Cruelty In The Bible?
Did God require His Son to be tortured?
THE CLAIMED CRUELTY: He [God] required the torture and murder of his own son (e.g., Romans 3:24-25)
...being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; - Romans 3:24-25
I am not sure why the humanist who wrote their web page selected this scripture. As usual, they do not explain themselves. They seem to just be throwing accusations out and hoping that maybe one or two might stick. However, in this case it would seem they could come up with a better scripture for this accusation. All four gospels describe the physical torture and death of Jesus Christ on the cross.
In addition, the verses they have referenced from Romans are being ripped out of their context... that of Paul answering the question: “How can a man be in the right before God?” That is a truly im-portant question. The answer is... only through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. This is a wonderful verse explaining how we are saved.
However, without regard to the appropriateness of the humanist’s scripture reference, let's look at the claim they have asserted, that God was cruel to require the torture and murder of his own son.
There are certainly a lot of emotion packed words there. As with other humanists statements they are trying to influence the reader to come to a wrong conclusion by using misleading and emotion packed language. Let's learn the truth in a logical, step-by-step manner:
- Humanity had a major problem that, if not addressed, would have resulted in the destruction of all of humanity.
- Humans are unique, we are created in the image of God
- As God's image bearers we have a responsibility to correctly represent God's character
- The Ten Commandments describe God's character. To violate any of the Ten Commandments is to violate God's character
- The problem is: we all (no exceptions) violate God's character. This is called breaking God's laws - we all sin.
- Violation of God's character (breaking God's law) brings physical and spiritual death
- Spiritual death means separation from God
- Separation from God means loss of everything that is good. EVERYTHING!
- Separation from God is described as the eternal lake of fire, outer darkness or hell.
- God loves you very much... more than you can imagine
- God is not only love, He is just. That means He must punish lawbreaking. There must be justice.
- That means every human being is heading for the eternal lake of fire. The second death. What is commonly called hell.
- Since we all have our own penalty for sin that we have justly earned, we do not have the ability to pay anyone else's penalty. Only someone who is totally free from sin can pay the sin penalty on behalf of someone else.
- God created you to live with Him. Now we all are separated from Him and there is NOTHING we humans can do to fix this problem. Only God can fix it.
- God cannot just forgive everyone. That is not just.
- God could just wipe away sin and make us into puppets, with no will or desires of our own. But God does not want to make us mindless puppets.
- If someone else were to pay our penalty for sin, then justice would be served and we are free from sin's penalty and can join God in eternity.
- Jesus (God) came to earth as a human to pay our penalty for sin, giving us eternal life
- Jesus lived a sinless life, making it possible for Him to pay our penalty for the sin (our disobeying God). As He was hanging on the cross Jesus took the full wrath of God for all of our sin.
- o Jesus was physically dead and buried. However, that was not the end. On the third day He rose from the dead, demonstrating there is truly life after death.
- God has given us free will. He wants us to accept the gift of life He offers, but He does not force us to accept His gift.
- In our free will we always reject God.
- In His mercy and grace God gives us the faith (Ephe-sians 2:8-9) to believe. That faith is a gift from God that results in our salvation.
Who put Jesus on the cross? You did. Your sin did. God requires justice. There was no other op-tion. The penalty for your disobedience (law breaking) had to be paid. Either you had to pay the penalty you had justly earned, or someone else had to die in your place. There was only one person who could do that.
Every other person is in the same situation as you. They had to die to pay their own penalty. Jesus Christ, God who came to earth fully human, lived a perfect life. He never sinned and was thus the only one who could pay the penalty for the sin of others. And He did. That is why He went to the cross. He died (the second death) in your placed. There was no one else who could do it.
What was Jesus' attitude about going to the cross? He willingly went to the cross out of love for you. God did not re-quire that the Son be tortured and killed. That is a false statement. You, because of your sin, gave Him no choice. Because of His love for you, Jesus willingly went to the cross. He did it because He wants you to live.
[Jesus speaking] I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. - John 10:17b-18a
Conclusion: It was because of your sin that Jesus went to the cross. He did it willingly, out of love for you, so that you might have life. There is nothing evil or immoral here, just love.
Next example: [God is cruel because] he promised to send non-Christians to eternal torture (e.g., Revelation 21:8).
Click here... yes, all non-Christians end up in the eternal lake of fire and brimstone, but God doesn't send them there.
OF JESUS CHRIST
The gospel is not social justice nor serving others. The gospel is love in action... Jesus Christ giving Himself so that you can be saved from the wrath of God.
Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. - 1 Corinthians 15:1-8