[quote=monina]Thanks for the above responses.
But my ex-Christian friend’s question to me is: Why can’t a loving, kind, omnipotent God forgive and love without having a man tortured and killed?
Why do we need to pay a ransom for sin? I understand that justice requires some “repayment” for sin, but can’t God simply forgive all our debts?
It is not a ransom. It is more saving us from our sins and its consequences.
Payment is not required for the forgiveness of our sins because justice, along with everything else, is relative to God. There is nothing higher than God, so there is nothing that requires anything for God. God could have just said, “you are forgiven”, but he did not for several reasons. St. Thomas Aquinas writes about this and gives several reasons why Christ died for our sins.
The first one is because it shows us how much God really loves us. If Christ did not sacrifice himself on the cross we would never have the comprehesion of how great his love is. Sacrifice is the greatest way to show ones love for another, so this is a great way to see it.
The second reason is because by coming down to earth Christ set us a perfect example of all the virtues that we need in life. Christ showed Sacrife, Obedience, fortitude, and every other virtue when he was on earth.
The third reason is that by the passion, Christ not only saved us from sin, but he also merited us justifying grace. This grace is what saves us. By Christs sacrifce on the cross he gave us grace.
The fourth reason is that man is bound by this sacrifice to do the will of God. By sacrificing himself on the cross, Christ payed a great price to save us. He suffered and died so that we would not have to experience this. So we have a very good reason to do his will and to follow every one of his commandments.
The fifth reason is because it appeals to mans dignity. It was a man who fell to the devil and caused the rest of the world to lose its grace. Therefore it should be a man that would save the world from the devil and death. It was a man who brought sin and death to the world, and it was a man that vanquished sin and death.
There are many writers that talk about us as being in the bondage of the devil, but that does not mean that Christ payed a payment to the devil in order to save us from him. Instead Christ sacrificed himself and saved us, not by making payment to the devil, but by raising us so that we would not be slaves to that sin. By dying, he conquered the devil and made us worthy of grace.
I hope this helps a little.