The Impossible God

Just a few of the logical absurdities of the square triangular god of the incoherent christian bible.

Divine Innumeracy: “substitution”?

P1: Christ paid the substitutionary price for our sins.
P2: Christ paid 3 days of physical and/or spiritual death.
P3: The price for our sins is 3 days of physical and/or spiritual death. (P1 & P2)
P4: Sinners can pay for their sins with 3 days of physical and/or spiritual death.
P5: Sinners remain damned even after 3 days of physical and/or spiritual death.
CONCLUSION: Jehovah cannot do math, is unjust, or is a myth. (P3 – P5)

Why do sinners remain separated from god after legitimately paying their 3 days of physical and/or spiritual deaths?

Here is another way to view the dilemma.

X is the penalty for sin.
If humans die unrepentant, they will experience X.
Jesus bore our sins, so Jesus suffered the penalty of X.

Now simply instantiate the X in a consistent way.


Filed under: Divine Innumeracy, , , ,

20 Responses

  1. ListenerX says:

    Note the unstated premise in this argument: that Jesus is just the same as any other person, so keeping Jesus in hell for a day is morally identical to keeping anyone else in hell for a day.

    Of course, this is not what Christian theology has to say on the matter. One of the central points of the whole atonement doctrine is that _Jesus did not deserve the punishment_. There is a difference between the innocent son of God suffering in hell and a guilty sinner doing so.

    • Review your theology. Jesus made a substitutionary sacrifice. While he did not sin, he was made sin for us, and therefore deserved our full penalty.

      If he took on only part of our sins, we remain unredeemed. If he took on all of our sins, he’ll have to pay the full human price, and any divinity does not make him exempt from such. If his divinity makes him exempt from experiencing our “deserved” penalty, he did not need to become human to redeem us. If there is a difference between the innocent son of God suffering in hell and a guilty sinner doing so, then there was no substitution. He had to be the same as any other human in the act of bearing our sins. A king who substitutes his son for a murderer condemned to death cannot invoke his son’s prince-hood to lighten the sentence of death.

      Here’s what you can do. Since redemption was substitutionary, write a formula with and “=” in the middle and balance the terms on both sides. On the right you have the “deserved” eternal torment of billions of humans. On the other side you’ll have the redemptive price Jesus paid. Let’s see if you can get them to coherently equate.

      • ListenerX says:

        I read up a little more. It seems Thomas Aquinas said that the punishment was not an eternity in hell, but just to be sent to hell (Summa Theologica TP Q52 A1 BP1). From there, Christ could get out when we could not.

        John Calvin said roughly the same thing, citing Acts 2:24 as evidence that it was impossible for Christ to stay in hell for longer than he did (Institutes of the Christian Religion, book II, chapter 16, section 10).

        • Thanks for those citations.

          There are 2 problems with the opinions of Aquinas and Calvin.

          1. If our sinfulness deserves only that we are “sent” to hell, but does not include the incidental suffering resulting from eternity in hell, then sinners experience undeserved suffering, an impossibility in a world governed by a just god.

          2. Presumably, we cannot be resurrected from hell after 3 days because we maintain our sinfulness. Jesus was made sin for us so we do not need to spend eternity in hell. What innocent soul died for Jesus’ return from hell? If a king condemns a man to 50 years in prison, then offers his son up for substitution, he cannot prematurely release his son from the transferred 50-year prison term without losing his right to claim to be just.

          As for Acts 2:24, the affirmation of the verse is not an argument. You’ll have to explain why our sins keep us in hell and why someone who has taken on our sins can escape hell. Why could a loving god not have resurrected all sinners from hell after 3 days?

          I think this will be clear to you if you sit down with pen and paper and plug the variables into “A = B”. Place the “deserved” eternal torment of billions of sinners on one side. Then try to make what Jesus did coherently equate to that. Conversely, place the 3-day spiritual/physical death of Jesus on one side, then try to balance that with what you think the “wages of sin” might be for billions of humans.

          I’ve never seen this even attempted, much less attempted successfully. Is this not rather odd for an act considered to be substitutionary?

  2. Here is just a fun illustration of the problem.

  3. Heff A. Lump says:

    Where do you get 3 days?

    In my old church we were taught that according to the myth Jesus died Friday afternoon (around 3pm), and was seen again walking around again on Sunday morning (around 6am).

    Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon is one day, Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning, a half-day. Total, less then TWO days. What a sacrifice!

    • Brandon says:

      The 3 days comes from the Hebrew way of counting days. When the sun went down, that was the end of the day and the beginning of the next day. Whereas today, the next day doesn’t start until 12:00 AM. I hope your not going to nitpick about it not being exactly 72 hours. If someone says, “hey, I’ll see you in 2 days,” do you assume they mean exactly 48 hours from when they said that to you?
      Hopefully that clears that up for you,


  4. I note that some christians suggest that, because Jesus was god, his anguish was more intense. 2 points.

    1. No matter how intense it was, it could not be eternal since it was for 3 days as opposed to our “deserved” eternal anguish.

    2. God in his perfection does not experience anguish, and the fact that Jesus was god should actually LESSEN his anguish.

    So Christians could redefine god the father as being able to experience pain (a heresy?), but the equation still does not add up since the anguish of Jesus was not eternal.

    (Jesus’ anguish * divine intensifier) = (eternal anguish)?

    What number multiplied by what number equals infinity?

    The 3 hours that god poured out his wrath could have been 4 hours and was therefore not infinite. Our “deserved” punishment of eternal damnation is infinite. Jehovah is innumerate.

  5. Brandon says:

    Hey Phil,
    Where in the Bible does it say Jesus’ soul was condemned to hell?

    ‘withholds his hand from iniquity, takes no interest or profit, obeys my rules, and walks in my statutes; he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; he shall surely live. “Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die.’ (Ezekiel 18:17,19,20)

    ‘The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.’
    (1 Corinthians 15:56)

    Had Jesus not been sacrificed he would still be alive today, for he who is without sin would not suffer death. Because Jesus was both man and God, his blood was sufficient to atone for the sins of every man (if he was only a man, his blood would have been a substitute for one other man). According to the Bible, every man that sins is condemned to death (physical), but if he dies in his sins (having not repented thus not accepting the gift God has given), he will also suffer eternal death (spiritual). Man will never consciously cease to exist. So our time here on earth is what is called our ‘time of grace’. All men will pay the consequence for sin (physical death), but only those who don’t repent will be condemned to spiritual death (hell).

    God made a promise that the day Adam and Eve sinned they would surely die (literally meaning dying you shall die).
    ‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.’
    (Leviticus 17:11)
    The fulfillment of that promise is why blood is required for forgiveness, because their physical life is the payment for their sin.
    He who had no sin, suffered the punishment for sin for us, so that we who are unrighteous, may made righteous through him.
    The reason Christ rose from the dead was for evidence to us, that just as He was raised we also will be raised.

    Sorry if my response is a little long, just wanted to clear some things up,

    • Ok, Brandon, you tell me what you think happened to Jesus for the 3 days he was dead, then I’ll simply use your definition to assess whether the punishment of Jesus matches the punishment of those sent to hell.

  6. Brandon says:

    And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

    He went to be with the Father. Jesus didn’t have to suffer eternal punishment, he was without sin, his physical death alone was what was required to pay for the sins of the whole world. A person can either accept God’s plan of redemption (and become righteous through the righteousness of Christ) or reject it and die in unrighteousness. The people who go to hell choose it.

    for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:29)

    The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: “Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?” (Isaiah 33:14)

    Hell, isn’t hell because God is not there. Hell is hell because God is there. His presence consumes all unrighteousness, but because God never made us to die (to cease to exist) those who die in unrighteousness will be in his presence forever.

  7. So Jesus could have simply died in his sleep, have woken up 5 minutes later, and the “deserved” eternal torment of billions would have been paid for, correct?

  8. (Your suggestion that people with no knowledge of Hell can then “choose” Hell is raw foolishness. No one can choose an option they don’t know exists. This is just another example of the perversion of justice belief in the bible will require of you.)

  9. Brandon says:

    The first sin of Adam and Eve was that of autonomy. God said one thing, Satan said something else, so Adam and Eve ignored God’s authority and put their trust in themselves rather than in God (the creature rather than the Creator). We are all born into sin with them and the physical death that that entails. We are all sinful just as they were, so we can’t necessarily blame them for our physical death for we are just as guilty for our autonomous rebellion against our Creator. God is willing to overlook our sinfulness over our entire lives and grant us righteousness if we just put our trust back in Him and what He has promised would save us. Or we can continue on in our rebellion and reject His promise for a second time and face the second death. Its really irrelevant how Jesus died, but that’s not the way he did so what’s the point of that hypothetical?

    • The point is Jesus did not pay for the offenses of humanity as is claimed.

      Imagine a Judge claiming to be just who deemed eternal torture a “just” penalty for lying. Can such a judge pervert the notion of justice in this way? No. Justice is above the judge. For the judge to say what ever he deems as just is just is absurd. And it is especially absurd when it is as far from the human notion of justice as can be imagined.

      Now imagine this judge, who has condemned liars to eternal torture, suddenly claim the 3-day (at most) torture of his son is a “just” price for the “deserved” eternal torture of billions of liars.

      Do you see how silly this is? You’re trying to inoculate your god from an assessment of his claim that he is just by claiming he can define the word any way he wants.

      Christians also do this with “love” and “long-suffering”. They claim their god can redefine love any way he want so that eternally torturing those he “loves” is indeed love. They claim that deeming someone worthy of eternal torture upon their very first offense “long-suffering”.

      Sure, if Hitler could have redefined concepts, he actually loved the Jews. You’re going to have to decide whether concepts are subject to the redefinition of your god. If you decide they are, then your entire belief system is arbitrary, a warm and fuzzy logical perversion of the malicious actions of Jehovah.

  10. (And if your god’s consumption of unrighteousness takes eternity, he most certainly is not very competent at it.)

  11. So Brandon, here are the critical questions.

    1, Do you believe your alleged god, simply by virtue of being a god, redefine love, long-suffering and justice any way he wants? Since language belongs to him, can he pervert the meaning of concepts, then claim it is impossible for him to be assessed by humans against those concepts?

    2. Why was the death of Jesus necessary for your god’s forgiveness, and how can one death be a substitute for the “deserved” eternal torture of billions?

    3. If your god’s purpose in hell is to consume unrighteousness, why would it take forever?

    4. How can you choose something you don’t know exists such as eternity in Hell?

    5. Why is an offense against a god called a “sin”, and what is the logical need for bloodshed when one “sins” against a god? What is the difference between “offense” and “sin” other than a sin is an offense against your god? How does this distinction suddenly make bloodshed necessary?

    Notice that, while you are claiming that this logical need for eternal torment transcends the any desire of god (he could simply forgive those he claims to love without bloodshed otherwise), you are at the same time suggesting your god transcends our notion of justice, and that he can call eternal torture for a single lie “just”. A bit absurd, don’t you think?

  12. Brandon says:


    1. & 5. By being The God, He’s the source of the very concepts of love, long-suffering, and justice. By what virtue does man decide what He can and can not do? Are humans entitled to pervert things in order to suit their needs? You have the view that we’re running around down here sinning against each other, so in your eyes a little white lie isn’t really harming anyone so it shouldn’t be on the same level as murder, but that’s not the Christian position.
    ‘You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.’ (Matthew 5:43-48)
    If you were in the military and you lied to your team leader, no big deal. If you lied to your Sergeant, you can expect to get hazed. If you lied to the Sergeant Major, you can expect an NJP (non-judicial punishment, forfeiture of pay or possibly reduction in rank). If you lied to a General, you can expect to spend time in the brig. What we would consider a small offense has different severities of consequences attached to it depending on who its against. Now imagine a Private who’s been disobeying direct orders from the General from day one. The General comes up to him and says, “I’m going to give you until the end of your enlistment to start showing me the respect I deserve. If you do, I will forgive all your previous offenses against me. If you don’t, you will go to the brig for the rest of your life.” As time goes on the Private continues on in his complete disregard for the General’s authority, and becomes more emboldened by the fact that the General is doing nothing against him. Would you not call the General loving and long-suffering for showing that Private mercy for so long? Would he not be just in giving him the punishment he deserves if he refuses to show him respect?

    2,3 I believe I’ve already given you the Christian position on why Jesus’ death was necessary. Corruption (decay), is a characteristic of this sin-cursed world (dying you shall die), but corruption is not possible in the spiritual realm. I imagine your picturing someone throwing a block of wood into a fire, and eventually that block of wood is completely burned up. If one rejects God’s authority in his ability to save, they will face Him in their unrighteousness, and without corruption they will be in his presence forever.

    4 You believe that God does not exist, so you view some tribes of people who have never had contact with civilized people as having no knowledge of God. I believe that God does exist, that the Bible is His word, and that He says that no man will have an excuse. So in my worldview, God is not dependent on some white american missionaries to go forth and tell people about the God they supposedly don’t know exists. Can you honestly say you’ve met someone who had no previous knowledge of hell, no knowledge of actions having consequences, no conscience, and no previous knowledge of the concept of God? Your beliefs will lead you to draw one conclusion, while my beliefs will lead me to conclude something else, but unless we go to these tribes and ask them, how would we know what they know?

    I know this response is a bit long, I just wanted to provide an answer to each of your questions.

  13. Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker says:

    In “Three Versions of Judas,” Jorge Luis Borges, through the work of an imaginary writer, Nils Runeberg, speculates that the true incarnation of God was Judas, not Jesus. The suffering of one afternoon on the cross was insufficient to pay the price for all of mankind’s sins. What was required was eternal damnation and endless torment.

    “God became a man completely, a man to the point of infamy, a man to the point of being reprehensible – all the way to the abyss. In order to save us, He could have chosen any of the destinies which together weave the uncertain web of history; He could have been Alexander, or Pythagoras, or Rurik, or Jesus; He chose an infamous destiny: He was Judas.”

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