In thinking about discussion of Christian doctrine, I thought I had previously posted this writing I had done a couple years ago in response to the questions some unbelievers had on salvation- why Jesus had to die, etc. I wrote this to try to relay basic Christian doctrine. But I can’t seem to find it, so I thought I would post it now.
Beginning in a slightly different place: with us.
We start out in our lives and after not too much time
problems become obvious. Some things are wrong….
somewhere we start to question: is it me? is it you?
is it the natural world? is it the system? and it
escalates from there. Something is faulty, and worse,
it looks like a fatal flaw.
Yes, death and decay,
everywhere; we block, we hold the line, but for some
of us we start to understand: nothing we do is enough,
nothing is really working in a lasting way. We’re
stuck. And at this point we begin making a decision.
We Make a Decision
We make a decision about what tack we will take and
where we will look for answers. For those who look to
the God account as related by the traditional Jewish
and Christian communities here is the explanation (of
how we got here):
There is a God who created everything, and
it was quite different from what we now see. It was
good. This God kept an ongoing interest and
relationship with His entire creation.
There was a part of creation that was in a
spiritual dimension. This was evidenced by beings
called angels. There was, already present, forces of
good and evil (represented by the fact that one could
know both good and evil, if one chose).
At this point, a number of facets begin to arise,
some inferred here and elaborated elsewhere. The first
problem is that when everything was created good,
where did the evil come from? Free Moral Agency makes
God Defines Himself
God says some things about Himself: He compares
himself to light. And what is darkness, but the
absence of light? Evil is simply what you have when
God is removed . Free moral agency is the real ability
of a creature of God to refuse Him access and
interaction. God shows His ability to take this kind
of risk. But why?
The New Testament has the explanation that God was
willing to suffer with a great deal to have something
very worthwhile, and valuable in His estimation- but
back to the free moral agents.
Temporal and Eternal
These are of two types: the temporal and the eternal. The temporal is man -he
was booted out of the garden that he might not have what would eternally solidify him in a state apart from God.
The eternal is the devil, otherwise known as an angel of the highest order, who as an eternal being remains in the state of evil and rebellion that was once chosen. We are not told a lot about that, but we are told more about us and that is where we turn our attention.
The problem of evil and how it affects man, and what God decided to do about it (and when) is where we get into the beginning of the question of why a Christ that had to die
…And how does that make a difference to us?
A Plan Predestined
There is a Christian idea called predestination and a lot of philosophy has come out of that idea, but the account simply says that God knew ahead of time how
man would choose to eat of knowledge of good and evil, and that a decision was made within the inner counsel of the Godhead that a remedy would be in readiness (that is why it is expressed that the lamb of God was sacrificed from the foundation).
Now a timeout:
Many balk at the idea of the trinity, but they have
absolutely no problem seeing humans at least in two or
more parts. The account looked at here says man has
three parts: body, soul, and spirit, in an
image(representation) of God. It says God has a
plurality in one. Elohim(plural) says “Oh, Israel, The
LORD is one”.
Second thing is that the choice of the knowledge of
good and evil was one which excluded God because it
was in disobedience to His *one* expressed command,
and was presented as a way to become God, oneself
(seeming to not need Him anymore).
Some of the problems here: Original man, Adam, did not
become god of this world…he managed to trade his
elevated position of being in dominion to the Tempter.
Guess who? He died in that part which funneled the
life giving sap of God into his life, the spirit.
After a spiritual separation from God all the rest
(body and soul) could not sustain itself. The rule of
sin and death begins.
Our Discussion Came In At This Point
This is where we came in. Death and decay of ourselves
and what we love, and even of our experience of the
capacity to love. And nothing lasting that we can do
That takes us to the next two concepts: the order of
Justice and Mercy as it is in the Person of God. What
demands those make and what this has to do with us.
Why Christ came and what is the importance of Jesus?
To be continued…..
There is a God who created everything, it
There were present forces of good and
…..a decision was made within the inner counsel of
the Godhead that a remedy for sin, death, and even all
evil would be in readiness.
Some of the problems : Original man, Adam, managed to
trade his elevated position of being in dominion to
the Tempter. The rule of sin and death begins.
Death and decay of ourselves and what we love, and
even of our experience of the capacity to love becomes
rampant,and there’s nothing lasting that we can do
God illustrates His requirement of justice
and his desire to have mercy. It begins with the fact
that blood needs to be shed when a lamb is killed for
the coverings that He provides Adam and Eve. It is
further expounded in the Mosaic law, when all approach
to God is dependent upon sacrifice. That there is
wrong done, that justice is required, that the harm
done has cost life, all begins to be illustrated in
lives, history, and law.
God shows His desire to return man to
relationship with Himself; first through the tribes of
Israel, then within the Church. One of the first
things is to restore freedom and give healing,
revealing different aspects of His nature that were
lost to man’s consciousness(as evidenced by their
The Problem, Continued
The difficulty that keeps arising in all this is that
the system of the law and its sacrifices only shows
mans inability to fill the bill. The huge chasm
between God and man becomes evident.
God shows many things about Himself throughout His
interactions with Israel, and despite the fatal flaw
that entered with the first Adam, God gives light and
indications of what He has planned as a remedy.
Repeatedly, the words of the Law and Prophets give
indicators of a certain man who is anointed, the way a
king or priest would be, to help mankind.
In some places, God indicates that it is He, Himself, who will
save the situation and restore relationship, and even
to overcome death itself.
Someone said it this way: “The
fall of Adam in the garden neither took God by
surprise nor obstructed the fulfillment of His
But the whole point, the *whole point* of this is that
wrong started to be done, wrong against God in
rebellion, which escalated to wrong against fellow man, and
then all the wrongs of the list that any culture would
care to compile of murder, stealing, oppression in its
many manifestations, -all of it.
The Need for Re-dress
This wrong cried out for redress and justice. The justice within God
required a payment, and even man himself would accuse
God if there was none. So something had to make
payment of blood for blood.
But God does not primarily describe Himself by
Justice, but by Loving-kindness and Mercy. If He
wanted only Justice, it would have ended in the garden
of Eden. Adam, dead. Devil, obliterated. Creation,
wiped out. Mistakes and problems over.
The plan began to be instituted: Jesus, Last Adam,
living a perfect life in relationship to God and his
fellow man; The Son within the Godhead living under
the conditions of man, restricted within the body to
the dependency of the first Adam, but without the fatal
flaw inherent within him. (That was why the virgin
birth, no transference of Adams dominant sin nature,
yet a fully human nature).
Why Do We Need Jesus?
So why do we need this Jesus? Why do we need him to
pay for our sin? We can’t pay; we can’t live free
enough from evil to avoid coming under the penalty of
We can’t return to right standing with God.
Once Jesus died, a completely innocent man, death had
no calls on Him, and in fact, He now could require
redress. In exchange for His life, battered, abused,
broken, and despised, He required…. us.
He wanted us for Himself, so that the Father God could have many
sons, so that the plans of the Godhead which are described as beyond what we could ask for ourselves or conceive of, could give us experience of Love, God
fully expressed as Love. But the free moral agency is still in force: we must choose to come to Him, we must choose to accept and believe.
We can’t get that right standing without Jesus, we can’t earn it for ourselves, it is The Son making a gift of Himself, at the Fathers will. The full effect of this is that we enter into a life where the slate is wiped clean, sin and its effects go into remission -fade in power, and lifeflow from God in a spiritual life is restored. If Christ did not overcome death and rise from the dead, then none of this can become ours. The New Testament compares it to the life of a seed. One seed, unburied, with only its husk enclosing life cannot give the harvest of many seeds.
It has to take on the new form of the plant to produce more seed.
Jesus is described as “glorified”, He has regained all the powers of the Sonship that He had to lay aside to be on our same plane, as our example and as fully
identified with us. He has been given other prerogatives as well, He has life within himself, he has a name which is given to enforce His will in the earth in order to diminish that which evil(spiritual principalities and powers) usurped. And more that I am sure I am not covering.
With this I have done the best within my present capabilities to answer the question within Christianity, why his death was necessary and how it works that it pays for my sin. This presents the answer as I can understand it, with the full admission that questions are left unanswered for many. That is the diversion at decision making time. This can only look at the Christian view of what makes the world awry and what is given to deal with that. It is not even complete within that. It is only what I presently work with, in an encapsulated form, and doesn’t even go into the subjects of heaven, hell and other general
Can you tell I feel inadequate to the task?
And no doubt there are criticisms coming. Well, come
and sharpen! I need it.
You could ask about science as opposed to religion as
a remedy. Yet, for all of science, we still labor with
death and disease. It even seems that some disease and
mental malaise are becoming more virulent than ever. And so, the discussion can spiral on….