This post is a response to an article entitled “10 Reasons Why the Crucifixion Story Makes No Sense” which has been posted on a variety of blogs across the internet. This response is a guest post by Jared, a high school student. If you have not read the original post, I suggest reading the two together so you can better understand Jared’s responses. We hope this sparks a thoughtful discussion about the truth of the scriptures and their account of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
1. Sure death sucks, but why single out this one?
The author makes the claim that there have been many crucifixions in history. Because Jesus was put to a humiliating death on the cross, it appears to make him less God-like. One may think this, but even if Jesus died in a less painful way than others, how could that undermine the truth claim? Aside from all the historical evidence we have for the resurrection, it is faulty to assume that the mannerism of one’s death demotes one of a status. We point Jesus out because he didn’t stay dead.
2. What about that whole hell thing?
Here the author argues that Jesus died and was dead for three days, while sinners get to suffer eternally in hell. Isn’t Jesus’ death nothing compared to eternal torment? This is not necessarily true. Since Jesus is a sinless and perfect being, he did not deserve death. Because he is both fully god and fully man Jesus is an infinite being, and as such, his suffering was infinite. Therefore, his death is considered on par with the eternal suffering of sinners.
3. Jesus didn’t even die.
The claim here is that the resurrection negates Jesus’ sacrifice through death. This claim lacks logic. Here the author commits the logical fallacy of Negating the Antecedent and Consequence. The premise is: If P then Q. Therefore, if not-Q then not-P. To fit this into the argument, the author is arguing that: If Jesus is dead (P) then humanities sins are paid for (Q). Therefore, if Jesus is resurrected (not-P), then humanities sins have not been paid for (not-Q). Jesus died for our sins, this was the sacrifice. He was then resurrected by God on the third day. Just because Jesus is alive again does not mean the sacrifice was not paid.
4. Taking on the sin vs. removal of sin aren’t symmetric.
The assertion is made that we as humans didn’t do anything to inherit original sin. Just like the president is the representative of all American people, Adam was the representative for the human race. What Adam did affected us similar to how the president’s actions affect the American people. This includes the concept of original sin. Because Adam is representative of man, his downfall is passed down to us who come after him. We have also inherited Adams sin nature, and by doing, so constantly rebel against God.
5. The reason behind the sacrifice—mankind’s original sin—makes no sense
Similarly, here the author argues about Adam and how the reasoning for original sin is nonsense and Adam didn’t understand what he was getting into. First, Adam fully understood that he was not to eat of the forbidden fruit. He may have not understood that long term repercussions, but he was told by God not to eat the fruit under penalty of death. Genesis 2:16 says: 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Second, the author says “why blame us for something we didn’t do?” Well, we did do something. In fact, we do it every day. This “something” is sin, so of course we are as blame worthy as Adam.
6. Jesus made a sacrifice—big deal
The author finds that Jesus acting out of his nature is somehow unremarkable compared to sinners acting kindly. He writes: “Jesus is perfect, so his doing something noble is like water flowing downhill. It’s unremarkable since he’s only acting out his nature. What else would you expect from a perfect being?” Does that fact that a perfect being exists and acts as such a negative thing? Not at all, rather, it is amazing that Jesus can be so perfect that he can heal the sick and sacrifice himself for people who deserve death. 1 Peter 2:22 says “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” I find it much more amazing that there is a perfect and loving being willing to redeem us than the fact that sinners can be kind sometimes.
7. What is left for God to forgive?
This is where the author makes a common mistake. He assumes that the sacrifice on the cross somehow eliminates that sin has been committed. The cross does not atone for the sins of unbelievers; it offers hope of salvation where there once was none. For example, say a child breaks his mothers favorite flower vase. Being a good mother, she will forgive her child for this misdeed, and yet the vase is still broken. Someone will have to pay for the vase either way, be it the child or the mother. Otherwise, the vase is left shattered, broken, and unrestored. We broke the vase, God’s law, so we can’t fix it by ourselves. God has to fix it through His sons sacrifice on the cross.
8. The Jesus story isn’t even remarkable within mythology
In this section it seems quite clear that the author regards the figure of Jesus as merely a literary creation. He claims that the death on the cross was rather bland when compared to Greek/Egyptian mythology. Again, we see a case of faulty logic. Saying the death on the cross was uninteresting compared to mythology (indefinitely proven to be false in the case of the Greeks and Egyptians), it is akin to saying horses are rather unremarkable because there are stories of creatures called unicorns. This is completely ignoring the abundance of evidence that corroborates the view that Jesus was a real person (New Testament, Josephus, Tacitus, etc).
9. The Bible itself rejects God’s savage “justice.”
Here, the author conveniently leaves out the part where the prodigal son comes back asking for forgiveness. This is how forgiveness truly works. God is certainly willing to forgive, but one must repent and feel true sorrow for what he has done. If not, why forgive? If one does not come back to God asking for forgiveness from the bottom of his heart than why expect God to forgive? We believe in a gracious God, one who calls on us to come to Him and repent.
10. The entire story is incoherent.
Again, the author doesn’t seem to understand some key principles of Christianity. In his argument he says that God should not bother creating people destined for hell. This ignores the doctrine of free will. One can choose to accept or reject God. If one chooses to reject Him, God cannot force one into His presence in Heaven. That is where hell comes in. Simply put, hell is separation from God. God does not condemn the unbeliever to hell; the unbeliever chooses to put himself there. Unbelievers choose to go to hell rather than submit their lives to God. But, one can escape this and spend eternity in Heaven with God. What’s the catch? All you have to do is believe in Jesus Christ and trust him with your life.
Photo: Jonathan Romig