I have absolutely no idea why this thought is popping up now, but here’s my thoughts and what the heck… Re: The Death of Jesus, Jesus, Christ, Jesus the Christ, Was Jesus God?, The Resurrection, Hope, Eternal Life and all that.
Traditional theology is this: Jesus and God are One. God chose to/wanted to sacrifice [His] “only Begotten Son” in order to save the world. Jesus went along with this and agreed to die on the cross to save us from sin, even though it was torture. Jesus was willing to die and suffer because God (himself) asked him to. God is good. Jesus is good. Human beings are generally horrible, but can be saved by believing all of the above.
From this, people get stupid/dysfunctional/anti-religion/anti-God/anti-Christianity ideas: “Good parents abuse their children out of love”; “Good children do everything their parent says, even if it hurts”; “God is good because he tortured his child”; “God is a man, God is mean, therefore men are mean”; “God (of the Jews) is mean, Jesus (a Christian) is nice”; “Good Jews are mean or strict, Good Christians are nice”; “Human beings are so horrible that only killing God can atone for them” and the list goes on.
I want to propose an alternative version of events and their meaning. As a person of faith, I do believe (however “irrationally”): 1) Jesus and God are One in some funky way that’s hard to understand; 2) Jesus is God Incarnate (in human form); 3) God is good; 4) Jesus is Good; 5) People could go either way and they do frequently; 6) Jesus was here; 7)Jesus died; 8)Jesus rose again; 9)We are saved from sin if we believe that 6,7,and 8 are true.
So here’s my take on it:
God (who is male and female and all kinds of spirit) sent Jesus to teach people how to live. God had tried this numerous times before in the form of prophets or judges or other human beings, and it didn’t work. This time, God decided to do it God’s self. God took the chance that people might attempt to kill Jesus, but also took the chance that people might get it right this time and live well with each other in the way God wants. Powerful people didn’t want to hear what Jesus had to say for any number of reasons, so they decided to kill Jesus. Jesus saw this coming because it was always a possibility, though hardly his favorite. Also, it’s not hard to tell when catastrophe is coming or when people are angry or feel threatened. Jesus and God talked it over and Jesus was willing to die. God had never died before, so this was a chance to see what it was like/see what was in people’s hearts. Jesus chose to die if that’s what it took and God agreed with it — though not-at-all happy about it because good parents let their children take risks and are willing to suffer through their own pain to let their children become their own ultimate self. That is love and the Ultimate in Loving Parents (God) would suffer for their child rather than kill them. Besides, there was still the possibility that this particular group of humans wouldn’t end up killing Jesus, but would change their minds.
The humans there chose poorly, let their anger and fear and limited vision get the best of them and killed Jesus. God watched the death of Jesus and was in agony doing so. God also experienced the death as Jesus, but a Good God can never let Evil have the final say, so God/Jesus rose from the dead. We are saved from a life of misery (life has meaning) when we believe that ultimately Good wins and that God won’t allow Evil to triumph in the end, and that even when we are at our worst, we can’t kill the goodness in the God who loves us.
No mean God, no abused children, no bad Jews or nicer Christians, no mean men who want to punish their children, lots of choices, freedom and respect. Good is good. Evil is Bad. Same event, different understanding of what it all means.
That’s what I got. What do you think?