Why Did Jesus Have To Die?

In the Satisfaction model of the atonement, it was a logical necessity that Jesus had to die to satisfy the Father’s wrath. The Christus Victor model of the atonement often argues that Jesus’s death was NOT a logical necessity. 

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. Matt. 5:17 (Did Jesus die out of necessity to fulfill his own law? Jesus did many things to fulfill the law, but was his death part of that?)

The Satisfaction model says Christ died as our substitute to appease the Father’s wrath. It says that sin must be punished to satisfy the justice of God. So they will say that Christ’s death was a logical necessity and fulfilled the law. But if the Satisfaction model is not true, and Christ instead died for us in the sense of for our benefit to save of from death, why then did he have to die? If not to appease the Father’s wrath, then for what? Why couldn’t God declare death defeated with his great power and sovereignty? The Christus Victor model traditionally declares Christ’s death was not a logical necessity, but instead an ontological necessity in expressing the fullness of his love. I understand that argument, but find myself not fully satisfied by it. So if logic is a necessity, can we find it in the Christus Victor model?

Personal accountability and self accountability is a universally accepted philosophy, and rightly so. It is taught in the scriptures and life itself teaches us the truth and importance of personal accountability. If you are the man of the family, you are personally responsible for everything that goes on in your household, jurisdiction, or domain. If you are the owner of a business, you are personally responsible and held accountable for everything that your business does whether you personally did it or not. None of this means that others within the household or business aren’t personally responsible themselves as well. If they do something that causes harm to others around them, they are to take accountability for that. We tell all these people who are responsible to “own it, and make it right.” How is this applicable to the topic at hand?

When it comes to God, we do not want to impose responsibility or accountability onto God himself. This is understandable, but also understand that God practices what he preaches. God’s law is a reflection of his very nature, attributes, and character. If the law teaches personal responsibility and accountability, then this is because that is who God is and how he conducts himself. God is the ruler of the entire universe, both on earth and all the heavens. He has no bounds of his jurisdiction and domain. He created everything and holds himself responsible and accountable for everything. We don’t have to impose this onto God. This is who God is. So let’s see how this works in the scriptures...

“If a fire breaks out and spreads into thornbushes so that it burns shocks of grain or standing grain or the whole field, the one who started the fire must make restitution. Ex. 22:6
(This shows accountability in God’s law for those that commit that act that causes the damage. This isn’t talking about sin, but who is accountable for the results of an action whether it is an accident or not.)

When you build a new house, make a parapet around your roof so that you may not bring the guilt of bloodshed on your house if someone falls from the roof. Deut. 22:8 (This shows accountability in God’s law for the person in charge when damage is done under their jurisdiction. It is a principle that encompasses much more than the example given. If you are in charge, or have jurisdiction of a particular area, you are accountable for what happens there on your watch.)

“ ‘The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers. Lev. 25:23 (All the earth is the jurisdiction of God. Not only the earth, but all the universe. God is the owner of it all. God holds himself accountable for all that occurs in his jurisdiction, which has no bounds.)

“If a bull gores a man or woman to death, the bull is to be stoned to death, and its meat must not be eaten. But the owner of the bull will not be held responsible. If, however, the bull has had the habit of goring and the owner has been warned but has not kept it penned up and it kills a man or woman, the bull is to be stoned and its owner also is to be put to deathHowever, if payment is demanded, the owner may redeem his life by the payment of whatever is demanded. This law also applies if the bull gores a son or daughter. Ex. 21:28-31 (Is it possible that this was the story of what happened in the garden and the fall of man? Could this be one of the laws that Jesus came to fulfill? Is Jesus taking his portion of responsibility as the owner? Satan was of course the bull that gores mankind and had a habit of such behavior. God did not keep him penned up in the garden. This is not a sin, but is simply God taking responsibility for his own creation as the owner of the earth. The owner is to be put to death. Jesus came and died on the cross and he came to fulfill the law.)

“If anyone uncovers a pit or digs one and fails to cover it and an ox or a donkey falls into it, the one who opened the pit must pay the owner for the loss and take the dead animal in exchange. “If anyone’s bull injures someone else’s bull and it dies, the two parties are to sell the live one and divide both the money and the dead animal equally. However, if it was known that the bull had the habit of goring, yet the owner did not keep it penned up, the owner must pay, animal for animal, and take the dead animal in exchange. Ex. 21:33-36 (The point here is simply showing responsibility to the liable party. This is a consistent principle in God’s law. We aren’t necessarily talking about sin, as God does not sin. It is talking about responsibility. God teaches in his law, and we know that there can be multiple responsible parties, and each party is responsible for their portion. God is takes responsibility as the owner of heaven and earth. Satan is responsible for his actions and we are responsible for our own actions.)