Was the Crucifixion necessary or was it sort of bad luck? Who decided Jesus had to die and when? Did God decide to have his Son killed, and, if so, wasn’t this malicious?
As a Christian I see that God is not malicious. What could possibly be malicious in God becoming man and being crucified in order that we might have eternal life? The problem is some unbelievers see the idea of the crucifixion in precisely that scenario. Why should God killing off his Son be necessary? This whole scheme is god’s work: sin, death, sacrifice, redemption the whole spectrum of the Biblical account. Why set it up like this?
To understand the answers to such questions, we must return to the beginning, and take another look at the Genesis account in the light of what we have come to know because of how we understand the whole of Scripture.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28 NASB; emphasis mine).
God gave man dominion over the works of God’s hands. The Scriptures say, “The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable!” (Romans 11:29 NASB). Therefore, if God placed Adam in authority over everything and everyone that God created, that is a gift that God cannot simply take away, because matters changed that were not to his liking. Now, someone may try to say the gift of authority is given to all mankind and not merely to Adam. In a sense this is true, but in the truest sense, God placed Adam, the man, over all that God created. It would be expected that Adam would delegate his authority to those he trusted, but Adam was the man to whom God gave the gift of authority. The question then arises, “How could God take away what was Adam’s without revoking Adam’s authority, which Scripture says is irrevocable?”
I believe the answer to this paradox is found in 1Corinthians 15. Paul writes there of the validity of the resurrections—of Christ and of us. He says by man came the judgment of death, so all die because all mankind are descendants of Adam (1Corinthians 15:21-22). In the same Scripture Paul shows that by man comes the resurrection of the dead, and this man is none other than Christ, whom Paul says gives life to all. Later in the chapter, Paul refers to Adam as the first Adam and to Christ as the last Adam (1Corinthians 15:45). This is significant, because Paul elsewhere refers to those who are in Christ as part of a new creation (2Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15). Therefore, when Paul refers to Christ as the last Adam, he is showing how God has accomplished his goal of salvation without revoking the gifts he had given to Adam.
Jesus is God made flesh (John 1:1, 14). He became a man in order to die. He died in our stead, for the judgment upon Adam’s race is death. Sooner or later all mankind will pass out of existence without some kind of help from outside his race. It is evident we are using up our resources at an alarming rate. Our history is such that we are willing to destroy one another, showing we have not been able to get along with our neighbors. And nothing in our present character shows evidence that we have learned or even that we are willing to learn the lessons of the past. Furthermore, our planet seems to be on the verge of destruction, and if not in the foreseeable future, then certainly later, because nothing here is eternal. So, death is the future of our race, and there is nothing we can do about it—without outside help.
Through Jesus death, he paid the price that our own death pays for rebellion against God. We ourselves execute those who rebel against the legitimate governments of our different nations. If the rebels succeed in overcoming the legitimate governments, they execute the leaders of state that held the authority the rebels wish to possess. This is how things are; this is how things have always been. So, Jesus came from heaven and became a man. He was the legitimate authority over Adam, but Adam rebelled against God and took us with him. Jesus had to die! The difference in his death, however, is: he rose from the grave and invites us to be with him where he is. Adam has absolutely no authority over the world or Kingdom where Jesus is. By trusting in his death and resurrection we are given the right to become the children of God. We have been transported from one kingdom to another Kingdom (Colossians 1:13) and from Adam’s race to Christ’s race (1Corinthains 15:42-49). This is redemption! This is salvation! This is eternal life!
In conclusion, yes, Jesus did have to die. This plan was set in force from the moment of Adam’s rebellion. God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) decided what must be done, if Adam’s race was to be saved. It wasn’t the Father’s decision, which the Son was obligated to obey. It was a decision made by God. It was the Father’s desire, and the Son’s will is always to manifest the Father’s desire or ‘flesh it out’ so to speak, and this is done through the power of the Holy Spirit. So the scheme of the crucifixion is not malicious. On the contrary, it is the solid—fleshed out—evidence of God’s love for us. It manifests the length to which God is willing to go to secure our safety and joy for eternity.