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Andrew wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am having debates with a Catholic and he insists that Catholicism teaches that Christ only died on the Cross to show perfect obedience to God.

  • Is this what Catholicism teaches?

Andrew

  { Was the only reason Christ died on the Cross to obey His Father? }

Mary Ann replied:

Andrew —

Scripture teaches that Christ went to the Cross so that the world would know that He loves the Father, and to show obedience. His sacrifice was the sacrifice of a will perfectly united to God in love no matter what happened.

By His obedience, the disobedience of Adam and Eve is cancelled, and union with the Father is achieved for all of us. So the Catholic is wrong in saying that Jesus "only" went to show obedience, as if it were a slight reason.

Obedience unto death is what saved us.

Mary Ann

Andrew replied:

Hi, Mary Ann —

Thanks for your fast reply.

I realize that this is what Scripture taught long ago but I don't think its appropriate to still believe and teach it now. People had totally different beliefs back then so it was appropriate for their culture. There are now far more rational and logical explanations for Christ's death. I briefly give these later. Scripture reflects only what the people back then thought.

Consider this:

  • Why would Christ need to have himself killed to show that he loves the Father?
    There are better and less fatal ways.

  • Why would God demand a level obedience that leads to death?
  • Don't you think that's a bit extreme, like what a dictator or mafia boss would demand? Remember that God is a God of life, not death.

Plus life was precious back then because the population was low and life spans were short so God would not have demanded that at all.

  • Why did Christ really died?

There were basically two reasons but there was probably more to it than that.

  • He upset the religious authorities of the time with his claims of divinity so they had him killed.
  • He wanted to prove that there is no such thing as death by His Resurrection. We are all really spirits having physical experiences.

Regards,

Andrew

Mary Ann replied:

Dear Andrew —

  • You are right that Christ did not have himself killed, and that God did not demand death.
  • You are right that he was killed for claiming divinity.
  • You are wrong that we are all really spirits having physical experiences.

We are body-soul beings, and death is real. Death was not in God's plan for us. It is a result of sin. In sin, we disobey God (and we disobey the law of our own nature, our own good).
We separate from our good, and from God. Death is that separation happening in our nature.

God did not desire death. He desires us to remain united in love with Him and others no matter what happens. Adam did not do that. Christ was subjected to all manner of temptation, persecution, and suffering and did not turn against the Father or hate others. He maintained the bond of loving union, showing it by enduring whatever we did to Him.

He restored our union with God, and through that union with Him we share in divine life.

Mary Ann

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