Jesus Didn’t Truly Die For Our Sins

Possibly the most important story in Christianity is Jesus’ death.  The idea, in short, is that God sacrificed his only son to pay the debt of the sins of the world, and anyone who has faith in Jesus will be granted eternity in heaven.  One of the most important verses in the New Testament is John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (NIV).  The story found in the gospels tells how Jesus was betrayed and crucified, then raised from the dead three days later.  Following the resurrection, Jesus proves to his disciples that he is really alive, then (mentioned in the final verses of Mark and Luke), Jesus ascends from the earth to be placed at the right hand of God – his father who originally offered him as the sacrifice.

There are several problems with this account that can be argued (like the fact that an all-powerful God thought this was the only way to forgive the imperfections of his creation – a barbaric human sacrifice when he could, theoretically, command anything with the wave of a hand), so I will focus on one specific issue that I can’t see a way around – Jesus did not experience true death.

Jesus “died” but was alive three days later.  In my opinion, this would be more like a coma for three days followed by an awakening.  If one of my sons dies, he will not wake up three days later – his death will be final.  So, Jesus did not actually, completely, truly, ultimately die.

As far as the sacrifice is concerned, God got his son back forty days later.  This is not a true sacrifice.  Again, if one of my sons dies, I will never see him again.  His death is final – I don’t get him back.  God got Jesus by his side shortly after his “death.”  God did not sacrifice anything – he got his “payment for the debt” paid right back to him in full.  So, in the end, both he and Jesus came out in the best possible situation – together forever.  God didn’t lose anything in this transaction.  Seems a bit like a sleight of hand to me.

Some religious people may say that Jesus had to prove his supernatural powers to the world by conquering death.  If this is the case, then John 3:16 is intentionally misleading.  You can’t have a sacrifice and conquer death at the same time.  If the sacrifice were true, Jesus would be in hell, purgatory, oblivion, or some other place separate from God the father.  This way, God’s sacrifice is true and eternal, John 3:16 becomes a legitimate claim, and we can all respect the profundity of God’s loss for us.  One the other hand, if Jesus gets to return to his father and void the sacrifice, and God’s intention was to demonstrate his power over death, John 3:16 should read something like “For God so loved the world he allowed merciless and barbaric mistreatment and torture of his own son, and Jesus conquered death for the sins of the world…”

I have not yet received a satisfactory answer as to how the logistics of this story are supposed to make sense.  If Jesus is not the true sacrificial lamb, I think we can call into question the validity of the gospels and epistles (beyond just using common sense).  The interesting thing is that I don’t think many Christians have even put this together themselves or heard this argument from somone else.  My opinion is that, beyond the taboo of anyone criticizing religious beliefs and claims, faith turns off the reason centers of the brain so much that otherwise reasonable people can read this story over and over throughout their lives and never question its logic.

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One thought on “Jesus Didn’t Truly Die For Our Sins

  1. I think that many have been misled by this passage as well. It is my belief that Jesus did not die to forgive our sins, but rather to change the way sins are forgiven by the father.

    Before Christ, a sacrifice had to be made in the form of a lamb, calf, the best selection from your harvest etc. But so that the covenant with God could be fulfilled and that man can have true forgiveness and a real possibility at everlasting life a real sacrifice had to be made my mans hands and using the ultimate lamb; the lamb of God himself.

    I do not think that by saying that Jesus overcame death, means that he overcame the death we know and suffer as humans. To truly understand this part of the Bible we need to stop looking at this as a human effect and more of a spiritual and Godly effect.

    Lazarus was resurrected from the dead by Jesus, so if we look at it from a human experience and the way you describe; then he too was not dead.

    The resurrection was more of a symbolic gesture to show mankind that whomever believes and follows Gods system will be resurrected and have everlasting life after mortal death.

    Just my 2cents tho.

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