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God: My Bad!

I had an amusing thought while sitting in church last Sunday. If the trinitarian view of the Godhead were correct and Jesus was God, then perhaps Jesus’ crucifixion was God’s way of saying “You know what? I fucked up. All this cruelty and suffering is all my fault, and now it’s time for me to pay for my crimes.”

It makes perfect sense to me, and it would make an omnipotent God seem like less of a jerk.

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  1. Jonathan Blake said,

    February 22, 2008 @ 9:15 am

    Of course, as I’ve pointed out several times, the LDS version of God doesn’t claim to be properly omnipotent, so he can excuse himself with only creating the best possible world given his own weaknesses.

  2. Lincoln Cannon said,

    February 22, 2008 @ 4:09 pm

    It actually doesn’t require a trinitarian God. The modal God (one person that fills the roles of Father and Son because of various experiences and attributes) described by the Book of Mormon works just as well, and is even explicitly described in the manner you suggest . . . “knowest thou the condescension of God?”

  3. Kullervo said,

    February 22, 2008 @ 7:01 pm

    Hmm. So God’s atonement is actually (or also) an atonement for God’s own sins? Nice turn.

    Of course, you have to start out assuming a trinitarian God, or at least a personal one.

  4. Jonathan Blake said,

    February 22, 2008 @ 7:20 pm

    I must add that the sacrifice of Jesus doesn’t seem to really ameliorate much suffering, it just made Jesus/God suffer, so an omnipotent God would still be a jerk, but a jerk willing to take responsibility. I don’t take this theory too seriously; it just made me chuckle.

  5. Jonathan Blake said,

    February 22, 2008 @ 7:25 pm

    Oh, and this theory doesn’t suffer from the nonsensical transferral of guilt from the guilty person to an innocent one. It just doesn’t make sense that Jesus could suffer for other people’s sins. How would it serve justice if an innocent man were to serve a jail sentence while the perpetrator went free?

  6. Lincoln Cannon said,

    February 23, 2008 @ 10:59 am

    The atonement is a communal act, to which one is called as a disciple of Christ. As Paul put it, this is “Christ in you” and we become joint heirs in the glory of Christ “if so be that we suffer with him”. As we engage in forgiving each other for our sins — the incongruencies between our desires, wills and laws — we overcome them in our unity of faith, hope in reconciliation and compassion for each other. It only need be as non-sensical as you make it.

  7. Seth R. said,

    February 24, 2008 @ 4:35 pm

    Transferral of guilt has never been the primary way in which I’ve viewed the Atonement. I’ve always seen it more as a supreme act of love. God reaching out to us.

    Our part is to unite in perfect love of the sort which the Father and the Son share for each other. Mormon notion of godhood plays in here. For me, it’s less about punishment and justice than it is about a reconciliation and a free affiliation between independent beings (us and God).

  8. Jonathan Blake said,

    February 24, 2008 @ 5:14 pm


    Lot’s of people make the Atonement plenty nonsensical. :) The common LDS interpretation involves a kind of mysterious (i.e. magical) transference of guilt to a sacrificial animal (i.e. Jesus).

    If we choose, perhaps we can view Jesus’ death as doing nothing in itself, but rather it sets a pattern of compassion and goodness (a dubious pattern it seems to me) that we can follow to help redeem the world from its undesirable state. We become God redeeming the world.


    How does Jesus’ death become a supreme act of love if it serves no other purpose other than a message of love? “I love you so much that I’ll let my son be killed” doesn’t exactly belong on a Hallmark card. It would have shown a lot more love to share the cure for smallpox or a way to improve agriculture to reduce starvation. Why is Jesus’ death the supreme message of love that God could have sent to us?

  9. Seth R. said,

    February 24, 2008 @ 7:17 pm

    I don’t think it was THE supreme message. Just part of it.

  10. Jonathan Blake said,

    February 24, 2008 @ 8:37 pm

    I guess I’m perplexed how human sacrifice without a purpose would fit into a message of love. Do you see transferral of guilt as a small part of Jesus’ sacrifice, just not a big part?

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