Crucifixion: a sacrifice to whom?


#1

I was having a discussion with an ex-Christian, who finds the concept of a God requiring his Son’s torture and crucifixion “repugnant and repulsive”.

I tried to explain to her that this sacrifice was required as payment for sin. Using the allegory described by C.S. Lewis, I explained the story from “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, in which Edmund betrays his siblings and joins the White Witch. Now, in essence, he “belongs” to her and can be killed. Aslan offers himself up in Edmund’s place and the Witch gleefully accepts. However, because of the “deeper magic” in which an innocent victim gives his life for another, Love wins and death is conquered.

My question is: would it be correct to say that Aslan was offering his life in payment to the Witch, i.e. to Evil? Then does it follow that Jesus’ sacrifice and crucifixion was a payment to Satan? i.e. that Christ satisfied a debt owed by mankind to Satan? (Andt because of his pure innocence LOVE wins and death and sin are conquered?) Or is the crucifixion a sacrifice to God?

Thanks for your comments!


#2

It was certainly NOT a sacrifice to Satan. The act of LOVE on the Cross crushed the power of satan.Your freind must be told tha Jesus chose this so we could go to heaven,and show us death has no more power over us,and that God is LOVE. God Bless


#3

we owe our lives to God, who gave them to us, so when through our inheritance of original sin, and our cooperation with actual sin, we gave up our right to life and embraced death, in justice we deserve death, but God in His mercy offers to restore life if ransom is paid. No action or sacrifice of a human is great enough to pay that ransom, only God is great enough, so God willingly becomes human solely in order to pay that ransom for our sakes. God is all just, so the justice of the consequences of sin cannot be denied, but God is all loving, so the mercy of God redeeming us is granted by God and God alone, in the person of Christ.


#4

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?


#5

Don’t confuse the ransom/payment with the sacrifice.

The ransom was the suffering and death that Jesus endured in His passion but it was not a payment to God. Scripture doesn’t identify a “payee” but if it helps you to understand a little better than you could say that the ransom was paid to the Devil. What must be rejected as incoherent is that the ransom was paid to God.

The sacrifice was Jesus’ love, patience and obedience that He offered to the Father in His passion.

What your friend doesn’t realize is that God does simply forgive our debts, He doesn’t require a “payment” in order to forgive. God did what He did because that was the method He chose to manifest His forgiveness.


#6

If God would just automatically forgive our sins, without any form of visible sacrifice, man would never learn to appreciate the gravity of their offenses, and the fullness of God’s love, just as we would never fully comprehend a mother’s love unless we experience becoming a mother first.

Besides, if we would extend your argument further, I can also ask why should Jesus even bother preaching to people, as what He had done when He was still on earth, when we would still be saved in any case?

Gerry :slight_smile:


#7

[quote=monina]I was having a discussion with an ex-Christian, who finds the concept of a God requiring his Son’s torture and crucifixion “repugnant and repulsive”.

I tried to explain to her that this sacrifice was required as payment for sin. Using the allegory described by C.S. Lewis, I explained the story from “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, in which Edmund betrays his siblings and joins the White Witch. Now, in essence, he “belongs” to her and can be killed. Aslan offers himself up in Edmund’s place and the Witch gleefully accepts. However, because of the “deeper magic” in which an innocent victim gives his life for another, Love wins and death is conquered.

My question is: would it be correct to say that Aslan was offering his life in payment to the Witch, i.e. to Evil? Then does it follow that Jesus’ sacrifice and crucifixion was a payment to Satan? i.e. that Christ satisfied a debt owed by mankind to Satan? (Andt because of his pure innocence LOVE wins and death and sin are conquered?) Or is the crucifixion a sacrifice to God?

Thanks for your comments!
[/quote]

It is not a sacrifice to satan. It is a sacrifice to God. The crucifixion is not like a payment for a debt, it is more like Christ taking on the burdens of our sins. The burden of our sins is death, and by dying on the cross for us, he relieved us of that burden. We can be raised from the dead and recieve eternal life in Heaven for our faith in Christ.

In the mass we say

Wash away our iniquities. We offer ourselves with the bread and wine that will soon be the Body and Blood of Christ. May the Lord accept this sacrifice for the praise and glory of His name for our good and for the good of His whole Church.

It is offered to God for the remission of sins and the consequences of sins, death.

I know “the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” pretty well and I know what you are talking about. The ransom theory is not a true teaching of the Church.

Its not that God required the death of his son to pay for our sins. It is more like he did it so that he could save us from our sins. It is Christ coming down and sacrificing himself to save us from our sins and death.


#8

[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?
[/quote]

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.

ccel.org/a/aquinas/summa/TP/TP046.html#TPQ46A3THEP1

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.


#9

[quote=monina]I was having a discussion with an ex-Christian, who finds the concept of a God requiring his Son’s torture and crucifixion “repugnant and repulsive”.

[/quote]

I’d say the question is, why does an omnipotent god have to sacrifice himself (and play dead for three days) in order to save us from a fate he has created for us in the first place?


#10

[quote=AnAtheist]I’d say the question is, why does an omnipotent god have to sacrifice himself
[/quote]

He demands justice.

(and play dead for three days)

His human body did die.

in order to save us from a fate he has created for us in the first place?

Allowed, not created. Free will, it’s a good thing.

Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean it isn’t true.


#11

[quote=AnAtheist]I’d say the question is, why does an omnipotent god have to sacrifice himself (and play dead for three days) in order to save us from a fate he has created for us in the first place?
[/quote]

First of all, God does not have to do anything. He could have done it any way he wanted, but he chose to do things in the way for the reasons I have given above. There may even be more reasons.

Second, he did not give us this fate. It is our choice to sin. He gave us free will, and we chose to sin.


#12

If you go with Lewis’s view in Wardrobe (as I do), then the Crucifixion was a sacrifice to the Deep Magic of the Emperor (i.e., the Law of God). The Witch was, in the succinct phrase of Mr. Beaver, “the Emperor’s hangman” (and this is essentially the function of Satan when he first appears in the OT, in the Book of Job or I Chronicles). St. Athanasius put it more theologically in On the Incarnation. By sinning we separated ourselves from God who is life, and we were justly handed over the power of death, Satan being, in Athanasius as in Origen, the personification of death.

In Christ,

Edwin


#13

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.