Why did Jesus need to die?

I have various problems with Original Sin - I don’t believe in Adam and Eve, and I can’t see how any Original Sin (from them or any analogous “sinning forbears”) could be imputed to us as descendants. But setting aside those objections, let’s assume that Original Sin did occur in one way or another and that it was somehow imputed to us.

Then the question is: why did Jesus need to die in order to overcome that? Why would an omnipotent God need to sacrifice his son in order to overcome this? Jesus’ death and resurrection seem in some ways unnecessarily big in some ways (more than an omnipotent God would need to do) and excessively small in others (dying a humiliating death as a minor preacher with a resurrection witnessed only by a handful of followers).

So much of Christianity is based on the notion of God sacrificing his son, so I have to ask: why was it even necessary at all? What did it accomplish that could not have been accomplished by (to my limited mortal mind) more effective and less sacrificial means? And if the whole point was to demonstrate God’s love for us, then why stop at only one such intervention in history?

Thanks.

Sancho

The imputation is that Adam and Eve brought death to the world and through that sin. It was not possible to be saved from this sin without action and that action had to be divine for nobody with only a human nature could take that action.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 615 “Jesus atoned for our faults and made satisfaction for our sins to the Father.”

Catholic Encyclopedia, Atonement: No sin, as he views the matter, can be forgiven without satisfaction. A debt to Divine justice has been incurred; and that debt must needs be paid. But man could not make this satisfaction for himself; the debt is something far greater than he can pay; and, moreover, all the service that he can offer to God is already due on other titles.

Kent, W. (1907). Doctrine of the Atonement. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. newadvent.org/cathen/02055a.htm
Sixth session of the Council of Trent: Whence it came to pass, that the Heavenly Father, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1, 3), when that blessed fullness of the time was come (Galatians 4:4) sent unto men Jesus Christ, His own Son who had been, both before the Law and during the time of the Law, to many of the holy fathers announced and promised, that He might both redeem the Jews, who were under the Law and that the Gentiles who followed not after justice might attain to justice and that all men might receive the adoption of sons. Him God had proposed as a propitiator, through faith in His blood (Romans 3:25), for our sins, and not for our sins only, but also for those of the whole world (I John ii, 2).

As you eluded, the Passion cannot be understood apart from love. If looked at only as a financial transaction, i.e. that his death “makes up for” something else, then I could see your confusion. Consider it this way, however. What did Jesus say was the greatest act of love a person could do: to lay down one’s life for a friend. True love is self-giving.

You say the intervention was only once, but that is only partially true. The Eucharist re-presents that singular sacrifice through time and space. Additionally, that sacrifice continues to echo through our very sufferings, which we bear in participation with that singular suffering (1 Pet. 4:13; Col. 1:24, etc.)

The question is more about love. Why must that kind of event entered the world? If the world was sick, then Christ’s act of love was a remedy, was it not?

You express doubt on Original Sin, right? What of the evil in the world? Is it not a sickness? Would you say there is something “wrong” with the world? If yes, then what is the remedy? Is it love from divinity? If not, then what? If you think everything is perfectly fine with the world, then feel free to argue that position. :o

Much of what was accomplished by Christ lies in the fact that it allowed the Holy Spirit to come to be with man, including you.

Please consider that Jesus came at a time when a culture of fear, punishment and revenge dominated the world.

By demonstrating self sacrifice in the most purest of all possible ways, Jesus shows us what love means. Jesus is truth. Jesus is Love. God is Love. These concepts now live in us through the Holy spirit. The Spirit of Jesus in sacrificial love now enables the world to exist in a state of grace more aligned with God.

The change in heart of people cannot be accomplished with a wave of God’s hand. He does not work that way. We share in his life. We are intertwined.

Adam and Eve were not a real life thing. If they were then everyone today would be the spawn of incestuous relations between brothers, sisters, cousins and other relatives. But the Church wont admit this because then there would have been no reason for Jesus to die. Hencrforth he died for nothing. The bigger question you should be asking yourself is why is everyone in the world, even babies born hours AFTER this post, have sin in them, original sin.

If God gave us free will, and with our free will we sin, then sin is a by-product of free will. Meaning God gave us sin, and then is punishing us for it. So, in conclusion, dont ask questions, it will only lead to doubt, and once doubt creeps in youll be with me in Hell! Questions are the devil in your religion. Why did God burn Sodom? Because they liked to party? No, because the God of the Old Testament is a vindictive and cruel being who sits like a kid with a magnifying glass on top of an anthill, slowing burning people alive for no reason at all.

Nice try, Butch: nothing like an inflammatory post to see if we’re awake, particularly as you (of course) didn’t actually provide any actual answer.

As Catholics we believe that Adam & Eve were the first people whom God created with souls.

Otherwise, I think the other answers provided are a good job answering OP’s questions.

What’s wrong with asking questions? I was taught be people that asking questions is how we learn. Heck, St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica is full of questions! Thomas Aquinas put forth questions that he answered! We as Catholics believe in Faith and Reason.

Also, if you could please post your replies in a very civil tone, that would be greatly appreciated. I understand that it feels great to come up with sassy answers, but the reality is, those sassy answers where you try to belittle others only glorifies yourself. It does not make a good relationship or a good dialogue; rather, it spreads unneeded division. I also invite everyone to talk and dialogue in a civil manner, for good dialogue bears much good fruit. Remember, just because we have differences in beliefs doesn’t mean we have to be enemies! We’re not here to get you, to portray you as the enemy. No! We’re both humans; we both bleed the same color.

We could never pay in full for our sins. We are so beloved of God and have received such incredible gifts that our betrayal (which starts with original sin but is repeated through out salvation history) extracted a price no human could possibly pay. So God not only took flesh and dwelt among us to bring us knowledge of God, He was sacrificed with all the cruelty that implies, a sacrifice that would pay for all sin. He paid that price knowing that because His love gifted us with free will, in some cases the love that made that incredible sacrifice possible would be unrequited.

So are you telling me you all actually believe that Adam and Eve were the first woman and man alive? That they had children, and their children had children and we descended from them? Because if you are, Im in the wrong forum. I thought I left the Fiction section.

Sure am! :wink:

Your Neo Darwinian Evolution say’s the same thing, even if we evolved from Neanderthals, you still need at least one (Adam) who made the ‘next leap’ in evolution so to speak in order to produce all of us and therefore we are all descendent from.

You’re free to believe what you like, won’t make it true though. :shrug:

God Bless

Thank you for reading
Josh

Hey Butch, where are you getting your facts? DNA does not confirm that we came from diverse unrelated ancestors, but rather everyone on the planet can be traced back to one set of parents. We are all related. That’s a scientific fact.

Hi Sancho,

After reading your last posts, a lot of your queries are what I have seen text book Atheistic arguments, only found from atheists who are looking to throw Christianity and theism into disrepute and the power of them rely on manipulation, misrepresentation and ones lack of knowledge of the scientific, theological and/or philosophical issues.

It’s perfectly fine for you to ask them (I would encourage it actually), but I believe we could help you further if we know who ‘coined’ the argument to begin with and then we can read it in it’s entirety and see (or find others who have seen) the flaw in their logic much more easily and help with no doubt further queries you will have given their mistaken philosophies.

I hope this has helped

God Bless You

Thank you for reading
Josh

Just with an aside note -

In a 1950 encyclical Humanis Generis Pope Pius XII made the following assertions regarding Evolution and Catholicism.

[LIST]
*]That there was a first man, not an ancestral group.

*]That if the human body of that first man came into existence from pre-existing matter it was not contrary to traditional teaching.

*]That certain ‘fictitious tenets’ of evolution were an ideological tool with an agenda other than science itself.

*]That continuing scientific research was to be encouraged.
[/LIST]

w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_12081950_humani-generis.html

I hope this has helped

God Bless

Thank you for reading
Josh

Your response focused on one inference and ignored the question.

Then the question is: why did Jesus need to die in order to overcome that [original sin]? Why would an omnipotent God need to sacrifice his son in order to overcome this? Jesus’ death and resurrection seem in some ways unnecessarily big in some ways (more than an omnipotent God would need to do) and excessively small in others (dying a humiliating death as a minor preacher with a resurrection witnessed only by a handful of followers).

It’s really important to stick to the question which is a good one, and stay way from evolution which a moderator can shut down the thread because evolution is a forbidden topic. (see the stickies under the rules)

So if I remove the piece from which the evolutionary inference is made, my answer to the question is

We could never pay in full for our sins. We are so beloved of God and have received such incredible gifts that our betrayal (which is repeated through out salvation history) extracted a price no human could possibly pay. So God not only took flesh and dwelt among us to bring us knowledge of God, He was sacrificed with all the cruelty that implies, a sacrifice that would pay for all sin. He paid that price knowing that because His love gifted us with free will, in some cases the love that made that incredible sacrifice possible would be unrequited.

If merely his death would suffice, why did not God allow baby Jesus to be killed by Herod, and get it over with?

What else did Jesus do in the process of his time on earth and his Passion?

From a homily of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI:

“In the incarnation, the Son of God became one with human beings – with Adam. But only at this moment, when he accomplishes the supreme act of love by descending into the night of death, does he bring the journey of the incarnation to its completion.”

He taught humanity the true nature of God and His plan for man. Like any good teacher, He first explained the lesson then demonstrated what that lesson meant. If Jesus had died by Herod’s hand, man would be saved but still in the dark, still slaves of the law.

It would have been like a parent whose child makes a mess, then the parent cleans it up. Yeah the mess is cleaned up but the child learns nothing. If the parent talks about the danger of leaving toys on the floor, tells the child clean up or lose your toys, then demonstrates how to put way the toys, the child learns ho to clean up.

Jesus’ ministry was about teaching us, through grace, to clean up our mess.

Jesus had to die because he was the fulfillment of the Mosaic law in which God allowed man, through the laying on of hands and confession, to “transfer” his sin onto an animal. Since the penalty of that sin was death, God allowed the animal to die in man’s place. The animal, however, could never take away our sin, but Jesus alone, being God, and being sent by God, could do this.

Jesus couldn’t just die as an infant, because he had to lead a sinless life in order to fulfill the requirement that the animal be without spot or blemish before it would be acceptable unto God. And also, as others have said, He came to teach us and show us the way to God, and he could’t have done that as an infant.

Because mankind suffers, Jesus also suffered to take our suffering on himself, and also, as the scripture says, he can now relate to our suffering and temptations because he has been through the same things.

You no doubt know God lives in timelessness. God doesn’t think discursively and make decisions like we do. He doesn’t have to. Part of the plan of creation was that Jesus was going to enter human history and human linear time. Since God loves us without limit, presumably, Jesus entered human history at the precise moment in our linear time when it was best for him to do so. Best for us; God is self-sufficient.

When we love someone, we want what’s best for them, not for us. God could have forgiven humanity’s sins by becoming a donkey, as Martin Luther said. However, becoming a donkey wouldn’t have been most fitting for us. God required no payment for our sins, although Christ suffered the wounds of our sins. (He did not take our sins upon himself and suffer the penalty. That is penal substitution, and it is not a Catholic theology, though some Protestants adhere to it.)

Jesus did what he did and suffered and died and was raised because it was best for us and the best way to build up his Church. It was the best way to accomplish his self-revelation and to show us the fullness and limitlessness of his love for us. If God have just waved his hand (and I am anthropomorphizing God now) and said, “You are forgiven,” the effect of his infinite love would not have been as great.

There is much more. This topic could take up a whole course in Christology classes. But the crucifixion was for us, not for our sins so much as for us to know how much God loves us. When we are baptized, we are baptized into Christ’s death and Resurrection as well. We can help Christ carry his cross by bearing ours with love and faith. Every sin we commit causes Christ more pain on the Cross; every act of genuine charity we do eases his pain and suffering. As long as there is agony in the world, Christ will be in agony. Those who truly and unselfishly love him will help to heal his wounded heart by keeping his commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

I don’t doubt that there’s evil in the world, but that could be the product of the fact that we’re flawed, imperfect beings in a difficult world, with evil forces to tempt us, and nothing to do with an apple, a woman, and a snake in an creation myth.

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