine "chose" not to rescue us from our "sin". Given that love is seen as the greatest thing of all, at least in human terms, this implication appears questionable.

 

And further, I would ask just WHEN was the decision made to "save" - and therefore "die" for us? "We were chosen before the foundation of the world" (Ephesians). I will leave it to the logicians to debate if even an omnipotent God could in fact foresee the totally free choice of a human being prior to being created..........(its the sort of question that quite frankly puts my poor old head in a spin) But if He can, then the choice to "save" seems to have been made fairly early on in proceedings. If not, and God was in fact shocked by the decision to "reject" Him, one wonders why things have gone on so long, given the terrible consequences of delay - taking Conservative theology and belief at face value.

 

Really, I cannot help but agree with a summing up made by the philosopher J.E.Barnhart.....That many fundamentalist/conservatives have had to walk away from at least one version of the "God that failed". That God seemed to them to be made in the image of the ignoble, agressive dimension of mortal man. Some aspects of their evangelical faith were very meaningful to them, but they discovered that most of these meaningful and valuable aspects could be found elsewhere without all the meaningless aspects.

 

God made the decision to save people before He created the world.

 

If God did not make a plan of salvation, would this mean that He does not love people?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been reflecting upon this, wondering exactly what the "sense" may be. Initially the view expressed had some sort of resonance with a choice of words I read long ago in a letter of Merton's, that true "mysticism" must needs be "the contact of two liberties", and that a "mysticism" born of drugs would fall short of this. (In a way, perhaps this was the beginning of my own rejection of certain Buddhist "techniques" for "gaining/attaining" wisdom/insight, and my drift towards the Pure Land expression of the Faith)

 

Taking it all in, where the view expressed falls down - for me - is in the implication that while the Divine's "justice" would be compromised by pure acceptance, the Divine's love would not be so compromised if the Divine "chose" not to rescue us from our "sin". Given that love is seen as the greatest thing of all, at least in human terms, this implication appears questionable.

 

And further, I would ask just WHEN was the decision made to "save" - and therefore "die" for us? "We were chosen before the foundation of the world" (Ephesians). I will leave it to the logicians to debate if even an omnipotent God could in fact foresee the totally free choice of a human being prior to being created..........(its the sort of question that quite frankly puts my poor old head in a spin) But if He can, then the choice to "save" seems to have been made fairly early on in proceedings. If not, and God was in fact shocked by the decision to "reject" Him, one wonders why things have gone on so long, given the terrible consequences of delay - taking Conservative theology and belief at face value.

 

Really, I cannot help but agree with a summing up made by the philosopher J.E.Barnhart.....That many fundamentalist/conservatives have had to walk away from at least one version of the "God that failed". That God seemed to them to be made in the image of the ignoble, agressive dimension of mortal man. Some aspects of their evangelical faith were very meaningful to them, but they discovered that most of these meaningful and valuable aspects could be found elsewhere without all the meaningless aspects.

 

If God foresees all of the things that we would do in the future and we cannot act contrary to what God foreknows we will do, then do we really have freedom? We can still have freedom if we act according to our desires and our desires are generated in an appropriate way (i.e. not being brainwashed, not being hypnotized, not being deceived, etc. )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

minsocal,

 

Given this list, Jesus represents to me the transition from the First Adam locked in a world efficient causation to one of choice (final causes) in which the "end of time" is that point at which our own choices reach the goal mapped out by Jesus. This could be an individual approaching wholeness in his/her lifetime or societies over a much longer period of time.

 

I understand you now. Your Adam is different than mine. For me Adam is the first step out of the womb of Eden and the first step up - a maturing into adult hood. By choice. His final cause would be the same as mine. For me "end time" is now, each present moment, when there is an opportunity for heaven to come to earth - an apocalyptic moment.

 

 

Dutch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hornet,

 

God made the decision to save people before He created the world.

If God did not make a plan of salvation, would this mean that He does not love people?

 

Just saber rattling

 

If a company sells a faulty product do they insist that the consumer pay for the fix or do they provide the fix for free?

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

minsocal,

 

Given this list, Jesus represents to me the transition from the First Adam locked in a world efficient causation to one of choice (final causes) in which the "end of time" is that point at which our own choices reach the goal mapped out by Jesus. This could be an individual approaching wholeness in his/her lifetime or societies over a much longer period of time.

 

I understand you now. Your Adam is different than mine. For me Adam is the first step out of the womb of Eden and the first step up - a maturing into adult hood. By choice. His final cause would be the same as mine. For me "end time" is now, each present moment, when there is an opportunity for heaven to come to earth - an apocalyptic moment.

 

 

Dutch

 

Dutch,

 

I agree that "maturing into adulthood" is key, and that means giving up the childhood model of how things work in the world. Unilateral dependency gives way to mutuality, in our interpersonal relationships and our relationship to God, etc.

 

On the same note, I found this last night in "The Siritual Problem of Modern Man" by Jung and I wondered what you might think of it:

 

"He alone is modern who is fully conscious of the present ... every step foreward means tearing oneself loose from the maternal womb of unconsciousness in which the mass of men dwells (and then)... the really modern man is often found among those who call themselves old-fashioned." Jung referred to Jesus as truly "modern".

 

In Jungian psychology, the "apocalyptic moment" is called "the transcendent function" or "the immanent striving for a goal". Jung himself went through his own "apocalytic moment", but it lasted more than three years. The same for William James.

 

Wish I had time for more. I enjoy your comments. I'd really be interested in a thread that could keep this line of thought active so it could be explored with more depth.

 

minsocal

Edited by minsocal
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hornet,

 

God made the decision to save people before He created the world.

If God did not make a plan of salvation, would this mean that He does not love people?

 

Just saber rattling

 

If a company sells a faulty product do they insist that the consumer pay for the fix or do they provide the fix for free?

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

 

They provide the fix for free.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Was the death of Jesus an imperative? Yes and no. Jesus could have stayed away from Jerusalem, and specificallly of the Garden of Gethsemane. He could have stopped teaching about the kingdom of God, denied he was the Jesus the Jewish and Roman authorities were looking for, he could have chosen any number of ways to avoid being killed. On the other hand, Jesus believed with his whole being in his message. Perhaps, if his faith were not so clear or intense, he might have run away from a from a confrontation that would ultimately demand his death. But that was not the mind of Jesus. He chose to stand firm in his faith, even though it would cost him his life. I could go through all the virtues and spirituality involved in his decision, but the issue here is that he made the decision to die for his faith rather than deny it. He could have chosen to escape death on a cross, but he didn't. The rest is humanity's struggle to understand what his decision means to us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

terms of service