Good Friday: The Day God Saved Us From God?

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How Mel Gibson Makes Me Love God

I love the movie, “Passion of the Christ”.

Does that surprise you?

Yes, I know it’s essentially a snuff film made by a possibly ultra-conservative pre-Vatican II Catholic (media-proclaimed) racist (publicly proclaimed) who has clearly focused on, and even glorified the violence of Yeshua’s crucifixion.

Yes, I know that it is the visual basis for a lot of folks’ Fear-Based Theology.

But I still love it.

Why? Because it’s very likely close to what Yeshua experienced in terms of the horrors and tortures of his death. The flagellation, the taunts, the humiliation, the pain… all very likely happened much in that way. And as distasteful and shocking as it is to watch… it’s true. And the point is that this film clearly expresses and displays the power of love.

Love?

Love. The kind of love that allows and enables you to endure such horror and pain, and never cry out for vengeance, never balk and recant, never abandon the teachings and the radicalism that got you into this whole mess in the first place. Steady through the torture. True through the blood. And when the poor misguided Romans hammered those nails into place, what do you do? You forgive them.

Luke 23

34. Yeshua said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

And this is where we get into the truly icky part: if you can wade through the blood and the violence you can eventually hear the world whispering, “Why?”

Why would a man have to endure this?

For many who ask such questions often comes the standard answer of Modern Christianity: penal substitutionary atonement (PSA). According to basic PSA, Yeshua took  our place, and took upon himself the price or penalty of our sins, so that we would not have to suffer them ourselves. Sound familiar? Sound right?

I wish it didn’t.

For you see, there are many, many problems with this sick and perverse theology, which also happens to be the most popular explanation of atonement in the world:

The Collective Insanity of Penal Substitutionary Atonement

  • First, the “penalty” for sin was ordained by God. It is actually God’s wrath we are trying to avoid when we try not to sin.
  • Christians believe that Yeshua is God. One and the same.
  • Christians believe that Yeshua died to satisfy the price, or “wrath” of sin.
  • God’s wrath…?
  • In other words, God created the penalty for sin, then became the subject of the wrath of sin, in order to save us from… God???
  • God saved us from God.

God saved us from God? That makes absolutely no sense. Something is very clearly and horribly wrong with this theology. While it appears to make sense on the surface, you need only to walk a few steps down the Rabbit Trail of Logic to realize that this cannot be good theology.
So what other options are there?

 Why Jesus Died on the Cross… according to Trig

 1 Peter 2

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

“Trig,” you say, puzzled, “that sure sounds like Penal Substitutionary Atonement.”

It does, yes. But the key to a true and healthy understanding of the Crucifixion is to understand the nature of where “wrath” and “judgement” for sin actually comes from.

Not from God! I assure you of that.

Tell me, my beloved brothers and sisters, where do you see wrath and judgement coming from in this world? What is the source? A voice in the sky? An angel? Lightning bolts and plagues striking down sinners?

No. None of those.

No, the reality is, the source of all wrath, all judgement, all penalty for sin in this world, this life, is… us. Humanity. All of us.

So, yes, Yeshua’s bloody and violent death upon the cross was an offering of blood to appease someone’s wrath… ours. When you watch Mel Gibson’s gory interpretation of the Passion, it should be enough for any soul, even the darkest among us, to see such pain and suffering. We should never want to see more, ever.

Are you satisfied?

If atonement theology were taught correctly we would all be satisfied with that. Our blood-lust, our desire for retribution, our need for vengeance and violent justice… all would be satiated if we could bare our souls to the reality of what all this was for.

This violence was for our sake. To satisfy our own wrath for each other. So wake us up to our violent tendencies and nature, and to give us an example…

An example of how to live.

And example of how to love.

An example of the true price of love.

An example of how to endure.

An example of how to truly win.

Now all that is left is to follow. No, no… that does not mean for you to worship at the foot of his corpse; we must finally leave Calvary and never look back.

Yeshua isn’t there anymore. He left Calvary a long, long time ago. He’s waiting for us back in this world. Waiting for us to act in his name (in honor of him), in love, for the sake of others and the world.

Is it accomplished?

John 19

When he had received the drink, Yeshua said, “It is accomplished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Yes, in fact, Yeshua died to pay the price of sin.

But did it work? Are you satisfied? Is wrath abated in your heart? Has love come to live within your temple?

I hope it will, and soon, for all of us.

Let go of the hate. Let go of the fear. Let Yeshua’s life and ministry fill you and inform you… let him change you, as he was changed.

Start to live, really live, as he lived, for the sake of the world.

1 John 4

9. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

God did not save us from God.

God saved us from… ourselves.

Trig Bundgaard About Trig Bundgaard

Thanks for reading. I would love to hear your feedback, thoughts and ideas about what I've written. Especially if it's contrary to my views!

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Grace and peace to you!

Romans 5
"18. Therefore just as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man's act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all.
19. For just as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous."

Comments

  1. I like this site, it has a lot good view points on it I find refreshing to say the least. However, I have a few questions then: question one being, what was the real point of the the death of Yeshua? You said in your article it was to take upon our wrath, but if our wrath is not appeased, then what was the purpose of the death? You seem to conclude that we are still in wrath and I assume must read scripture and understand Christ to come to a place where that is absolved. That makes sense and the verse “there is no greater love than for one to lay down his life for his friends” rings a bell (John 15:13). But there is much more symbolism I feel you are not addressing which leads me into my second question, are you sure this is not propitiation? Now I know no Greek, so forgive me if there is meaning I cannot find. But what about 2 Cornithians 5:21 “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Or Romans 3:25 ” whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in forbearance of God He passed over sins previously committed.” Or Romans 5:9 “Much more then, having been justified by His blood we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” There are more verses I could dig up, but I am in hurry at the moment. Now those sound like propitiation to me, very strongly. I politely ask for your feedback as to how you would interpret those.

    On top of these, this is how I always saw the NT, in context with the sacrifices of the OT. The law was given, and along with this, offering and sacrifices for sin, guilt, etc. These sacrifices were for Israel for although they were given the law, God knew they could not keep the law and thus they made sacrifices for their transgressions through the high priest. Now God had promised Israel a new covenant in the future, one where he would write his laws on their hearts, and this covenant was carried out by blood as were all the covenants (Abraham with circumcision, Mosaic with animal sacrifices). In this new covenant, with it’s Blood, God didn’t nullify ANY of the old covenants: Abraham and his seed were to inherit the earth and become and numerous as the stars, and the law required for Israel sacrifices for God to bless them under the law. The author of Hebrews in 12-15 said He died as a ransom, and refers back to the blood of goats under the law, sacrificed for sin offerings, guilt offerings, etc. Yeshua said He came to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17), and thus He did as a permanent sacrifice.

    And then how do you interpret the foreshadowing and all the metaphors of this? What of Abraham offering Issac, His son of the promise? What do you make of the temple veil being torn? (Through which only the high priest could go to offer) What do you make of Yeshua constantly being referred to as the Lamb, a sacrificial animal?

    Again, I politely ask for a response on your take on these verses, and my interpretation. From my reading it appears clear to me Yeshua is referred to as both the sacrifice and the new high priest (chapter 5 in Hebrews) or in other terms, the offering and now the offerer, both referring to ceremonial sacrifices as listed in Leviticus and Numbers.

    God Bless,

    -Jordan

    • My, Jordan, thank you so much for this incredibly well written and though out comment! Holy cow, this is a lot to chew on!

      I am not going to argue that you are somehow incorrect and that the bible isn’t covered in references to assuaging the wrath of an angry god. It does. A lot.

      But that is a primitive understanding of what a loving God really is. Remember, most of the authors (and pseudo-authors) whom you just referenced in those passages didn’t have a personal experience of the living, breathing Yeshua. So their understanding was a bit… diluted, shall we say?

      Never once did Yeshua say the “wrath” of Father God had to be satisfied. Never once did this theology of propitiation cross from his lips.

      Therefore, if he didn’t say it, it can’t be the central theology we should cling to.

      But what he did speak about (and often) was the end of the old, primitive fear-based religions of man, and the dawning of the new love-based religions of man. It is because of this that I think the use of “propitiation” language today is a travesty. In the character of Yeshua, we saw the true nature of God. He did not demand sacrifice in exchange for his love. No declarations of faith were required for his aid. He simply loved all people.

      Also, you say that Yeshua didn’t “nullify” the older covenants. No not “nullify”, but “to complete”. That is the meaning of the word “fulfill”: to complete.

      There is a huge difference in meaning between the two:

      Say a marathon is run, and at the end the judges declare the race “nullified”. Well, then nothing that happened up to that points matters, nor counts for anything. That is not the meaning of the word, “plerosai” that Yeshua used. If we say, then, that the marathon is “completed”, it means that the results are legitimate and accepted, and that everything that came between the start and the end counts. It matters. And most importantly, it is over. No need to run anymore, it’s over.

      Now, I will admit this much: you are right. A faithful reading of the bible implies that God saved us from God.

      But that is simply not a theology I accept. The authors of the bible were wrong about the basic nature of God. They ignored the life and teachings of Yeshua to insert more of the same, tired, primitive volcano God theology they knew from their own theology.

      At some point, if you know that God is a loving God, true to the character displayed by Yeshua the Anointed, you have to choose to walk away from certain “tenets” of the faith.

      If you cannot walk away from the concept of a wrathful God, Jordan (and I don’t know if you do need a wrathful God), then I suppose the question I have for you is:

      Why? Why do you need there to be a wrathful God in order for your theology to be of value to you?

  2. a snuff film? You do know that the violence in the movie was simulated, right? That’s kind of a crucial point.

  3. Ruckrover says:

    Love what you write Trig.
    The authors of the 66 books (up to 80 with apocrypha) of the bible were inspired yet also constrained by their intellect, culture, the cosmology, “science” and theological backgrounds, let alone their own personalities. Then there is the editing and translating processes and the voting by church councils on what should be in the canon of scripture.
    Jesus was/is the incarnate Logos, He is the Word of God. The bible is words about God. It is the overall thrust of scripture understood in its context that matters

  4. Ruckrover says:

    Their should be a , or . or “by God” after “inspired” in my previous comment.
    But any rational, thoughtful and loving reading of scripture leads to a realisation of how constrained this divine inspiration is.

  5. Ruckrover says:

    There should be a , or . or “by God” after “inspired” in my previous comment.
    But any rational, thoughtful and loving reading of scripture leads to a realisation of how constrained this divine inspiration is.

    Today they’re are 1,000s of accounts of near death experiences. These are also often sources of divine knowledge, yet again culture, intellect, preconceived notions, time in the nde state etc influence the details of these glimpses beyond the veil. However the deepest most profound ndes give highly similar accounts on the nature of God – there is no “wrath” in the biblical sense, but infinite love, albeit tough love where needed, hellish realms exist but are for learning as is everything in our lives and eternal journeys through many realms and lifetimes. In the fullness of time Gods love has ALL in Gods loving hands.

  6. YOu’re doing the right thing–correcting the distortions. You don’t really have Jesus talking atonement much and of course Paul wasn’t Jesus. My appreciation and understanding of the Bible has been greatly enhanced by kooky channeled stuff like A Course in Miracles and The Urantia Book. Here’s their take on the crucifixion—I especially like paper 188:4–The Meaning Of The Death On The Cross.
    http://www.urantia.org/urantia-book-standardized/paper-188-time-tomb

  7. The Bible is the book I read and that is not in there. There are TWO fathers, God the Father and satan, father of lies. He is the father of this world system. You are either born of one OR the other. Not both. You belong to one or the other, not both. ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God. KJV
    Jesus did not die to save us from ourselves. Not scriptural, Just bc you typed that does not make it true. Way of course. He died to RESTORE THE SEPARATION FROM THE FATHER THAT WAS CREATED BY ADAMS DISOBEDIENCE(SIN) In the Garden of Eden. ALL humans born from Adam were now born into sin, rather than into the family of God like God intended when He created Adam for companionship.
    Jesus became the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON of God, the second Adam, the new adam( google search that new adam thing) and when He came to the earth in teh flesh, in the spirit HE BECAME THE DOOR BACK TO THE FATHER,
    When you accept / acknowledge Christ in the natural realm by beleiving in your heart and confessing with your mouth, in the spirit you STEP back through that door that was closed bc of Adams sin. and you are now able to commune , talk and understand things of the spirit. While on hte other side of that door, its difficult to understand things of the spirit-I Cor 2:14
    But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
    So it was NOT To save us from ourselves. It was to SAVE US From eternal separation from our Father.
    Sin separates us. God cannot be lined up with sin, its impossible, He cannot be around it, He is pure and holy and just and sin flees from Him. Darkness flees from light. Its just the way it is.

  8. I surrendered my life to Christ 13 years ago after 30 years of searching for Truth after leaving the Methodist Church at age 16. I tried to believe the more traditional beliefs of the loving Jesus followers who inspired me to give my life to Christ, but I never could fully accept the idea of people who did not believe a certain way going to hell. Recently I came to California for the summer and most of the folks I meet are not Christians. I found myself telling them things such as what you are sharing on this website. I quoted scriptures that supported my claims, and I felt really happy-like I was a missionary.

    Then I decided to look up Christian Universalism. I realized that I had been afraid to even research the topic because of all the attacks on Rob Bell. Even though I normally am very open–I wonder–why was I afraid to even look at both sides? The power of peer pressure! Coming to this site is so refreshingly wondrous. The truth stands out so clearly.

    I shared with my little congregation about how I have grown in my understanding of scriptures, embracing beliefs such as reincarnation, homosexuality is not a sin, and gay marriage is just fine. All of these things I could back up with articles based on scriptural evidence. People told me they still loved me no matter what I believe.

    I think this belief in Christian Universalism may test them even further–but I might find some who want to learn more.

    Thanks for sharing in such a winsome, loving, logical, educated way the truths that you expound. I feel happy because I have a need for someone like you who is a pioneer in this belief system. I hope that many will find your site and be inspired and motivated to follow the Jesus who does not threaten us with fear if we do not believe.

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