Source of “Jesus Died For Our Sins”
“That Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures*; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” 1Cor 15:3-4 (See BTW#1 below).
There it is. The single sentence, penned by Paul around 55 AD, that is the rationale behind the most fundamental tenet of Christianity – “that Christ died for our sins”. No one else, no where else – is there any support for this assertion (See BTW#2 below).
John 3:16 claims that you will have everlasting life if you “believeth in him” but there is no requirement in John 3:16 to believe that Jesus died for our sins.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16.
We will acknowledge that the phrase “gave his only begotten Son” does imply a sacrifice; but there is no explicit indication that the sacrifice redeemed us from our sins. Regardless, John 3:16 does not mean what Christians think it does. See BTW#3 below.
How Paul Came To The Conclusion Jesus Died For Our Sins
- Being a Pharisaic Jew, Paul was well aware of legalistic practices of Judaism requiring blood sacrifice rituals.
- The offering of a sacrifice was considered an act of obedience to God. Paul used this “sacrifice” analogy to interpret Jesus’ crucifixion as an act of obedience to God to atone for the the sins of humankind. Paul wrote, “For as by one man’s (Adam’s) disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s (Jesus’) obedience many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19).
- Paul’s theory about why Jesus had to die is explained in Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome. Paul used the story of “Adam and Eve” in the Hebrew book of Genesis to explain the origin of sin and death. Here Paul demonstrates that this belief -we are saved from sin and death by Jesus’ death on the cross (his crucifixion) is totally derived from his extrapolation from Genesis “Therefore sin came into the world through one man (Adam) and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned” (Romans 5:12).
- “But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ (Jesus) died for us. Since therefore we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God” (Romans 5:8-9). The finishing touch! Paul’s explanation of the death of Jesus was in terms of a blood sacrifice to atone for Adam and Eve’s (alleged) sin.
(Guess where John got his “For God so loved the world … died for our sins” idea.)
Paul’s Context and Culture
For Paul, the whole idea of “atone for sin, salvation through faith” is derived from his pharisaic knowledge of the Old Testament and his understanding of universal religious “sacrifice” practices. Paul knew that the offering of a sacrifice was considered an act of obedience to God. Paul used this “sacrifice” analogy to interpret Jesus’ crucifixion as an act of obedience to God to atone for the the sins of humankind. Note: Paul “interpreted” – no divine revelation.
Paul had one encounter with a vision/apparition/light of Jesus and that’s all he says about his conversations with Jesus. Paul makes no claim that God/Jesus revealed this “truth” to him! . On the contrary, Paul spells out the stream of conscientious that led him to claim that Jesus died for our sins.
Evolution Refutes Paul’s Reasoning
The foundation tenet of Christianity is based on an event that didn’t happen – the “sin” of Adam and Eve. But, we are here because of Evolution.
As we now know, man, plants and animals evolved over a period of 3.5 billion years. There was no biblical Adam and Eve. There was no “original sin” to be redeemed by Jesus death. This alone is sufficient to prove that Jesus did not die for our sins.
Paul’s rationale is without foundation. His knowledge of “science” was limited to what he knew of Old Testament stories. If one acknowledges the truth of evolution, then one must also acknowledge that Paul’s conclusion, “Jesus Died For Our Sins” is based on a false, Old Testament verse and therefore cannot be true.
Think of this for a moment. One man writes one sentence based on an event (Adam & Eve) that did not happen and this misunderstanding of reality gives birth to the most fundamental tenet of the Christian church? Really?
Paul was a Pharisaic Jew. We will concede that Paul did not know about evolution when he evolved his “died for your sins” theory.
Other Evidence (Theological) That Jesus Did Not Die for Our Sins
Theological Problem I
Paul is the only person in the world to write that Jesus died to redeem us from the sin of Adam and Eve. Jesus never said that his death was to redeem us.
Is it likely that God would rely on a man whose teachings were diametrically opposite (faith vs works, Gentiles vs Jews) to those of his “Son” to pass on the most important idea in all of Christianity? Is it probable that God would let the salvation of all mankind rest on one man’s single sentence which is entirely opposite to the message Jesus presented in the synoptic gospels? Why would God, all of the sudden, change the message that He sent His only begotten Son here to promulgate? And why would he entrust this HUGE change to be disseminated by a mere mortal?
This is a BIG problem.
Theological Problem II
Using the concept of the Trinity, Jesus is God. Jesus so states in:
John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
John 10:30 I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
John 10:38 The Father is in me, and I in him. Therefore they sought again to take him.
John 14:9 He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.
God is Jesus, Jesus is God, God is eternal, God doesn’t die. God did not die, God is not dead. The earthly body of Jesus “died” but Jesus/God is not dead. Where is the “sacrifice” of his “only begotten son” if He is Him?
Theological Problem III
That line of reasoning aside, exactly how would “God sacrificing Himself to Himself to save us from Himself” work? How does that remove the sin of Adam and Eve? It is only by the convoluted thought process of Paul that we are saved because of the God/Jesus “sacrifice”. Surly a an omnipotent, omniscient, loving, merciful, just God who created everything in six days could come up with something other than killing himself/his son. How about just declaring forgiveness?
But, for the sake of argument, let’s grant that “Jesus died for our sins”. In that case, then the sin is gone. Why is it required that one has to believe in Jesus’ Resurrection in order to be saved? The sin of Adam and Eve was redeemed with Jesus’ death. It’s gone! It’s no more – ever! Once and for all. It’s off the backs of everyone who lives after Jesus’ death. What then, does believing in Jesus’ Resurrection have to do with being free from original sin? It has already been redeemed. Why are you only “saved” if you believe that Jesus was Resurrected? What does one’s belief have to do with salvation? But that’s another story.
Theological Problem IV
The “original sin” of Adam was redeemed with the flood!
“These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.”
Noah was “perfect in his generations”. “Perfect” includes having no sin, otherwise one wouldn’t be perfect. That Noah was perfect “in his generations” means that all his offspring were also perfect and therefore we are perfect, free from sin. We started over, sinless, from Noah on.
The Credibility of Paul
Because Paul’s “Jesus Died For Your Sins” theology is the centerpiece of Christian doctrine, it is incumbent to investigate Paul’s credibility. There are several reasons to doubt that Paul has any credibility whatsoever.
- Paul has no God given authority to speak. Seeing an apparition does not give one the authority to speak for God.
- At one point, Paul does claim his knowledge comes from “Revelation” but it is faulty and contradicts what Jesus taught. He does not elaborate on this “Revelation”.
- Paul contradicts himself.
- Paul makes promises of things that did not happen.
Because all of the above assertions about Paul’s credibility are developed and evidence is provided in another page – “Paul is so wrong about so much, why do you believe anything he says?, we will not repeat it here.
The conclusion reached in that page is that nothing Paul says is credible. Don’t challenge that assertion until you have read the page.
The Credibility of John
No Biblical Scholar believes that the book of John was written by the apostle John. The consensus is that John was written by a committee sometime after 90 AD. See Who Wrote The Book of John. The most unusual thing about John being the author is that he seems to appear unexpectedly from out of nowhere. No other books of the Bible contain any reference to any person called “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. You will not find this phrase outside of this author’s own gospel.
In addition EVEN IF the author of John was with Jesus, it was over 55 years prior! John would have been a senile, Alzheimer ridden 90 year old man! And yet, we are to believe that he could remember, word for word, exactly what everyone (not just Jesus – he quotes others too) said 55 years ago? That is like a 90 year old man remembering every word, every scene, every situation of a play he was in 55 years ago. Can you recite a 10,000 word tract, word for word, you read once 55 years ago? That is the equivalent of what John would have done.
What took him so long? Why did it take “John” 55 years to decide to write about the event that determines the fate of all mankind for the rest of eternity? Again, the idea that God would rely on this message from John reaching all of mankind for the rest of eternity is just too preposterous.
The book of John is not credible either.
BTW = BY THE WAY
The “scriptures” that Paul refers to are what? Paul is so anxious to tie his idea to scripture that he, without any foundation, claims that his “died for your sins” idea was prophasized in scripture. Where are the verses that prophesize that a messiah would suffer, die, and be resurrected from the dead? Where are the prophecies that are referred to in 1Cor 15:3-4?
Hosea 6:1-2 perhaps?
Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
But this verse is spoken to an audience; it refers to the people living at the time (hence “us”) and therefore cannot be fulfilled by the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is the only candidate.
A Word About Sacrifice
Sacrifice was the standard way to appease the ancient gods. Most religions required the sacrifice of animals and other valuables. A few required human sacrifice. Christianity came up with the ultimate marketing ploy: to gain access to everlasting life, you did NOT have to sacrifice your goat, you did not have to kill another human, you only had to believe that God sacrificed a human, a special human, his SON!
There it is. The concept of sacrifice all wrapped up in a tidy package and no one has to sacrifice anything because God sacrificed his son. Neat eh? No wonder Christianity spread. It was simple to implement at no cost to the believers.
There are several other reasons for the acceptance of Christianity. For Paul’s Jewish audience, Paul’s Christianity was an attractive option:
- You don’t have to circumcise yourself.
- A promise of a heavenly afterlife at no cost; all you have to do is “believe”.
- The one sacrifice means you no longer have to sacrifice your goat.
- The one sacrifice means you don’t even have to think about your own sin.
- You can ignore the unchangeable 613 mitzvot (commandments) that God gave to the Jewish people in the Torah
- You can keep all your beliefs about reincarnated Gods and blood sacrifice.
Christianity was a “low cost” option to adopt. Now don’t start telling us about all the Christians that were killed. Yes some were killed for their beliefs just like others were killed for their belief. A Jewish woman could be stoned for adultery.
No other Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke) says Christ died for our sins.
John is the only Gospel that even suggests that belief in Jesus died for our sins; that belief in the resurrection is the necessary and sufficient condition for everlasting life. On the other hand, Jesus, in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, gives at least 23 different paths to salvation. “The Path To Salvation Is Not Clear“ presents each of Jesus’ paths to salvation. Here is just one of them:
For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Matthew 16: 26-27
In the three synoptic Gospels, Jesus NEVER says or intimates that “I will be crucified so that your sins will be forgiven; I will be reincarnated in three days and if you believe all this, you will have everlasting life when you die”. Never says it!
John 3:16 is Misunderstood by Christians
John, then, is the only disciple who picks up on Paul’s iwith this well known paraphrase of Paul:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
“Whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. Hmm…if Jesus spoke those words, then the “him” refers to God, his father; not Jesus! Otherwise he would have said “…that whosoever believeth in ME….
Reference to “HIM” would be consistent with Jesus’ constant message that you must have faith and belief in his Father. It is also consistent with the first part: “For GOD so loved the world that HE sent his only begotten Son. Now, “him” clearly refers to God, not Jesus.
Jesus himself confirms this in John 5:24:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. John 5:24
Not only does Jesus totally contradict John 3:16, John 6:47 and John 11:25 with John 5:24 but he makes it clear that John 3:16 is being misinterpreted by Christians. “... believeth on him that sent me…“, that would be his Father, i.e. God. Thus, in John 5:24 Jesus entirely repudiates the notion that belief in resurrection is necessary for salvation; repudiates that belief in him (Jesus) is necessary for salvation. You only have to Hear Jesus Word AND believeth on Him that sent me … in order to pass from death unto life.
Now, John 5:24 appears to be contradicted by these two verses:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. — John 6:47 –
I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever beliveth and believeth in me shall never die. — John 11:25-26
But neither of these verses say anything about dying to save us from the sin of Adam and Eve, and as pointed out above, they are contradicted by other verses in John.