⇦ Part 1
“If God wanted to forgive our sins, why not just forgive them, without having himself tortured and executed in payment...? Who was God trying to impress? Presumably himself—judge and jury as well as execution victim.”
– Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, page 287
Could God forgive sins “without having himself tortured and executed”?
Four people came, carrying a paralyzed man. Since they could not get to Jesus because of the crowd, they dug a hole in the roof right above where he was speaking. When they got through, they lowered the mat with the paralyzed man on it. When Jesus saw the faith of these people, he said to the paralyzed man,
Jesus said, ‘Two people owed money to the same banker. One owed five hundred coins and the other owed fifty. They had no money to pay what they owed, but the banker told both of them they did not have to pay him. Which person will love the banker more?’
If the person cannot afford two doves or two pigeons, he must bring about two quarts of fine flour as an offering for sin. He must not put oil or incense on the flour, because it is a sin offering. He must bring the flour to the priest. The priest will take a handful of the flour as a memorial offering and burn it on the altar on top of the offerings made by fire to the Lord; it is a sin offering. In this way the priest will remove the person’s sins so he will belong to the Lord,
Happy is the person
Then the Lord appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, ‘I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself to be a Temple for sacrifices. I may stop the sky from sending rain. I may command the locusts to destroy the land. I may send sicknesses to my people. Then if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, if they will pray and seek me and stop their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven. I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land.’
The wicked should stop doing wrong,
The Lord says, ‘Israel, what should I do with you?
As I reflect on these demonstrations of God forgiving people, I am humbled and encouraged.
I am humbled because I recall my sins and God's forgiveness. I am humbled in giving an answer to a cynical question, because a heap of other questions arises.
If a good question is one that produces other questions, then, “why not just forgive?” is a good question.
I am encouraged because—based on a few centuries of believer's experience and my own prodigal repentance—whatever my comprehension, God exists and God's forgiveness happens. I am relieved that God's forgiveness is not boxed in by my pet theories of how it works. Indeed, around a dozen other blind men have visited this elephant, each reporting how God's forgiveness works.
I need to reflect. Whenever I consider God's ways for a while, I inevitably need a Selah. That musical direction occurs in the above Psalm of David and several other poems. Selah means something like, insert a rest, a break, play an instrumental riff here, with the implication, “Think about it!”
The Lord shows mercy and is kind. He does not become angry quickly, and he has great love.He will not always accuse us,
At The Surge we love doing things together... that includes writing a blog! Here are a few of our main contributing authors:
Our fearless leader, Dwaine is the lead pastor at The Surge. His experience in counter terrorism with the CIA prepared him for ministry and he likes dogs and babies even more than E does.
E (short for Eric Reiss) is the Wingman at The Surge and likes dogs, music, Mexican food, his wife Karen and his little girl Evangeline... not necessarily in that order.