Theological Conference 1 – The Sacrifice of the Son of God

Click here to listen to The Sacrifice of the Son of God as delivered by Alex Hall, Apr 27, 2008 in Atlanta Georgia. Commentary by John Obelenus

In the introduction Alex brings up a good point about assumptions and how they guide how we assimilate information into our pre-existing belief structure.

Next he brings a strong counterpoint to the common belief that Jesus had to be God to die for our sins. Based on a survey of the New Testament, it is in fact Jesus’ humanity that was a necessity for forgiveness, not any divinity.

The Gnostic dualism of matter vs spirit influenced the doctrine of the Person of Jesus needing to be God. God, that is spirit, which is good, must be present to “save” the flesh, matter, which is bad. Only by God becoming Jesus (not Jesus being God) was anything accomplished.

Instead the Biblical picture is a good creation which has “been subjected to futility”. In which a “damaged relationship between humanity and God” has occurred. Then, to “save” means to fundamentally solve this relational problem.

Alex adds a nice comment on Rom 5.15 saying: “Adam was not divine though he had divine parentage being a direct creation of God. Why shouldn’t the same conclusion be sufficient to qualify Jesus?”

Even the wonderful picture of a victorious resurrection of God’s suffering messenger is marred by a God-man picture. Rather than Jesus being rewarded for his innocence and obedience, the resurrection now only means that he could not have died, as a result of his divinity. It isn’t a miracle, nor victorious, just an attribute of his being – an inability to die.

Alex reminds us that Adam Christology is the foundational marker for understanding Jesus’ identity. Jesus succeeds in the garden where Adam failed in the garden. Only because of Jesus’ success is he resurrected, and empowered as the Son of God, on the throne.

He goes deep into the comparison of a spirit-filled human with a God-filled body. In each case, what is left on the cross? A human, or a body. The narrative seems to tell us that a human was left on the cross, not just a body. In the case of a God-filled body, the God part did not die for sin, it does not die, it did not die, only the unimportant body was left. Not the identity of the actual person died, the part that lived on in eternity past. Just a body thirty years used. This is exactly what Hippolytus, an early church father stated.

“Only a ‘merely’ human Jesus could give up everything he is, completely offering his whole self, pouring out his soul to death. Only for him could that surrender be a genuine step of faith, into the unknown, as opposed to the return to a prior state of existence in a far better place than the troubled streets of an occupied land”

“… the continuing insistence that Jesus had to be God in order to do this is incompatible with the framework provided for us by the New Testament and does violence to its fabric.”


One response to this post.

  1. I thought that Alex’s points about Adam were excellent. I took note of his thought on Romans 5 and your note here John was what stood out to me as well. Adam was the supernaturally created son of God and so was Jesus – he is able to fill the role of the second Adam who reverses the curses. He doesn’t “have to be” more than that to be able to atone.

    Thanks for sharing this.


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