The cross of Jesus is child abuse; that is the argument put forward by some Christians and non-Christians alike; their claim is that God’s dealing with sin by sending His Son to suffer and die for someone else’s crime was a form of abuse. Are they right?
This is a big argument and it can get quite complex when you bring in propitiation, (a sacrificial offering to turn away the wrath of a deity) which the New Testament claims Jesus was (Rom 3:25, Heb 2:17, 1 John 2;2, 4:10). To keep this article from over running we will focus on how can it be right for an innocent to suffer at God’s command on behalf of the guilty? Why should God be angry with the innocent Jesus when it was me who committed the crime?
I think the problems come up because we tend to have a very incomplete picture of the Gospel and a failure to understand who God really is.
In the beginning the world was very good, and for it to stay that way humanity was expected to put God’s wisdom before their own, but they didn’t. From that day to this we have considered ourselves smarter than God and so have put our own plans and devices before His, which is idolatry and leads to death.
After humanity’s first sin God pronounced the curse, which explained what death would look like in action. However, in the middle of the curse God promises that “the seed of the woman” (Gen 3:15) would come and destroy Satan, and then after banishing us from the Garden of Eden God kills some animals to make clothes for the scared and homeless couple. I don’t know about you, but to me that doesn’t sound like God is in a rage about sin. Angry, yes; upset, yes; sad, yes – but in spite of it all He serves His rebellious creatures and makes a promise to fix what they had broken.
So far we have death loose in the earth, God saddend but committed to resolving the problem, but how does He go about it. Did He call Jesus over and give orders saying that Jesus was to suffer unimaginable horrors to take care of what was His difficulty? The misunderstanding here is that the question doesn’t take into account what God is really like.
The key here is that God is a trinity of persons; this means He is one in being, but three in persons. There is only one God, but He is three distinct persons, whom we call the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. For now, we will have to avoid the temptation to get into the discussion about how this is evidenced in the Bible, but we can show how it is the only way to answer the question about the fairness of the cross.
If Jesus Christ is a created being, if He is another God or the highest of the angels then the cross is not a cure for sin and injustice, it becomes yet another unjust sin to add to the list committed since the fall. But, if Jesus is actually God Himself, then it all changes.
Because Jesus is God, because He is a member of the Godhead; God didn’t send a third party to suffer because of our sin, He did it Himself. It was God who was rejected, mocked, flogged, and crucified, and it was God who died. To some this idea is blasphemous, but not so. This is how God defeated Satan, overcame death, solved the problem of sin and won back a lost creation.
The reason the cross isn’t child abuse, is because God’s son is in fact God, Jesus is God in human form. Jesus is God with a physical body and the same experience of life as we have.
In the creation account God tells the man and woman to take dominion and rule over the planet with His authority, kindness and justice; that authority was then handed by them to the evil one who had set himself against God. Today that balance has been restored, the evil one is thrown down and a human being is now King of all creation – Jesus the God man.
God didn’t send a lesser person to rescue us, He didn’t pass the responsibility to someone else, He gave up Himself and suffered at the hand of His own justice, He waded into our mess to put right all that is wrong, and one day my friends we will see that restoration, that is already irreversible, fully complete when “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Rev 21:4
Go well my friends 😀
Be a dear and share with others.