Did God need a Son to forgive us?

Hey everyone. I had been having some doubts lately and while I am no longer having doubts, I still don’t know how to answer this.

Some Muslims told me that God does not need a Son to forgive us of our sins. Basically they mean that God doesn’t need a Son to come and die for us so that we could be forgiven. They say He could have simply forgiven us with no need for a Son.

How do I answer this?

Muslims don’t believe there IS a divine Son, so we can understand why they think one is not necessary.

We get into a bit of a logical dichotomy when talking about God, when we say God is both merciful and just.

Justice means the punishment is comparable to the offense. “An eye for an eye” is a statement of pure justice.

Mercy means the punishment is less than the offense, or perhaps there is no punishment at all.

So how can God be both merciful and just? The two properties appear to be (and actually are) mutually exclusive.

Are you starting to see where this is going?

If God exacted perfect justice upon humanity, there would be no room for mercy (and we would all be crispy critters). If he exacted pure mercy, there would be no room for justice (and we could get away with murder). Because justice and mercy ARE mutually exclusive. They mean different non-compatible things.

But, if God subjected himself to justice in order to be merciful to us, the logical problem goes away. God the Son showed mercy by taking on the sins of all humanity. He sacrificed himself in atonement for that sin to satisfy justice. Now the finite debt is paid with an infinite payment, and only mercy remains.

Ask your Muslim friend if (unitarian) Allah is both merciful and just (and he will say yes - I guarantee it), and then ask him to explain how this could be. You have the answer - he does not.

I would answer it by saying that I agree.

God Bless

Thank you for reading
Josh

The Trinity was revealed to us as to the nature of God. A statement like “God need a son” may cause one to think that Jesus is a Christian invention or the Holy Spirit for that matter.

How the 3-person God decide how to save mankind is their choice/will. One may ponder but basically that is their call. Muslims may not subscribe to the 3-person God but similarly Christians do not subscribe to the 72 virgins idea of paradise either or praying facing the direction of a meteorite previously used for paganistic rituals. We don’t see the “need”.

In my limited understanding, I assumed that, although God did not need a son to forgive us our sins, He sent Jesus as a personification of His mercy.
The concept of mercy is abstract, and can we assume God thinks as we do? I think not…hence, none can claim to know the mind of God. So sending His message of mercy in human form (apologies if that bit is wrong) is a concept our fragile human minds can understand.

Talk about God “needing” anything is probably not going to be very fruitful. If you present God as needing something or lacking something or being “required” to do something, that’s not really God and a Muslim will probably jump on that sort of language.

To say that we experience God’s covenant love with humanity through Jesus’ ministry, passion, death, and resurrection sounds reasonable. I wouldn’t agree that Jesus is “a personification of God’s mercy”; it seems to denigrate Jesus’ personhood to some abstraction made physical. Jesus is a person – in fact, one of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity – and as such, He is Divine. But, calling him ‘mercy’ far understates who He is, and what He does… :wink:

They are correct. God did not need a Son to come and die for us to forgive our sins. But God did.

Their observation of how God did not NEED to do it is important. And the fact that God did, therefore conveys a message all in itself. Actions speak louder than words. This means that our relationship with God is personal and we have been given a gift, an outstretched hand, an offer. How we respond is important - like in any relationship. Not only does he come to us to forgive us directly, but he invites us to join in his life, to let his spirit dwell within us, to allow us to become his body. These are notions that Islam flat out rejects (erroneously) as idolatry and therefore is the real foundation for the issue they raise. God would never ‘sink to our level’ or ‘become one of use’. These are notions that must be rejected to the Muslim mind. It was part of the anti-idolatry culture that they came from. This is a central hang up for Protestants, Jews and Muslims with regards to Catholicism actually as far as I can tell.

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