OKAY, THAT’S NOT MY QUESTION. That’s the question from a woman who’s struggling for an answer.
I got the question this week. It’s one of more than 10,000 questions and comments in response to my YouTube video “What Romans said about crucifixion.” I have no idea how many because YouTube keeps deleting the oldest ones on my Channel to make room for new ones.
Here’s the exchange I’ve had so far with the woman.
“What kind of God would have their son brutally murdered? God didn’t have to make his son die this way for our sins. God could have handled our sins however he wanted to. We do not have a God of love and peace if Jesus truly is the Messiah.”
“Sounds reasonable. But we don’t have all the facts or the context. This happened in a culture that atoned for sin by offering blood sacrifices. And there’s the matter of how do you rise from the dead if you don’t die first? It was the resurrection of Jesus that finally convinced his disciples that when he said there was life after death, he meant it. And that’s why they put their lives on the line to spread the teachings of Jesus.
And it’s hard to know how much blame to put on God for the death of Jesus. Though most Christians would agree he could have stopped it or changed the protocol, he wasn’t the one who killed him or who chose the method of execution, as far as the Bible seems to say, though prophets spoke of the execution in some detail. Yet knowing something is going to happen doesn’t mean you caused it. I might know what kind of ice cream my grandson will order at the ice cream joint, but I didn’t pick it for him.
There’s a lot of stuff we don’t know about what goes on in the spiritual world. Christians trust that the story of Jesus is true, that his teachings are good ones, and that there’s life here and beyond here. So we do the best we can to love the God who created this universe and to love our neighbor (by building a privacy fence if necessary to the peace).”
“He died for our sins because that’s what God ordered; it was just fulfilled by the Jews and Romans. He begged God in the garden of Gethsemane to spare him, but God wouldn’t. It was God’s will. Jesus cried out, “My God my God why have you forsaken me” for a reason. When I look at the crucifixion I have trouble worshiping God. God is God and can do whatever he wants. He didn’t have to do this. I’ll always have trouble digesting this and the brutality he suffered. IDK [I don’t know] it’s just very troublesome from a God which is supposed to be love and peace. Why would he go against his own Commandment: “thou shalt not kill”? I always believed but what a messed up place we live in. Why was this God’s will when he is the almighty and didn’t have to do this?”
“I’ve noticed that in the Bible God doesn’t seem to answer many ‘why’ questions. I, too, wonder why God didn’t come up with a less offensive plan. On the other hand, the plan produced a faith that has covered the world. Certainly we’re left with big ‘why’ questions. But for many Christians, their faith is bigger than the why. And that’s perhaps because of experiences and insights they’ve had throughout their life.”
“There are up sides to the Cross, too. Here’s a personal piece I wrote called ‘I know what’s wonderful about the cross.’ It doesn’t answer your question, but I think it begins to illustrate that what happened on the cross is layered with messages and meaning, both good and bad, and beautiful and ugly.”
Question for the crowd (both of you)
What would you say to Ann? She’s real and she’s out there waiting.
If you’ve got something helpful, I’ll pass it along to her. Or you can tell her yourself by going to the comments section below the crucifixion video.
But to get there, you’ll probably have to dodge some mean words (not from me).