Why Blood Atonement Theology Weakens God

Why Blood Atonement Theology Weakens God November 16, 2012

I wrote a piece about communion recently, called “What Does Communion Mean Without Atonement?” which has gotten a lot of attention, both good and critical. That doesn’t surprise me, of course, but it’s such a core element of the Christian faith that I felt it was worth revisiting in some more depth. So below are a few reasons in particular that I don’t ascribe to the idea that Jesus died for the sins of humanity. I understand why many do, and personally I’m OK with them feeling this way. But this theological concept was one of the core factors in my decision to walk away from Christianity for ten years as a teenager. Some of the questions that arose for me were:

Can God really create humanity in such a way that there is something in their nature even God cannot tolerate?

If sin was such a big problem that even God could not bear to be in its presence, why give humanity free will in the first place, assuming you believe we have free will at all? And if you believe that life has no real meaning without free will, why create humanity to begin with if we were destined to fail?

What is it about the shedding of innocent blood that makes anything better? This seems to go against everything the Bible points toward, such as mercy, love, compassion and peace. Was it really more a matter of “just this once and never again?” Is God so weak or inherently flawed that God actually needed this in order to offer forgiveness to humanity?

This leads me to the first reason I don’t embrace blood atonement:

Jesus forgave sin while he was still alive. When he forgave sin, he didn’t say it would be forgiven some time in the future after his death and resurrection. He said “your sins are forgiven.” sounds like present-tense to me. So if he could forgive sin without dying, why did he have to die at all? Is it a matter of volume? I’ve heard the argument that God cannot tolerate human sin, and yet these same people tend to believe Jesus was “God with skin on.” He dealt with sin head-on, so what changed? Was crucifixion a sort of express route to plenary forgiveness, since Jesus could not get around to each person throughout history to forgive them? Do we really see God as so weak and incapable of dealing with God’s own creation?

God called for an end to human sacrifice well before Jesus. The story of Abraham is interpreted in many ways, including the idea that God was testing Abraham’s faithfulness. Another perspective, however, is that this was a message to non-Jews of that era who still practiced human sacrifice that such offerings were not necessary. What was required, rather was that Abraham showed he was faithful by being obedient, rather than by shedding his son’s blood. Also, the story ends with a proclamation from God to Abraham that, “…through your offspringall nations on earth will be blessed.” But if we were already blessed (all nations) by God, what about the curse of sin? Isn’t God’s blessing sufficient?

The Gospel claims that violence does not redeem. The ancient tribal laws of the Old Testament justified sevenfold retribution as a fitting form of justice. So if you stole one of my sheep, I could take seven of yours. You kill my servant, I kill seven of yours. But clearly this leads to a spiral of escalation that can potentially have no end. So then came the law, “an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.” Though some might see this as condoning violence on first blush, it was actually a limitation of the “avenge sevenfold” law that preceded it.

Then comes Jesus, who takes this process one step further; some might say he perfected it, or fulfilled the intent of the law to its completion. He commanded us to repay violence with peace, to make ourselves vulnerable by clinging to love in spite of fear. And he lived this out to the very end, just as he did with all of his other teaching.  So as so, I see his crucifixion as the inevitable consequence of a flawed, violent humanity faced with an indomitable, perfect love. But just because such an outcome was inevitable doesn’t mean it was required by God. Jesus called for the end of such violence from his faithful, and in doing so, he placed first and foremost the sovereignty of love. Not just after he died, but during his lifetime.

It is because of this love that he was able to forgive sin, in scripture for individuals and for all time and all creation. Love endures. Love is greater. Yes, Jesus died because of our sinfulness, not for our sins, given this understanding. He was the very model of obedient, persistent, selfless love he wanted for the entire world. And the only way he could truly share it was by living it out completely, regardless of the cost.


It’s understandable why we continue to wrestle with this idea. First of all, it’s in the culture of our faith, as well as in the pagan traditions surrounding it. For millennia, we understood God to be one that required such sacrifice for satisfaction. But this reduces God to being no better than us, really, requiring that WE do something to make things right, and that takes the power of forgiveness out of God’s hands. It actually weakens God.

In this respect, I actually lean toward my Calvinist brothers more (yes, really), because they do not believe God requires ANYTHING from us in order to be God. Not that any of us can know in this life, but I’m going to put my money on the fact that there’s nothing I can do to help God be God, including participating in some kind of necessary sacrifice to satisfy a God that needs something from me. But it was Jesus that God required something of, not us, you may argue. Yes, but without humanity’s complicity in the “passion play,’ there is no crucifixion. In the larger dynamic of story, there is no story without an antagonist. So to believe Jesus had to be crucified for us to be forgiven means that, had we not killed Jesus, God could not have saved us.

To me, this seems to be a more bold position to take than suggesting Jesus died for a reason other than for the forgiveness of sin.

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  • An Ignorant Student

    Sorry if you’ve addressed this in previous replies, but I think that by taking this approach, you underestimate the significance of the Passover. Having blood on the door is very significant amongst the conditions that God details. The typology of the passage in Exodus is significant – we need Jesus’ blood, however gory that sounds!

    • An Ignorant Student

      3 uses of “significant” in 3 sentences, I’m clearly not on form…

    • I understand why we as humans do such things, but I don’t think God requires or needs it. God is bigger/greater/more sovereign than that in my understanding.

      • Tony

        But we didn’t ‘do’ it. God did not demand a sacrifice from us, and we did not give one. Instead, He gave one so that we wouldn’t have to; indeed, no sacrifice we could give would be good enough.

    • Paul D.

      The Passover blood was an apotropaic sacrifice — one to ward off evil or misfortune — and not a sacrifice of atonement.

  • Marcus

    Are you familiar with Rene Girard’s analysis of the scapegoat in the Gospel and human culture? Very helpful on this stuff, and critical to my faith journey towards Jesus’ cross. Girard shows how the violence that Jesus absorbs is ours, not God’s.

    Check out this podcast: http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/episodes/2011/02/28/the-scapgoat-rene-girards-anthropology-of-violence-and-religion/

    or “Violence Unveiled: Humanity at the Crossroads” by Gil Bailie – a layperson’s synthesis of Girard’s thought (Girard is brilliant, but not all that readable.)

    • I was going to mention Girard as well, but you jumped the gun, Marcus… 😀

  • Brandon

    how Jesus forgave sins when he was still alive, it was because he was
    going to pay for it soon. Romans 3:25 talks about how Jesus’ sacrifice
    was a propitiation to pass over former sins. This explains how David was
    forgiven for what he did with Bathsheba and how Abraham’s faith in the
    coming Christ was counted to him as righteousness.

    Abraham’s almost sacrifice for Isaac as a preview of the cross, it’s
    simple that in God’s promise to bless the world with Israel, the way
    that Abraham would be a blessing to all nations was because Christ was
    going to come from there, and he would first save people there through
    his apostles who would then go to Gentiles. That was how God would bless
    the world with Abram.

    Jesus’ inevitable death for preaching love, we must first remember that
    that wasn’t what he was condemned for in the first place. It was for
    supposed blasphemy that he was God’s Son. His crucifixion was inevitable
    because God was sovereign over how evil would play out to condemn him.
    He doesn’t tempt evil, but he has it on a leash. So the crucifixion was
    going to happen either way. Otherwise, God is not sovereign, and He’s
    not God. Also think of the way God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Pharaoh
    thought he was divine, so for another person to tell him there was
    “another” God would be a huge challenge to his ego, and he would build
    up his defenses, even when plagues came. Likewise, Jesus as God
    challenged and convicted the Pharisees’ pride in a way that they got
    defensive, accused him of blasphemy, and they used trumped up charges to
    get him crucified. The reason he showed mercy and taught not to
    retaliate was really because he was going to take sin to the cross.
    Since the sin was already being paid for, there would be no need to

    order to get to his first question about why we are as crooked as we
    are, I would say it goes back to the Fall. I don’t know why the Fall
    happened other than the fact that Adam and Eve chose to rebel when they
    were tempted. With sin in the world, the way that God, being just in
    nature, would have to respond with justice. If God had just forgiven sin
    without condemning it is no longer just. Therefore, the only way for
    God to get rid of sin is to get rid of sinners or for God to condemn His
    Son so that sinners like us could be reconciled. Because of the cross
    that condemned forgive past, present, and future sins, people can now be
    reconciled by faith. And this mercy is in a way that does not
    compromise justice, unlike other religions like Islam.

    think ultimately all of those objections are along the lines of “I
    don’t believe this because I don’t like it” or “my faith is hinged on my
    ability to understand this.” They are legitimate questions that we
    should seek answers for, but illegitimate reasons to walk away from the
    a few seconds ago · Like

    • JenellYB

      And all that really makes sense to you?

  • Juli

    Beautiful! Jesus brought love to a violent world to show us a new way to be human.

  • mark phillips

    I don’t mind your observations about why you believe a blood atonement weakens God. But, unfortunately, I find your article fairly weak because it does not wrestle at all with any of the passages that, at the very least, suggest that there is a direct connection between the cross and forgiveness. I don’t give a damn what the culture of my faith is, but it deeply matters to me what Scriptures speaks. So, maybe a second article dealing with those passages?

    • Dan T.

      This is also my thought – that I’d like to see you address some of the relevant scriptures; because, in part, I agree, and yet I can’t understand the alternatives to the mainline view. I like the Christus Victor idea of atonement, but does that mean there is no sense in which Christ is a substitution? I think there is, but I feel like it becomes a big excuse for continuing in sin. Rom 6:22 gives the idea that the purpose was to free us from sin, but we will still be accountable for whether we used that freedom to submit ourselves to God or not.

      I keep hearing Christians teach that God is so holy that He can’t forgive without punishing, and I find that sort of offensive, as if God is bound by some law, rather than free to forgive or to hold accountable & punish. In the parable of the unmerciful servant, we see a God who is free to renounce the forgiveness he initially offered, not one who is bound to forgive because the price was paid. But then what about Heb 9:22 (without blood there is no remission of sins)? I’m not sure how to understand that.

      And the substitution idea is suggested in verses like 2 Cor 5:21 (Jesus became sin for us). How do you understand that?

  • Who was Jesus? A prophet? A con man? Someone with a psychological problem? Just a nice person? A hippie? The same as Buddha? Any possibility the he was God incarnate? I’m not trying to be a smart ass but have you read Matthew, Mark, Luke or John in a while? Why did Jesus die and die a death on the cross? What about his resurrection? What about his disciples? What have so many since died for? Do you consider yourself a Christian? If you do, what do you base it on? This just sounds like water down and secularized false Christianity. That is my own humble opinion. I am not here to judge. I have no right to judge. I say these things to maybe get you to think about your beliefs. Challenge your beliefs. If you feel certain enough and can defend them, then it’s your choice. We’ll see in the end. Could be you’re right and I’m wrong. But there are too many scriptures and people’s lives changes, Some drastically. Just my 2 cents.

    • ChrisB.

      The most common understanding of the death on the cross for the first few hundred years of the Christian movement was the moral theory of atonement. In short “love wins.” Even in the face of an oppressive empire, love wins.

      We often act as if the narrative around the Gospels was settled on the Monday after the first Easter, but that’s not the case.

      The death on the cross is a victory over evil, but not as a blood sacrifice, but as a refusal to participate in the unholy power struggles of the world.

      That’s my take anyway.

  • Tony

    Personally, I think that somehow the Fall was necessary in order to make salvation complete. I don’t pretend to understand this fully, and I have difficulty communicating it because of this, but I believe that somehow our salvation is made complete because of the Fall and all the consequent suffering of humanity. In short, because Adam ate from the fruit of the tree (whatever that means, and however it represents a real event – or not) we now do have that ‘knowledge’; the rest of history since then has been Mankind’s learning how to live with that knowledge. The knowledge of good and evil was not because of eating the fruit; that was just a symbol really – the thing is that because of whatever happened in the Garden (whatever that was) we learned of good and evil, probably because of the death and suffering it brought. The knowledge of good and evil was actually gained in a very intimate way, by the people involved actually becoming a part of it.

    Now, the sacrifice of Jesus renders the Fall ineffective – or will do once the story of salvation is complete – and we will then have the knowledge of good and evil but without its damaging effects; without having to be damaged by that knowledge. In a very real sense, just as all die in Adam, so all will live in Christ. His sacrifice was not just to atone, but somehow to bind us up into Him in the same way as we were bound up into Adam. There is so much more to the Cross than simply atonement; there is also that we died with Him, that sin was crucified, that we need to take up our cross personally, and that of course if He had not died then there would have been no resurrection. Naturally this is not an exhaustive list.

    The experience of good and evil is necessary as part of our training to rule with Him. In a way, if God wants us to be ‘like Him’, then this is knowledge we have to have. And somehow, the blood and the sacrifice are necessary for this to work – but I don’t understand exactly how. I know that part of our human nature is to be inquisitive, and God doesn’t mind that one bit – he made us that way. And so many of our theories and ideas will be shown to be wrong, but equally many will be correct too. But the fact that we don’t understand does not mean that we will never understand.

    One day we *will* understand fully – I look forward to that day – and we will be able to join those who say ‘Great and marvellous are Thy works, O Lord God Almighty, just and true are Your ways’. The people quoted in that Bible passage are those who are looking back on history and seeing how it all makes sense. That’s why the’yre saying those things. Because then it *will* all make sense, and I suspect that something like what I have described will be a part of the ‘explanations’ in those days.

  • David A. Powers

    A rather different interpretation can be made if you are willing to explore Jewish theology and not limit yourself to Christian theology. I view incarnation from a panentheist perspective–we ourselves are all part of God, and we are each incarnating divinity (the Logos) into a world that is “fallen” into duality, which is a state wherein we are ignorant of our divine origins.

    From this perspective, God does need something from us; for it is WE OURSELVES, together, who bring the messianic redemption to this planet. This is the sense in which we are “the body of Christ”, we are literally carrying out the work of the Christ on this planet. The Kabbalists call this work Tikkun olam, “healing and restoring the world”.

  • diego silang

    I can live with the way you have framed your arguments. What was important to me was that you didn’t attempt to overcome me. So I read with an attempt to personally empathize with your thoughts. You questioned the conventional suppositions but you didn’t tell them “the hell with you all.” The truth is this faith in God through Jesus Christ is so damn ambiguous and unpredictable. Just look at the mishmash of followers this Christ-faith is attracting. So, within that context, I am putting the “burden of proof” in the conventions of my faith and weighing these conventions against your suppositions. Let’s see where I end up …

  • ‘Oh God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son”
    Abe says, “Man, you must be puttin’ me on”
    God say, “No.” Abe say, “What?”
    God say, “You can do what you want Abe, but
    The next time you see me comin’ you better run”
    Well Abe says, “Where do you want this killin’ done?”
    God says, “Out on Highway 61”

    Read more: http://www.bobdylan.com/us/songs/highway-61-revisited#ixzz2EisRq1Ic

    Next shall we discuss the cannibalism of the Eucharist?

  • “Come, come whoever you are, wanderer, wayfarer, even though you have broken your vows a hundred times, come.” -Rumi

    I really appreciated your piece and the questions you are courageous enough to be asking.

    Here is perhaps something to further stir the pot…

    What if “Christ died for our sins” actually means that by his death, we have been given a mirror to hold up to ourselves of the cruelty we are capable of visiting upon even the most beautiful and holy among us, of our own, human capacity for ignorance and destruction. What if Christ’s death upon the cross, a King flayed alive and executed in the most public of humiliating ways as a common criminal, is a call for humanity to awaken to thoughtfulness, insight and compassion? What if the sins Christ died for were the sins he died to show us in ourselves?

    It seems to me that God is Infinite Forgiveness, that Christ embodied that Infinite Forgiveness and that His suffering and ultimately Divine Self-Sacrifice will have been far less in vain if we can start looking in a sensible direction to glean the lessons from it.

  • Dedangelo

    I love how people worry about God forgiving their sins, yet never consider apologizing to those they’ve actually harmed. God is God. I can’t offend God. Forgiveness is a human trait, as is making amends. More of us should employ it.

  • Clark Williamson;

    I like what you say and have made a similar case myself, in print (old-fashioned pages in a journal) and theology classes. But one little point: while Jesus did obviously announce that people’s sins were forgiven during his ministry, he didn’t say “I forgive you….” He used what scholars call “the divine passive,” e.g., “your sins are forgiven.” Use of the passive voice was one way that pious Jews avoided using the name of God. Jesus is, in all such passages, depicted as a pious, i.e., faithful Jew. He knew, in other words, that God is the source of all forgiveness, healing and cleansing.
    Clark Williamson

  • Renegade Gospel

    You can find the complete answers to atonement in a kindle book called Renegade Gospel The Jesus Manifold by Jamey Massengale.

    1. God is the creator completely soveriegn

    2 My sepAration from God is due to my knowledge of good and evil because i use it to judge god i.e. why do the innocent suffer etc. is an accusation in interrogative format.

    3 If God is omniscient I cant do other than what God KNEW i would do before He created me and He created me as He did; therefore God is responsible for my sin

    4 If God is responsible for my sin then God should die for my sin

    5 In Jesus God did die for my sin or Jesus as god died for all sin ( which is by the way the ultimate statement of soveriegnty, where God says in essence “I do it all” cause effect and resolution.)

    6 However Jesus the man did not sin nor was He under original sin so He didn’t deserve to die, but being God as man, now by the rule of equity, all men are equal to God, syllogism: Jesus is a man and all men are human therefore Jesus is human and Jesus is God therefore all men are in Jesus equal to God in their HUMAN/GOD rights.

    7 Therefore since only God as the “potter” had the rights of life, liberty, and property; and since Jesus transfers to all humans like Himself those rights, we don’t need a law saying by fiat “thou shalt not kill”, because all men now have the right to life; I know I violate that right if I kill a man. Thereby the law is fulfilled in right-eousness, or “the having of the rights of God”.

    That’s it in a nutshell and it explains a lot of ambiguous statements Paul makes. I haven’t quoted much scripture for brevity’s sake but I find the Jesus manifold completely supported from genesis to revelation. It affirms the homoousion, it satisfies the complete taxonomy of sin(ontologic, deontic, and relational), and it satisfies all of Abelard’s criteria: 1. it’s logical 2. It’s not arbitrary if God is omniscient, therefore actions are predestined, and love demand’s it to satisfy the human cry of injustice. 3 It’s intelligible being stated capable of syllogistic treatment in plain unambiguous language.

  • BrotherRog

    Exactly. And it is for these reasons that Progressive Christians tend to favor the exemplary or moral theory of the atonement instead of the penal or substitutionary theory.

    Roger Wolsey, author, “Kissing Fish: christianty for people who don’t like christianity”

  • Erika

    I understand the point of view in the world of why did God need a sacrifice to forgive us our sins, if He is merciful why doesn’t He just forgive? From a human perspective, if someone wrongs or hurts you in a way, what would it take for you to forgive that person? This is how we tend to see things because of who we are, but I would like to put it in a different perspective:

    We as sinners are condemned to death not because God created something that He could not tolerate or that He is vengeful toward us, we are condemned because God within His very nature cannot tolerate sin. In Exodus 33:12-21 Moses expressed that he wants to see Gods’ glory but God then explains that His presence would pass before Moses but His face cannot be seen, otherwise Moses (a sinner) would die, not because God willed that he should die, but because Gods’ glory in itself would kill Moses. God even told Moses that He would hide him in the cleft of the rock and cover it with His hand as He passed, but would remove His hand so that Moses could see only His back and not His face. If God willed that Moses should die why would He hide him as He passed?

    God is not willing that any of us should die (2 Peter 3:9), but that we should live everlasting with Him, but that is not possible in ourselves because of our sinful nature. Before the Fall Adam and Eve were created perfect in the flesh and did not need to hide themselves from God, so they could face God without dying. But because of their sin and because each of us are descendant from their fallen flesh, to face God in this sinful state would mean immediate death.

    Because Jesus died perfect(sinless) in the flesh and then overcame death when He rose again, it means for us that if we enter into Gods’ presence THROUGH Jesus Christ, death will not overtake us, for He conquered it. This is why He said that He is the way, the truth and the light and no one will come to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6) Jesus is essentially like our “covering” when we enter into Gods’ presence through Him.

  • dan sweeney

    I never could understand why Christ’s suffering, although horrific, could atone for all the sins of the world past and future. There are a number of cases in the local paper of women being tortured and killed by rapist and children being physically and mentally abused for a prolong period of time by either a parent or guardian. I think I would rather die on the cross.

  • Aaron

    Hey man,

    I think you might have thrown the baby out with the bathwater in the sense that there are other takes on atonement theology than the western one which is that “God couldn’t tolerate sin”. I would actually argue that the western view of atonement is entirely wrong, but that doesn’t mean to say that Jesus didn’t die for sins. It means that perhaps, firstly, we have misunderstood what sin is. Secondly, we have misunderstood the character of God in relation to sin. Thirdly, we have attributed things to God which never should have been attributed to him.

    The first, the misunderstanding of sin is classic – in the sense that we think that sin is, in essence, bigger than God. (ridiculous anyway). As if God would ‘not be able’ to look up on something. Nowhere in the bible does it say that this is the case. There is one verse in Habbakuk 1:13 which indicates this, it says “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong.” Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?” So… we know that God CAN look upon sin. Also, Jesus came into the world and dwelt amongst sinners. If the trinity isn’t divided, this means that God dwelt with him. So, we see that sin is not bigger than God at all. It is also something which man plunged himself into, not something God gave – it’s our own doing.

    “God is love” therefore, he would not be pouring out his wrath upon Jesus on the cross. He pours out his wrath against sinfulness, because it harms his children. If we are willing to cling onto that wrong, we might get caught up in the envelopment of it, but it’s not God punishing man. He is love.

    The third thing, attributing things to God which should never have been attributed to him is a simple one – in our misunderstandings about him, we have said he’s guilty for things he’s not guilty for. I.e. ‘making sin’ and we’ve given him the character of a ‘punisher’ rather than a loving God (which the early Christians didn’t even subscribe to).

    Here’s a link to an interesting article you might want to read, because I don’t believe you have to throw out your atonement theology to the extent that you have.


  • Vijay

    Education just gives you a puffed head with no room for God. The more wiser you think you are the more stupid you appear when you get educated in the worldly ways. Your answers are incomplete no matter how hard you try to get them through education. Where did so and so come from? No answer! What do I do next? No solution! Moreover education doesn’t teach you to walk on water. Faith does give answer to all the questions. Simpler the faith the less complex your life becomes. A child is told by his mother, that the man in her life is his father. The child’s faith is simple, he believes his mother. Bible is God’s word where is your faith? You are at the mercy of the goodness of God. Education in Jesus gives you eternal life and makes you walk on the righteous path, He chose for us to walk. Peter walked a few steps on water too, which he did in faith and when his faith faltered, he began to fall and Jesus held his hand. Did Jesus hold your hand when you faltered in faith? If your answer is no then there is still time for you. What would have happened to Peter if Jesus had not held his hand? Ask yourself what will happen to you if Jesus doesn’t hold your hand? Find Jesus from Genesis to Revelation, He’s every where.

  • Vijay

    On more thing to add to the context below is that in heaven there is just positive atmosphere and light. Hell is dark and negative. Earth is positive and negative both. When the Holy Spirit descends on you, you are transformed. Oppression, depression, violence, destruction and waste leave you. You begin seeing the positives. Your prayers are heard. Peace, happiness and satisfaction take the centre seat in your life. Have you experienced it in your life?

  • Vijay

    of sins by shedding blood of innocent animals! Was it an act of cruelty? Let’s see it in a broader perspective.

    In Genesis 4: 3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground
    an offering unto the LORD.

    4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof.
    And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

    5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

    Here Cane brought the offering of land which was cursed by God therefore Able’s offering was accepted.

    This curse of the land was taken away Mathews 15: 17 And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head,

    Here he took the curse away on His head by the crown of thorns. Purple is symbolic of Glory.

    The animals were also delivered from getting sacrificed because He took away our sins so that we may be given eternal life when we have faith and come unto Him. The Holy Spirit transforms us. The tables of law kept by Moses in the Ark of Covenant which represents Jesus was done because Jesus alone could keep the law. Jesus took away with Him the law and today we enjoy the law of liberty by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

    Genesis 3: 17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

    18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

    Blood is symbolic of life. Life for life is the principle of nature to keep balance.
    They could not have been given atonement for their sins by offerings of
    the land which was already cursed. The only thing left was Life for life therefore blood that would have washed away their sins when they kept their hands on the head of the animal and bent over it to identify themselves with it, that would be sacrificed as they had faith that God would forgive their sins for the sake of this animal that gave its life. Mark 15:15 And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified. Here we see that Barabbas was released for heinous crimes because Jesus was his Saviour and took his sin upon Himself and got crucified. He became the sacrifice for the redemption of the sins of Barabbas.

    On the cross, Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. He already gave you forgiveness being God Himself; you are not having faith enough to accept. You are negative. God is not responsible for your state. Your state is pathetic. You have been given a gift which you are failing to accept.

    Now when God knew sin would take the shape then why He created us? Simple answer is because He is positive. His kingdom does not have negatives. He went forward with His experiment and ensured it didn’t fail. He went out to the extent of sacrificing His begotten Son to save us from eternal death. Are you as positive enough or even close? There are many more mysteries that you are able to solve just by attaining Salvation.

  • Phil Berwick

    There was a curse set against us. We had basically been bonded to Lucifer, the pact was made in Eden, We (our father and mother) believed him and disobeyed their Creator God. The price on their end was death. Satan knew it and God knew it. What Satan did not know was what the Father and Son agreed would happen a few thousand years later. That Christ Jesus would pay that price, and shut the mouth of the accuser.

  • imxio

    I do not consider the “Fall” a fall at all.

    The moment Eve bit the apple and gained the knowledge of Good and Evil, she became fully human.

    It is Evolution In A Bite.

    It is a metaphor for our journey from instinctual animals to rational creatures. We gained the ability to reason abstractly and creatively. We gained self-motivation and free-will.

    It was a “Fall” from innocence, certainly, in that all animals are innocent…and free will and choice and the ability to reason permits the choice of evil. Which, unfortunately, humans have proven to be unduly fond of.

    But it was not a “Fall” from grace. Or a sin.

    Original Sin is an absurd, cruel, vicious, heinous concept.

    And any God worth his name would have nothing to do with it.

  • imxio

    Sorry…apparently I hit “publish” before I meant to.

    To conclude my point:

    Without the “Fall” the “Atonement” is not necessary.

  • Concerned Reader

    I read this article based on the title and was disappointed.

    To understand why the sacrificial offerings were given consider challenging yourselves with the following reading. I too was ignorant about the issue until very recently, so I get it.


  • Andrew J. Corrales

    If I may:

    As far as I can tell, sin defiles or makes unclean (Matthew 15:1-20) and blood makes atonement (Leviticus 17:11) because it cleanses (Leviticus 16:18-19, Hebrews 9:18-22). In the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34, Hebrews 8:1-13), it is Christ’s blood that cleanses (1 John 1:7,9, Hebrews 9:11-15).

    It is also true that sin enslaves (John 8:34, Romans 6:16), and Christ’s blood ransoms us from sin (Revelation 5:9)–and the word ransom is used because the word came from a shortened form of the word redemption, which originally meant “purchased back” (source: dictionary.reference.com).

    Why this is necessary for forgiveness–well, a person enslaved to sin must obey his master (Romans 6:16), and you cannot be forgiven of a sinful behavior you’re still committing it, or of a sinful lifestyle you’re living (Isaiah 59:1-2). Repentance is a change of mind about sin, and confession is acknowledging sin before God, but it is the blood of Christ alone that cleanses and ransoms. But once you are free you are free (John 8:36) and you have an obligation to not become a slave again (Galatians 4:8-9, 5:13-14).

    In the book Vice and Virtue (a compilation of C. S. Lewis quotes from different things he’s written) Lewis writes (pp.77-78), “That explains what always puzzled me about Christian writers; they seem to be so very strict at one moment and so very free and easy at another. They talk about mere sins of thought as if they were immensely important: and then they talk about the most frightful murders as if you had only to repent and all would be forgiven. But I have come to see that they are right. What they are always thinking of is the mark which the action leaves on that tiny central self which no one sees in this life but which each of us will have to endure–or enjoy–for ever. One man may be so placed that his anger sheds the blood of thousands, and another so placed that however angry he gets he will only be laughed at. But the little mark on the soul may be much the same in both. Each has done something to himself which, unless he repents, will make it harder for him to keep out of the rage next time he is tempted, and will make the rage worse when he does fall into it. Each of them, if he seriously turns to God, can have that twist straightened out again: each is, in the long run, doomed if he will not.”

    I must confess I have not figured out how punishment figures into this, but I must necessarily believe that it indeed does (Isaiah 53:5).

    But you see why one must be cleansed and ransomed with His blood when one is forgiven–why Blood Atonement is indispensable. Forgiveness is for people who are seriously trying to get away from sin, and the only way to get away from sin is to be ransomed and cleansed from it by the blood of Christ. If you’re not seriously trying to get away from sin, you can’t receive forgiveness, and you certainly won’t be ransomed or cleansed from that which you are deliberately enslaving yourself to and defiling yourself with.

    God bless. 🙂

    Edit: I’d meant to put this in the original comment before hitting the Comment button, but it slipped my mind: Jesus said at the first communion that His blood was to be poured out for the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, 1 Corinthians 20:25), and–this is an afterthought that occurred to me in the past few minutes–His death on the cross for sins is not only scriptural but also kind of the main point of Christianity (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45, Luke 24:45-47, John 3:14-16, John 10:11, 14-18, 12:23-32, Romans 3:25, 4:25, 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5, and I’ll stop here). God bless. 🙂

    Edit 2: Jesus died on a cross, which was a Roman form of punishment. That could be–I’m not saying it is–the explanation for the “punishment” reference in Isa 53:5. Another thing: the word translated “ransomed” could also mean “liberated.” Except for where I wrote the etymology of the word ransom, you could read over any instance of the word with any synonym of liberate.