Did God HAVE to send Jesus to die?


I just read an article on WorldNetDaily - the author (in opposing the theology of Oprah) asserted, “if God didn’t have to send His Son to die, then He wouldn’t have.”

This sounded quite incorrect to me, theologically. Since when do we understand that God HAD to send Jesus to die and that He really would rather not have done so - and if there was any other option, he’d have kept Jesus off the cross?

What does the Catholic Church understand about God’s choosing this way to effect salvation vs. what He was compelled to do?

I know about the need to have a perfect sacrifice, etc. But strictly speaking, this is incorrect, is it not? To say that God HAD to send Jesus to open the gates of heaven and He’d have chosen another way if there only was one.


While there are different schools of thought, my understanding of Catholic thinking on this subject is that God could’ve redeemed man any way He wanted to. The Catholic Encyclopedias’ article on Atonement addresses the issue pretty well, I think.


Yep, this is Catholic teaching on the matter.


God is so powerful and loving that he could have just snapped his fingers and people would have been saved. BUT WHERES THE FUN IN THAT??? God wanted a different experience and try out whats it like being a human.


The Covenant of David had to be restored by a man; a man had to be born of the line of David and Jesus brought the kingdom to
Earth through the Church, satisfying the covenant. If God just snapped his fingers than we would not have been reconciled with him according to the covenant. And he died to open the gates of heaven for us…but I’m sure you know all of this. :wink:


I’m guessing that you’ve been around here long enough to represent Catholic teaching a lot more accurately than this, if you wanted to. So the question follows, why don’t you want to? Why do you want to post answers that you know are silly and not on topic?


Here is a quote from an apologetics article I wrote:First of all God could have forgiven mankind outright, but God’s plan for forgiving by way of the cross was the most beneficial. Here is what St Thomas Aquinas teaches:
[INDENT] Among means to an end that one is the more suitable whereby the various concurring means employed are themselves helpful to such end. But in this that man was delivered by Christ’s Passion, many other things besides deliverance from sin concurred for man’s salvation. In the first place, man knows thereby how much God loves him, and is thereby stirred to love Him in return, and herein lies the perfection of human salvation; hence the Apostle says (Romans 5:8): “God commendeth His charity towards us; for when as yet we were sinners . . . Christ died for us.” Secondly, because thereby He set us an example of obedience, humility, constancy, justice, and the other virtues displayed in the Passion, which are requisite for man’s salvation. Hence it is written (1 Peter 2:21): “Christ also suffered for us, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps.” Thirdly, because Christ by His Passion not only delivered man from sin, but also merited justifying grace for him and the glory of bliss, as shall be shown later (48, 1; 49, 1, 5). Fourthly, because by this man is all the more bound to refrain from sin, according to 1 Corinthians 6:20: “You are bought with a great price: glorify and bear God in your body.” Fifthly, because it redounded to man’s greater dignity, that as man was overcome and deceived by the devil, so also it should be a man that should overthrow the devil; and as man deserved death, so a man by dying should vanquish death. Hence it is written (1 Corinthians 15:57): “Thanks be to God who hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” It was accordingly more fitting that we should be delivered by Christ’s Passion than simply by God’s good-will.
(ST 3:46:3)
The Passion was not strictly necessary nor the only option, but it was in fact the best plan God chose to reconcile the world by as the above quote should make clear.
[/INDENT]God doesnt just pick any option, He goes with the the option that produces the most benefits.


If I may jump in here as a Non-Catholic, my understanding is that the necessity for the atonement lies in the nature of God. Because God is holy sin must be punished. Because God is love He sent His Son to take that punishment. Thus God could be both just and the justifier of those who believe in Christ.

My 2 cents,



For me as a Catholic, the idea of the righteous laying down His life for the unrighteous, the victim proving His love for the victimizer who rejected Him without reason, is an awesome reality. But the question is about whether or not God had to do it that way and we’ll never know for sure in this life but my understanding of Catholic thought is that He did not.


Wouldn’t that contradict our free will?



I’m just saying that God doesnt need to send Jesus to forgive people. His almightiness & all-lovingness can just sit up there and say “Ok Charlie, I know you are an atheist but I also know that you have a good heart so I forgive you”.


Its logical that God doesnt need David to begin with.

Its logical that God doesnt need to live & die as a human being to open his gates.

So if the god of the bible is the real deal, whats with all the red tape? Its all for fun. For God’s fun. You would say that jesus’ suffering aint fun. I’d tell you for an immortal its like eating spicy food. It hurts a little, but leaves a pleasant experience after you get over it.


I am the voice of Reason. Not the voice of Catholicism.


But you didn’t answer as the voice of Reason. The voice of Reason (atheist version) says there’s no God or that God is not proven, not that God exists and wants to have fun by becoming human.


Why would you think that a non-existent being is capable of having “fun”, as you define “fun” of course, which you most likely don’t define as being “have-able” by a non-existent being?

Why would you then propose an impossibility as a possibility to those who may not know that you actually consider your proposed “possibility” impossible?

Why would you do that? :slight_smile:


All this time and you still dont know that I believe in God. Im an Agnostic Theist. I have faith though i have no religion.


The atheist version lacks reason. There is no way to be certain whether or not God exists. Its purely a matter of faith. I choose to have faith in the divine.


Lets stick with the topic. Think about this:

"Ok Charlie, I know you are an atheist but I also know that you have a good heart so I forgive you".

Is that impossible for God?

*and after this divine encounter, what was an atheist is an atheist no longer. God’s love touched him and he loved God fiercely in return.


But if God does exist then what do we know about him? Nobody who claims to know something about God, and particularly about the Christian God (the subject of this thread), teaches that God became Incarnate for the fun of it and to experience being human. So you just made that up, and I wonder what purpose you had in doing so.


I don’t think we can say for certain, because I don’t think we know for certain if it would have violated any of God’s attributes e.g. perfectly just. Maybe the Church teaches more definitively and I just don’t know what they teach.

But the alternative you propose does nothing to achieve God’s ultimate goal with respect to Charlie. It does nothing to bring Charlie into full, perfect and voluntary union with God. And the Incarnation, including Christ’s death and resurrection, does advance that ultimate goal.

An analogy might be taking a bottle away from a drunk. Without a change in the drunk’s outlook he’ll just go out and get another bottle. The goal, then, is not to keep taking his bottles away but to bring him to the point where he no longer want those bottles.

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