Why did Jesus die?

A grand-daughter (aged 5) is upset by the crucifixion of Jesus and wants to know why he died. There are two principal theories, either he died to pay satisfaction to God for the insult to God’s honor by the sin of Adam or to buy us back from the devil who owned us, as we were sold by Adam’s sin. I find neither of these satisfactory, so I really do not know why Jesus died. Please help.

God wants us to love him in return for His love. God does not force us to love Him so He chose to die for us in order to move us to love Him.

Jesus came to show us how to live and love.
He died to redeem us and bring everyone to eternal life.
Stress that He is NOT DEAD.
Jesus is alive.

In accordance with the scriptures.

Jesus came to show us that there is LIFE after death. He opened up the gates of Heaven so we can go in. This world is not all there is… Follow Him… (I used to wonder the same thing when I was a little girl…)

Does heaven really have gates? If not, what is meant by that phrase?

Yes! 12 of them, according to Revelation 21:12…

With all due respect, neither of these is correct. According to the Catholic Catechism:

“For our sake God made him to be sin”

602 Consequently, St. Peter can formulate the apostolic faith in the divine plan of salvation in this way: "You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers… with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake."402 Man’s sins, following on original sin, are punishable by death.403 By sending his own Son in the form of a slave, in the form of a fallen humanity, on account of sin, God "made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."404

603 Jesus did not experience reprobation as if he himself had sinned.405 But in the redeeming love that always united him to the Father, he assumed us in the state of our waywardness of sin, to the point that he could say in our name from the cross: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"406 Having thus established him in solidarity with us sinners, God “did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all”, so that we might be “reconciled to God by the death of his Son”.407

I tell my young kids (4 & 5) that Jesus died so that our sins can be wiped away and we can follow Him and live together forever in Heaven…

Jesus died in order to conquer human death by His Resurrection.

Jesus died so we can be saved from sin. He gave up His body so we can have the chance to join Him in heaven. Jesus died so that sin can be defeated. :angel1:

You take that literally?

Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected on the third day to save us humans from our sins.

Jesus is alive, since Jesus is unlimited, and not limited to time and space, like us humans.

Thanks to all who replied.
Unfortunately no one answered my query. Perhaps I did not phrase my concern clearly enough. So I will ask again. "Why did Jesus die?

The nearest reply, and the most fruitful, is that of PoliceVerso. His reply seems to be based on the Ransom theory. This is based on a ransom being paid (redemption), and is intimately linked to a society with slaves. I will try to look at the CCC and get understanding.

But I would love someone to clearly give me a guide to understanding atonement.
Is there anyone out there who can help?

Possibly. St. John gives detailed dimensions of the New Jerusalem - why could it not be literal? On the other hand, It could be symbolic/metaphorical as most of Revelation is. Regardless, there is a clear basis for saying Heaven has “gates” of some sort…

I asked here in CA “why did Jesus die?” and the answers were not satisfying, but the most thought-provoking was due to PoliceVerso, who referred me to the CCC.

An understanding of why Jesus died is dependent on knowing about slavery, where a person has monetary value. Jesus became a slave who was killed to pay the ransom to Satan, who owned us due to the sin of Adam and Eve. God, who made his son a slave paid over this ransom and we were bought back (redeemed).

The Catechism notes that as all were enslaved by our first parents’ sin, all are redeemed. Thus redemption is universal (402). This seems to be the CCC version.

Anselm had a theory that as Adam, a man, offended God satisfaction was demanded and had to be given by one both God and man, hence Jesus paid the price. But surely God could have just forgiven Adam and Eve, and left it at that, as Abelard suggested. Abelard claimed the God’s love is the reason for Christ’s birth and death, Bernard viciously disagreed with Abelard.

But the views of Anselm and Abelard led to the Scholastic view, where redemption is the product of love and mercy and benevolence. I do not understand how this can be so.

I am still not clear, but I like to think of God as merciful, and not demanding his pound of flesh.

So I would like someone to help me clarify my views.

Please help.

Atonement – :eek:
A better word would be reconciliation between Adam (humanity) and the Creator (Divinity).

One of the results of Original Sin as described in Genesis 2: 15-17 was that Adam lost the gift of physical immortality. He also lost his original State of Holiness which was sharing in the Divine Life because he has a rational spiritual soul in the image of God (Genesis 1: 27). Being a human creature, Adam could not repair the shattered relationship between himself and God. This unequal situation is **why **the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity stepped in. Being Divine is why Jesus could repair Original Sin’s damage, that is, redeem the broken relationship.

It was disobedience which brought human death, spiritual and physical. Obedience unto death ( Philippians 2: 5-11 ) was needed in order to conquer death (Romans 5: 6-12). Victory over death (1 Corinthians 15: 54-55) is why the human nature assumed by Jesus died.

Both the restoration of the original relationship of Divinity with humanity and the victorious Resurrection, to be ours (Apostles’ Creed), is **why **Jesus died a victorious death.

Explore bit of this:


What makes sense to me:

God did not require or need the Death of Jesus. But it provided a poignant opportunity for Jesus to demonstrate true love, commitment and faithfulness. His death was only necessary because it was inevitable. Jesus entered fully into our human situation of sin and darkness. He fearlessly challenged the established powers with his light. Like many of his followers, he was martyred for the Kingdom. Jesus’ obedience was to his mission and the cross was a natural consequence because of our bondage to darkness and sin. Crucuifixion was the human was of dealing with his light. The death of Jesus reset our moral compass. It forced a commitment. We must either say “Yes” or “No” to him as our Lord. If we say, “yes” we have the ability through grace to join our sufferings with his


You propose the Satisfaction Theory, usually associated with Anselm. This has problems, but has replaced largely the ransom theory advocated by PoliceVerso.

But God if he wanted to could have simply forgiven Adam and Eve. The satisfaction was not a necessity.

The original condition of God and man was not restored.

Michael Mayo,

thank you for your reply.

I wrote “But the views of Anselm and Abelard led to the Scholastic view, where redemption is the product of love and mercy and benevolence”.

You support this claim.

You make the point as I did that there was no need for Jesus to die.

Previously here the theories of Anselm and the early Church were proposed, but you give a theory which seems to be based on the Scholastic view, and current thinking. The death of Jesus is due to love.

I do not understand this, but I will try to think about it and I hope I will grow in understanding.

I glanced at the web site you sent me. I will study it as carefully as I can.

Of course I still ponder it all. But the death of Jesus was necessary in so far as he was fully human to share in our life and suffering. But execution, a result of the darkness of his time and culture. His message was too bright for them but he let it shine anyway out of love for those who could welcome it.

But “forgiveness of sins” I scriptural and attributed to Jesus himself. That is the part we need to focus on. I think it has to do with us forgiving each other and ourselves more than appeasing God and moving him to forgive us. Perhaps all the theories of atonement have a share in the truth.

This is always a good subject to meditate.

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