Ask Ivor

Jesse asks: "Why was Christ necessary for God's plan?"

Okay, imagine you're God. For some reason or another, you decide to create humans. Should you give them free will, or not? Both choices have disadvantages: with free will, the little critters might turn against you; without it, they're boring puppets, and probably don't fulfill your need to have them be in your "own image," whatever exactly that means. You go with free will.

Next, you give your creatures immortality. But, since you've given them free will, and since it would be a pain in the beatitude to have any rebels hanging around your universe forever, or something like that, you make the rule that their immortality is conditional: you give humans a set of ethical standards—all of which basically boil down to a prohibition against selfishness—and the consequence of ethical inadequacy shall be an automatic loss of immortality.

Well, right from the start, your little creations prove unable to rise above selfishness. They steal, they lie, they kill, they think they can get along without you.

Now and then you grab their attention: you talk to them directly, or you raise up spokespersons among them; you send calamities, you send blessings, you perform mighty works. None of this has any lasting effect.

Even those humans who want, with their whole heart, to be unselfish, are powerless to achieve this. Humans just don't have what it takes. Something more is needed.

So now you're stuck: you want the little nippers to enjoy eternal life, and all the fringe benefits that go with that, but, by God, a rule's a rule. They're ethically inadequate, so the price has to be paid; immortality has to be forfeited. You can't just go giving them blanket amnesty; it doesn't work that way.

Of course, being God, you knew all along that humans would prove incapable of being unselfish, and you had a solution to this dilemma from the beginning. The only reason you waited thousands of years to enact it is because humanity needed all that history, all that time, to fully understand things: their own nature, their shortcomings, and your nature: a God who is both strict and loving; just and merciful.

So, basically, what you do is pay the required penalty for them: you squeeze yourself down into human form—well, not all of yourself, but part of yourself—and you live as a human for about three decades, explaining things to your creations, and then you wind things up by getting yourself executed, during which event you take upon yourself the guilt of all the humans (including those who have already died, and those who have not yet been born).

During your time as a human, you were the first ever to live entirely unselfishly, so there's no penalty that needed to be paid on your own account, but taking on the guilt of the whole world quite literally turns you, as the willing scapegoat, into the biggest sinner of all: you actually become the greatest thief, liar, murderer, and idolater of all time. This separates you from God (yourself), and your soul is ripped apart. The spiritual agony you experience cannot even be imagined by a human mind.

The price you are paying, as a human, in order to save humanity, is a price only God could possibly pay, yet God can only do it by becoming human, and dying. And that's exactly what you do: you suffer death, in order to give your people life. And not just one death, but billions and billions of deaths, all at once....