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Tuesday, December 13, 2011


MOSCOW, December 13, 2011 — A cousin asked for help recently. She wanted to know how to answer a friend who says he could never believe in a God who killed his own son. A relatively new believer, my cousin was startled by this objection.

Skeptics bring up this point quite often. It is, however, a fallacious one, because it is based on a false assumption. God did not just seize Jesus and kill him in the way the objection implies.

Before he came to earth as the babe of Bethlehem, the Son had prior existence as the second person of the Trinity. Along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, he had co-existed eternally as part of the triune Godhead.

But even though they are distinct persons, the three share in the same divine nature. This means that each one of them is God, which is why we refer to them as God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Since he is God, the Son is all-knowing. He knows not only the past but also the future. Because of this, he knew exactly what would happen to him after he came to earth as Jesus of Nazareth. He knew that he would be betrayed, arrested and put to death on the cross.

But as God, the Son is also all-powerful. As such, he could never be forced to do anything against his will. Jesus' dying on the cross was, therefore, a voluntary act. Jesus clearly declared this in John chapter 10:

"No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again."

Long before the human race embarked on its sin-ridden path, the three persons of the Trinity entered into a compact whose purpose was the redemption of sinful men. The Son would be incarnated in a human body in which he would absorb the penalty of men's sins. The Father would administer the dreadful punishment and the Holy Spirit would then work faith in the hearts of people through which they could appropriate Christ's redeeming sacrifice.

Christ did not have to undergo the agonizing ordeal. He agreed to it voluntarily long before he entered human history. The Bible tells us he was the “Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.”

Contrary to what some think, God the Father is not some cruel tyrant who wantonly killed his innocent son. Christ willingly submitted himself to the agony of death. He could have – had he so wished – avoided the crucifixion until the very last moment.

The story of his arrest shows this poignantly. When Peter pulled out the sword to defend his master, Jesus told him: "Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?"

We know from the Old Testament that angels are beings of great power. In the Second Book of Kings, for example, we read how one angel destroyed a large Assyrian army.

Twelve legions of which Jesus spoke to Peter would represent thousands upon thousands of angels. Such heavenly host would have enough firepower not only to wipe everyone in Jesus' arresting party but also every human being on the face of the earth.

And yet Jesus chose not to call upon the angels to save him from his impending ordeal, but he chose to go through it.

Jesus' death was decidedly not an act of a cruel Father, but a gesture of supreme self-sacrifice by the Son. He chose to die so that we could live.

In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul delineates the very limit of human love: “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.”

The Apostle John tells us that God is love. Jesus showed how the love of God works in practice: Christ died not only to give eternal life to his friends but also to offer salvation to his enemies.

Greater love than this the world has not seen.


Born and raised under communism, Vasko Kohlmayer is a naturalized American citizen. He has lived in several countries under various forms of government, but he still marvels at the goodness of God and the wonder of life.

He has written for a number of newspapers, magazines and internet journals. Vasko currently lives in Europe with his long-suffering wife and two beautiful daughters. He is the founder of The Christian Writers Foundation.

His column "Higher Things" deals with matters pertaining to God. You can read more by clicking on this link.

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