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Hebrews 5:7

who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear

Jesus was without sin. He cried out to the Father to save Him from death, but the Father allowed Him to die. Not only did the Father not answer, He allowed death by crucifixion.

Moses said not to shed innocent blood.

Exodus 23:7

Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked

Moses said innocent blood shed would be upon the people.

Deuteronomy 19:10

That innocent blood be not shed in thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and so blood be upon thee.

Shedding innocent blood was one of the sins which caused the people to be sent into captivity.

Jeremiah 22:3

Thus says the LORD: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.

Did the Father sin or cause others to sin by allowing innocent blood to be shed?

If so would Jesus' death make atonement for the Father's sin?

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  • Jesus consented to the death in the garden when he prayed “yet not my will but yours be done”. And the Scripture does not say everything we pray for we will get, only what is in accordance with God’s will. And it was the Father’s will for the Son to die for our sins that we might have eternal life thru faith in him. And don’t forget that Jesus was raised from the dead and glorified with the glory he had with the Father previously. It’s a mistake to think about this in purely human terms; Jesus was a man but he was (and still is) God. Dying for our sins was always his plan.
    – bob
    Commented Jun 16 at 16:46
  • @bob I agree with what the death accomplished. It made atonement for all sin. It took care of Pilate, Judas, the priests, the soldiers, everyone. But willing an innocent man to die is worse than doing nothing IMO. Commented Jun 16 at 19:31
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    But if an innocent person sacrifices themselves, it’s very different. Consider that while Father and Son are different persons, they’re both part of the Godhead and are both God. It really doesn’t work to cast this in human terms (i.e. a human father sacrificing their son) because as humans father and son are totally distinct from each other whereas in the Godhead there is unity such that while there are three persons and all are God there is one God.
    – bob
    Commented Jun 16 at 21:48
  • So it was God sacrificing himself for us in the persons of the Father (giving the Son) and the Son (taking on flesh and dying in that flesh to be raised again bodily). It’s a mystery that to some degree must be taken on faith.
    – bob
    Commented Jun 16 at 21:50

4 Answers 4

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God cannot sin as he is not bound by the same laws of morality imposed upon creatures who are not the creator. It is precisely because he is the creator he has the power to make things good that are otherwise bad:

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Because he is the creator, no one is really dead to him anyways:

38 Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.” Luke 20:38

And also we should understand that the suffering of this present time cannot equate to the joy of the glory that will be revealed to us:

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18

Beyond this, is the analogy of discipline: Sometimes it is right and good to put someone through suffering so that they may be stronger. For example, a Father who forces his child into disciplined training exercises that may at first be painful so that he may grow up as a man to be strong.

God makes us stronger and more perfect through the things we suffer:

2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

Thus in similar way God also saw fit to make Jesus himself perfect through suffering - a perfect source of salvation - the perfect high priest.

9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. Hebrews 2:9-10

8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. 9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 5:8-10

So the Bible teaches that it was fitting for God the Creator to bring his Son to perfection through suffering - even the suffering of death.

And so, the dutiful Son, facing death, trusted the goodness of the Father in saying: "...not my will, but yours be done." (Luke 22:42).

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  • All things work for good, so sin can work for good? Discipline is good, but is it right to call an execution discipline? No question about the consequences of not answering the cries of the innocent and allowing the death to go forward, but does the ends justifying the means mean the means were right? As to the will, doesn't that elevate the issue to an even higher level? It's one thing to fail to act and allow what is clearly wrong to happen, isn't it morally worse to say it was done willfully? Son - "I am sinless. Save me. Nevertheless, if this is what you want let it happen?" Commented Jun 16 at 13:52
  • @RevelationLad, I believe that's kind of the whole point of the cross is that it proves that all the suffering you undure for the sake of God will be worth it even if innocent, (see 1 Peter 2:19-21, 1:7). It really depends on if you believe the Bible when it says "the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." I believe this is what Jesus believed as is discribed in Heb 12:2 (the word despising the shame, could be better interpreted as thinking little of the shame especially in comparison to what lied before him.)
    – Austin
    Commented Jun 16 at 14:53
  • Jesus was not only a man but God was well. He knew the plan from the beginning. It was his plan and his desire. But having taken on flesh the process he had to go through was deeply unpleasant which I take as the reason in the garden he prayed for the cup to be taken from him. It showed that he was fully man. But in that same passage we see “yet not my will but yours be done” demonstrating perfect alignment with the will of God because he was (and is) fully God. Also don’t forget when arrested Jesus told Peter he could call on an army of angels to rescue him, and the Father would send it
    – bob
    Commented Jun 16 at 16:59
  • …and then adds “But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” Jesus didn’t want to be rescued. Yes his flesh didn’t want to die or to suffer God’s wrath, but ultimately it was Jesus’ will to die for our sins out of love for us.
    – bob
    Commented Jun 16 at 17:03
  • @RevelationLad All things work for good, so sin can work for good? Yes. It's what the verse says and it's what the cross demonstrates. Discipline is good, but is it right to call an execution discipline? God doesn't have the same perspective of death that we do when he can just raise anyone anytime. The discipline/preparation is for the sake of Jesus reaching his full potential in his role in Eternity in the New Creation. Thus it says that he learned obedience thru his suffering becoming an eternal source of salvation as High Priest. Because he suffered he can help those who suffer.
    – Austin
    Commented Jun 16 at 20:38
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The Father did answer the Son's prayer request to be saved from death, by resurrecting his Son from death. But first, he had to die, as had been decreed in the eternal plan of deity from before creation started. That is actually another question, so I will not delve into it here. Suffice to say that immediately God pronounced judgment in the garden of Eden, he gave his prophetic word that there would be a "seed" raised up that would crush the "serpent" - Genesis 3:15. From there, the Bible leads through to the producing of that "seed" at the incarnation of the Word of God, who was with God in the beginning, who was God, and who made everything that was made (John 1:1-3).

In order to deal righteously with a sin-ruined creation, a perfect sacrifice for sin had to be made, when the just wrath of God upon sin would be poured out on the sinless One who willingly bore sin in his body. "Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin", so the Son knew the blood in his body would be shed - he had to die. The Father and the Son were agreed on that, and so it happened.

This means that it is a wrong conclusion to suppose that the Son was crying out to God in Gethsemane to be spared from dying. He knew that death could only claim sinners but he had never sinned. Yet the plan of salvation required a perfect sacrifice for sin, and that meant physical death. He had to bear the burden of sin on the cross so that the Father would deal with sin, once and for all, to pour righteous judgment on himself - the sin-bearer. That way, the serpent, sin, and death, would be defeated (though the Son would be "bruised" in the process.)

In order to defeat death, the Son had to die and gave himself over to death. Then, as he was sinless, death could not claim him, and he knew he would arise in triumph over the grave. Even before the cross, Jesus said he would raise himself on the third day. The scriptures also show that the Father and the Holy Spirit would equally be involved in him being "the first-born from the dead". But Jesus had to put faith in all the ancient prophecies and plans, and trust the Father for that spectacular triumph. He did. That was what his prayer in Gethsemane showed. He was trusting in the Father to deliver him from death, which happened after he'd submitted to the Father's will to die as the only perfect sacrifice for sin there has ever been.

The whole point of Jesus going to the cross was for innocent blood to be shed in righteous judgment of sin. Then not only deliverance from death would be assured, but death would be conquered. Whoever would have thought it? Only in the divine counsels of heaven, from before creation started, could that plan of salvation have been decided upon and, being of God, guaranteed to be completed. Therefore, the Father did deliver the Son from death.

In light of that, the last sentence in the details of the question is truly offensive, and might best be removed.

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This question reminds me of Genesis 3:1 when the serpent asked Eve "did God really say...?". The question subtly implied that God was withholding something good to Eve and thus imputing malice on God.

God did not sin by not answering Jesus' request because God is without iniquity, Deuteronomy 32:4.

Deuteronomy 32:4 YLT

The Rock! -- perfect is His work, For all His ways are just; God of stedfastness, and without iniquity: Righteous and upright is He.

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  • So not saving Jesus from death was not a sin because God is without iniquity. IOW, for another the action would be sin but for the Father the sinful act was not sin because the Father is without iniquity? Commented Jun 16 at 13:44
  • @RevelationLad. If you want to to impute sin to Father , that is your choice. Commented Jun 16 at 14:29
  • I’m not trying to impute anything. I’m asking whether an all powerful Father who had the ability to keep one who was without sin from being illegally executed broke His own Law by allowing innocent blood to be shed. Commented Jun 16 at 19:41
  • @RevelationLad. And I already gave an answer. It is your choice to believe contrary to my answer. Commented Jun 16 at 20:46
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The question is challenging and may even offend those for whom the sinlessness of God a a first principle. But there are indeed verses in the Bible that support the idea that God, whether he sinned or not, takes responsibility for sin. As a Parent, God agonizes over his children's suffering and does everything in his power to help them without violating heavenly law.

On a human level, the question is analogous to whether or not Abraham sinned by intending to sacrifice Isaac and making serious preparations to do so. The answer boils down to the "lesser of two evils" dilemma. It is evil to kill your own son, even if he is a willing sacrifice. But Abraham believed it would be a greater evil to disobey God.

Killing one's offspring is evil, no matter who does it. But God judged it a lesser evil to send Jesus to the Cross than to allow humankind to suffer in sin forever. Indeed, for most Christians, God intended this from the beginning. A scripture that supports this idea if found in 1 Cor. 2:

7 We speak God’s wisdom, mysterious, hidden, which God predetermined before the ages for our glory, 8 and which none of the rulers of this age knew; for, if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

In this sense, God by no means sinned in failing to save Jesus. He allowed him to die for the sins of mankind. From a human point of view this was the lesser of two evils, but from God's point of view it was an absolute good.

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  • I can't say. But I do think that by submitting to God's will, Jesus not only saved those who believe, but also healed the heart of the Father. I do see God as full of regret (Gen. 6.6) and I can't imagine that he did not regret having to send Jesus to the cross. Commented Jun 16 at 3:45
  • The lesser of two evils or the greater good does not make the other not evil. Obviously accomplishing salvation is essential, but I wonder if, similar to allowing Jesus to experience death the Father was willing to experience sin to accomplish His will? Commented Jun 16 at 3:45

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