The Whipping Boy: Thoughts for Passion Week

I was e-mailing lately with a good friend of mine from college, someone who, in recent years, has distanced herself from the Adventist community in which she grew up and from the Christian worldview more generally. Somehow we had gotten onto the topic of Jesus’ death and the Christian doctrines of sin and redemption. Here is what she said, in her words[1]:

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

the issue is one Creator for one creation. So a better analogy wud be a Father dying to rescue a son from a burning building. The son is saved but the father dies from his burns. In this case with the creative power of resurrection,who then defends the son who started the fire.

At a Good Friday service yesterday (at another church - mine doesn’t do Good Friday services), the analogy we heard was one of a child being rescued from the path of a truck, but the rescuer dying in the process. We dwelt on us being the child, and the rescuer being Jesus, before being led to the thought of us being the truck driver. We are rescued by Jesus, and we kill Jesus.

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A powerful, painful essay, raising many questions, hinting at a few possible answers. Very much appreciated. I also just came across this approach that I would like to share as it seems to resonate with some of the sentiments: . Thank you.


Thank you for this nice commentary on the book. I enjoyed reading it this afternoon online.

When contemplating Christ on the cross one can be lead to some rather uncomfortable places. If Christ had to die to “pay” for my sin, who set the price? God the Father? If so, what kind of god is that? I see Christ’s death more of a demonstration for all of creation what a final separation from God looks like and what humanity will experience if we choose to have no personal relationship with God and to be separated from Him. Christ came to visibly show us the Father and in the end showed us what permanent separation looks like.


Mary, I am impressed by the high moral stance articulated by your friend, in the matter of the supposed atoning /salvational “blood sacrifice” of Jesus on the cross. However, I was always of the opinion that the entire scenario was not as Biblically stated. During my little checks here and there in the pre-Biblical records of people who were living when God(Yahweh) was on earth I developed reasons to Question the Jesus as “only son” argument as proclaimed in the Christian Testament. Jesus COULD have been the only mixed-race Human son of God, But I have seen claims to the effect that God was married , on earth, to a female Eloha (one SUD, a medical specialist) who came with the others from heaven to settle on earth in those days. He had several children with her in those times. So even when we are told in Genesis chapter six that the sons of the Gods saw the daughters of men that they were fair and took them “For wives”,(supposedly) God did not do so, as far as I can see. So to say he sent his only begotten sonn as a blood sacrifice for the sins of Homo sapiens , is not a statement I can understand. Further, as Mary,s friend(a most insightful person in my opinion) rejected the notion of Jesus as convenient “whipping boy” in the article’s stated analogy, so do I . I regard the crucifixion story as a R/ Catholic fiction. We KNOW why Jesus suffered the penalty of crucifixion, and it is because he raised Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus was the name given to Simon Magus, a prominent zealot who along with Judas Iscariot and Theudas Barrabas led an anti-Roman demonstration at the feast of Dedication in November AD 32. It was supposed to be peaceful but the crowd became inflamed and some broke away and killed several Roman soldiers. Simon and the others fled post haste and hid in the Monatery at Qumran, the last place the Romans would have thought to look for them. However the Jews knew, and had Agrippa sieze The Magus, demote him to the lowest status(leper) and confine him in graveclothes to a mausoleum . If no priest did a “raising ceremony” in four days, he would then suffer physical death by being starved to death. . Helena, the Magus’ lover, begged Jesus to raise him, though he was not yet an ordained priest. The Temple Pharisees were delighted as they now saw a way to have Jesus executed for abetting enemies of Rome, though he had committed no absolutely treasonable offence. Simon was on the centre cross as the most wanted man.So jesus as “whipping boy” sent from heaven does not quite fit the facts , in my opinion.

I’m not sure how much “final separation” plays into the cross. And definitely not the focal point. He testified that the destroyed temple would be rebuilt in three days, referring to His body. He deliberately, verbally committed His spirit back to His Father…that is not “final separation”. I think that particular idea comes from the inspired pen of EG White which should be subordinate to what Scripture says.

This was the message to the woman caught in adultery. “Neither do I condemn you, go leave your sinful life.” It was Paul’s message to the born again believers- “You have been set free, now you are a living testimony…don’t act like unbelievers.” It is our message today, to “be being” transformed by the renewing of our minds. Daily gaining ground, maturing, growing up in the Lord, moving from milk to meat.

God is Love. God is so good. He paid an infinite price for broken pottery. While we were yet sinners. He really isn’t asking much in return…

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