Necessary death


What does the Bible say about the necessity of Christ’s death. Could our debt to God have been paid in any other way?


No. There was no other way:

4 For it is impossible that with the blood of oxen and goats sin should be taken away. 5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith: Sacrifice and oblation thou wouldest not: but a body thou hast fitted to me: 6 Holocausts for sin did not please thee. 7 Then said I: [size=]Behold I come[/size]: in the head of the book it is written of me: that I should do thy will, O God. 8 In saying before, Sacrifices, and oblations, and holocausts for sin thou wouldest not, neither are they pleasing to thee, which are offered according to the law. 9 Then said I: Behold, I come to do thy will, O God: he taketh away the first, that he may establish that which followeth. 10 In the which will, we are sanctified by the oblation of the body of Jesus Christ once. 11 And every priest indeed standeth daily ministering, and often offering the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this man offering one sacrifice for sins, for ever sitteth on the right hand of God, 13 From henceforth expecting, until his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one oblation he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:4-14)

Maran atha!



Depends on how you look at it.

Scotus might have reasoned that since the impetus for the incarnation was not sin (for God would have become man even if the was no fall of man), but out of God’s pure love for His creatures, then Christ’s death was not for our salvation anyway, as much as it was to show the Father’s love for us. Therefore, no, he did not have to die to save us, God could have saved us any number of ways.

In a nutshell God became man only to die, to show His love for us, and not just to save us. And, therefore, even though it worked out that way, no, it didn’t have to happen that way.


“Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” (Hebrews 9:22)

‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.’
(Leviticus 17:11)

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and
the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (I John 1:7)

The scripture makes it pretty clear that under God’s law, atonement for sin can only be made by the shedding of blood. Christ not only died for us, his actual blood was shed when the sword pierced his side as he hung on the cross.

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 3:23).
So the penalty for sin is death, but God sent his son to die in our place so that we might receive the free gift of eternal life.

So my answer to your question is yes…Christ had to die; otherwise we would still be condemned by our sins and making animal sacrifices to atone.

(all bolding is mine)


Sounds like Scotus was wrong


Luke 24:24-26

24 Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”


does not this imply the Protestant idea of substitution theology



Jesus substitutes his obedience for our disobedience*

615 “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” 443 By his obedience unto death, Jesus accomplished the substitution of the suffering Servant, who “makes himself an offering for sin”, when “he bore the sin of many”, and who “shall make many to be accounted righteous”, for “he shall bear their iniquities”. 444 Jesus atoned for our faults and made satisfaction for our sins to the Father. 445
443 Rom 5:19.
444 Isa 53:10-12.
445 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1529.

617 The Council of Trent emphasizes the unique character of Christ’s sacrifice as “the source of eternal salvation” 449 and teaches that “his most holy Passion on the wood of the cross merited justification for us.” 450 And the Church venerates his cross as she sings: “Hail, O Cross, our only hope.” 451
449 Heb 5:9.
450 Council of Trent: DS 1529.
451 LH, Lent, Holy Week, Evening Prayer, Hymn Vexilla regis.


Uh, I would say it sounds like YOU FEEL Scotus was wrong…Actually the Church embraces his theology of Supreme Primacy of Christ. Its a very difficult read, but if you truly want to understand Franciscan thought and theology, I encourage you to read his writings before summarily debunking his explanation without taking the time to even look into it.


all i said was that Scotus seems to go against the Bible as quoted here


Vico, what did Aquinas say about this question?


The Church does not teach that our sins make us so indebted to God that God somehow requires the shedding of literal blood to balance some universal scales of justice before all angelic onlookers, as some teach.

The blood poured on the altar before the Tabernacle and later in the Temple was not offered to God because literal blood was being demanded by God for sins committed.

“Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of he-goats?”

asks God at Psalm 50:13. Of course not. God was not like the blood-thirsty heathen deities who were believed to demand blood sacrifices as propitiation. God is not appeased by bloodshed.

“Offer praise as your sacrifice to God;
fulfill your vows to the Most High.”

Faithful worship and service to God are of more value and far better sacrifices.

Then why did Christ die?

Romans 3:25 states that we “are justified freely by [God’s] grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as an expiation, through faith, by his blood.”

Christ’s death was not due to God’s requirement of a blood sacrifice, as if God had to be appeased by the death of an innocent in order to end God’s hostility towards man, as if we offended God so. No, the only real hostility was from man toward God. Christ’s death ended this.

What people tend to forget is that the animal sacrifice system of the Jews was not original in and of itself, as if God has invented this form of worship and demanded the slaughter of animals. As archeology and secular history show, similar sacrificial worship systems, altars and temples predated the Jewish Tabernacle and Temple, even Abraham’s form of sacrificial worship. Sacrificing animals to deities was an almost universal religious act by humanity, and the Hebrews were no different in how they believed God was to be approached.

The Mosaic Law given by God did not create the animal sacrifice system as much as it regulated it and gave it new meaning. These systems acted as a means of slaughtering animals for food while thanking the deities for the life of the beasts by offering the animal’s blood on altars. While God used this system already in place to teach important religious lessons unique to Israel, it was not God’s intention to keep these in place for eternity.

The first sacrifices mentioned in Scripture result in the spilling of human blood, brother killing brother. (Genesis 4:1-10) There is a connection. Note that God never asks anyone to offer him animal or grain sacrifices. It is an invention of humans who, unfortunately, often lack the faith they demonstrate in their sacrificial rituals. Abraham would even gladly have offered up Issac, and attempted to do so until he was stopped by God through an angel. (Genesis 22:1-19) Faithful people really believed this was what God wanted. But as mentioned in Psalm 50, these are not the types of offerings God really wants from humanity.

“What do I care for the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the Lord.
I have had enough of whole-burnt rams
and fat of fatlings;
In the blood of calves, lambs, and goats
I find no pleasure.”–Isaiah 1:11.

And again:

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obedience to the Lord’s command?
Obedience is better than sacrifice,
to listen, better than the fat of rams.”–1 Samuel 15:22.

And again:

“For it is loyalty that I desire, not sacrifice,
and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”–Hosea 6:6.

Christ’s death and shedding of his blood was not to offer God a death, but to offer humanity the Fruit of the Tree of Life. Christ does not give his life as an offering to God on our behalf as much as God gives to humanity the life of his Son as an elixir to Life.

Jesus’ death ended all sacrifices, and the Temple itself was destroyed shortly afterwards. Why? The Messiah had come to show the true way to life. Psalm 40 shows that the Messiah was coming to replace the offering of sacrifices with the true offering of willing service. In Hebrews 10 we learn that God takes away the sacrificial system, ending it with the ultimate offering.

Where people offered the blood to God upon the altar in the Temple, God offers the body and blood of his Son as a life-saving Food and Drink to humanity upon the Cross. Christ shed his blood not to feed a bloodthirsty god but died for “the life of the world…For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.”–John 6:51-55.

The death of Christ was necessary in as much as God wanted us to “share in the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:4) To do that, God became man and shared in human nature. To share in human nature means to die, so God experienced that part of us as a necessity. He experienced our death so that we, in turn, might experience his eternal life.


In addition to, but certainly not against. You can’t say he goes against scripture if scripture is all you have to base your contention on…you must have knowledge of both scriptures and the writings of Scouts to make that claim.


St. Thomas Aquinas used a metaphor of redemption and price, using terms of the relationship between Christ and his members, avoiding presentation of the Passion as an external material exchange to satisfy the order of justice. Summa Theologiae III, q. 48, a. 1 and 4:
A1Reply to Objection 2. From the beginning of His conception Christ merited our eternal salvation; but on our side there were some obstacles, whereby we were hindered from securing the effect of His preceding merits: consequently, in order to remove such hindrances, “it was necessary for Christ to suffer,” as stated above (Question 46, Article 3).
I answer that, Man was held captive on account of sin in two ways: first of all, by the bondage of sin, because (John 8:34): “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin”; and (2 Peter 2:19): “By whom a man is overcome, of the same also he is the slave.” Since, then, the devil had overcome man by inducing him to sin, man was subject to the devil’s bondage. Secondly, as to the debt of punishment, to the payment of which man was held fast by God’s justice: and this, too, is a kind of bondage, since it savors of bondage for a man to suffer what he does not wish, just as it is the free man’s condition to apply himself to what he wills.

Since, then, Christ’s Passion was a sufficient and a superabundant atonement for the sin and the debt of the human race, it was as a price at the cost of which we were freed from both obligations. For the atonement by which one satisfies for self or another is called the price, by which he ransoms himself or someone else from sin and its penalty, according to Daniel 4:24: “Redeem thou thy sins with alms.” Now Christ made satisfaction, not by giving money or anything of the sort, but by bestowing what was of greatest price–Himself–for us. And therefore Christ’s Passion is called our redemption.


I used to struggle with this, but someone once explained it was not really whether God could have accomplished the same thing thru another means, of course he COULD have, he is God, he can do whatever he likes, he could have just ‘made it so’.

But its actually more important that HE DID this at all for us, when he did not have to go thru all that.


Since God could have made it necessary for blood to be shed, instead of it being metaphysically necessary, I don’t see this issue settled but I hope the Church will define it someday. Thanks


I just read the old Catholic Encyclopedia on Scotus, and it speaks of his doctrines. The following are a list of the ones I don’t understand. Since the conversation as come to a standstill and we have at least one Fransican with us, I think it not inappropriate to ask about them here (Vico probably can help us with these):

“The angels can of themselves know things; they do not need an infused species though in fact they receive such from God”

“that the relationes teinitariae are not a perfection simpliciter simplex”

“that the merits of Christ are not simpliciter et intrinsece, but only extrinsece and secundum quid, infinite”

“that transubstantiation makes the Body of Christ present per modum adductionis”

“the dotrine of the univocatia entis”

“that mortal sin, as an offence against God, is not intrinsically and simpliciter, but only extrinsically infinite”


I must, respectfully, disagree with a few points in your post: especially the portions I have quoted above. and further singled out below:
-------“What people tend to forget is that the animal sacrifice system of the Jews was not original in and of itself.” …
-------“As archaeology and secular history show, similar sacrificial worship systems, altars and temples predated the Jewish Tabernacle and Temple”…
--------“While God used this system already in place to teach important religious lessons unique to Israel,…”

These portions claim that the sacrifices did not originate with God and the Jewish people, and were purely an invention of man, which God later turned around in order to teach important religious principles. A few verses in Genesis show that this is just not the case.

When Adam and Eve fell, the sacrifices were actually initialized by God at that point. We see that God himself covered them with the skin of an animals: “The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21) This is exactly what happens in the “Whole Burnt Offering”. The whole animal is burned up except for the skin. This passage is understood either as God himself making the first animal sacrifice or as God instructing Adam and Eve in the process.

The 2nd time it is noted in the scripture of sacrifices being brought to God is when Abel brought an animal sacrifice and Cain brought a sacrifice of the fields. This was way before there were other organized tribes of people throughout the world. Since all of mankind traces its origins to Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, wouldn’t it be more logical to say that the sacrifices originated here and these traditions were eventually copied and spread to the rest of the world? Man himself is the one who contaminated these rites where heathens offered sacrifices to “angry gods”.

The sacrifices were not intended “to appease an angry god”. That is misconstrued. The sacrifices were intended to wash away our sins so that we might be worthy to stand before a righteous God. They were intended to breach the gap between God and man so that God and man could once again have fellowship with each other. That’s why the offerings were “a sweet smell onto the Lord” because God and man could once more walk together, and that is what God desires most of all. (This is how it is understood in Judaism as well: see, for example, “The ArtScroll Tanach Series: Vayikra” (Leviticus commentary) “An overview–Holiness and Sanctification”)

As you mentioned in your post, but I have failed to quote it, God no longer desired their sacrifices–probably because their hearts were in the wrong place—. Not because His system of sacrifice was all wrong.


A new thread on Duns Scotus would work nicely.


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