Home >> Articles >> Apologetics - Defending the Faith
Why so Violent?
Q. Why did Jesus' death have to be so violent? What if I were to never really come to the certain belief that Jesus was the son of God who died and rose again? Is that one belief by me enough even if it doesn't feel real and from the depths of my heart? (K.D.)
Thanks for your questions. Many readers share your concerns and will appreciate your questions.
A Genetic Problem
Mankind is born in sin, lives in sin, and dies in sin. Think of sin as a genetic defect which has contaminated everything around us - our planet and its plant and animal life. Our DNA has been tampered with and compromised. It is part of the fabric of who we are and the nature of our environment. We are all subject to the second law of thermodynamics. Everything is breaking down and dying. All of this is the end result of sin.
Yet, originally we weren't meant to be dying, murderous creatures filled with evil thoughts - living in hot or freezing, dried-out, inhospitable surroundings. Something happened that caused a lovely, green tropical paradise drenched with dew and a constant temperature to become a thorny, brown, dried-out desert. Theologians call it the "Fall."
It is interesting that in many cultures and religions around the world the idea of "sacrifice" is understood. It has been for thousands of years. Somehow we humans know that we need to "atone" for our sins and to "appease" the gods. This is what we would expect if there were an element of truth to the universal concept of sacrifice.
Violence fits Crime
The violence of Jesus' death on the cross fits the nature of our crimes. Our sins are great and terrible. Although this may not be "politically correct," if we are honest we know that men are hateful, murderous, sick beings who are jealous and envious of one another. For instance, take a good look at the Islamic groups Boko Haram and ISIS on the news day after day. An honest evaluation of such horrid behaviors recognize this as pure evil gone to seed!
Other than wishing our own children well - and sometimes not even then - we certainly don't wish our neighbors well. We don't want others to succeed or to be happy or to be prosperous or to be beautiful. We start and maintain wars just to keep our citizens economically viable. We steal from each other and try to destroy those who are different from us. Sadly, there is no such thing as the "noble savage." We truly need a great sacrifice to atone for our heinous sins and failures.
Without question the violence of the Crucifixion parallels the violence of our Sin. We desperately need Salvation from the pervasiveness of Sin in our own bodies and in the world around us. Nature itself has fallen prey to Sin. Like the wicked witch of the east in the Wizzard of Oz, we are "melting." Sin has destroyed planet earth.
While our belief in Christ's atonement for our sins seems "subjective," it is nevertheless rooted in historical fact. It is historical truth that Jesus lived, died on a cross, and rose from the dead. It is corroborated by historical testimony and meets all of the criteria for objective historical truth (McDowell 1999, 672).
Quality of Evidence
We can't list all of the criteria for what constitutes historical fact, here. But, there are numerous books written on this subject if you wish to pursue it further.
- We have facts about the empty tomb which the enemies of Jesus could have refuted adequately if they had evidence to the contrary.
- We have detailed prophecies - proved to have been written centuries before Christ.
- We have evidences from archaeology.
- We have the testimony of witnesses, Jewish historians, and secular authors.
- We have testimonies from the disciples who died for their belief in Jesus' resurrection.
- We have an explosion of manuscript evidence - far greater than for other historical incidents.
- We have so much evidence that several notable attorneys have claimed that the resurrection of Jesus is the most attested-to-fact in history!
If we do our homework and study the Bible and evidences, our "faith" becomes rooted in historical "fact." It remains fact regardless of how we feel from day to day.
If you live at 123 Root Street in Arizona, you live there regardless of how you "feel" about your address from day to day. Your address is rooted in fact - independent of how you feel.
In the same way our belief in the resurrection of Christ is rooted in historical fact. Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead in history. As the famous English Literature professor, C.S. Lewis said, God chose to become one of His creatures to communicate this to us. It doesn't matter how we "feel" about it.
Artwork Copyright by Dunan Long. All rights reserved. Artwork used with permission of the artist.
Duncan Long's website - A must see! www.http://DuncanLong.com/art.html.
McDowell, Josh. 1999. The new evidence that demands a verdict. Nashville, TN: Nelson.
Muncaster, Ralph. 2004. Examine the evidence. Eugene, OR: Harvest House.
Strobel, Lee. 1998. The case for Christ. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Authors Valorie Mays Emilio holds an MA in History from UCLA focusing upon Christian origins. Ken received his MA in Biblical Studies from Louisiana Baptist University.
© RemnantReport.com. All Rights Reserved.