The juridical mentality of the West regarding the “Antilytron” is not in the least “innocent”.
Not only does it NOT constitute an “alternative” answer to the question of what role our Lord Jesus Christ’s sacrifice played, but on the contrary, IT ANNULS IT!
We have of course spoken in another article of the West’s juridical mentality as expressed in their perception of the “Antilytron”, as well as in the problems related to such a mentality. In that article, we had analyzed the hermeneutical and theological problems that such viewpoints presented. However, in the present article we would like to expand on one further point, namely, on how this juridical mentality and stance towards the Antilytron - when analysed carefully - essentially does not only NOT explain the meaning behind the Lord’s sacrifice, but on the contrary, it abolishes it altogether, as regards its significance in relation to Death.
For Western Man, to want to see the Lord’s sacrifice as a “juridical thriller”, not only misrepresents God as a tough judge and an unfair referee; it actually places that person at the opposite side of the upright (orthodox) faith.
Let us therefore suppose for the moment, that God could indeed (alternatively) be regarded as a tough judge who would “demand” the death of someone innocent in place of someone irreverent; a judge who would demand “ransoms” in order to free someone, or would judge mankind overall for the disobedience of only one. Let us suppose for the moment that sending someone innocent to the Cross in order to satisfy a (savage and primitive) thirst for blood is not a gruesomely irreverent and blasphemous act, and that it could (even in a crude manner) relate to God’s self-description of “Love”. Let us also suppose that someone could actually love such an unjust and demented judge.
If we were to accept all the above as an alternative answer to the question: “why did Christ finally die?”, then what would the repercussions be on the issue of “victory over death”, with such an admission?
According to the Christian perception of this event, the death of the Lord Jesus Christ was a blatant injustice.
Not only did it NOT “satisfy” God’s justice, but on the contrary, it offended it!
One must keep in mind that we will all die, and that none of us is devoid of responsibility in the face of death; because our sinfulness, our fallen nature, leads us to a multitude of transgressions during the course of our lives. Albeit this does NOT imply that God condemns us to death for our transgressions (in a juridical sense), it also does not give us the right to demand our exemption from the finale that is common to all living beings. Besides, what is it that we have - that the others don’t - to want to live without dying?
Every sin of ours constitutes an “incriminating document” against us; not for God, but for the devil. With every single sin of ours, we are “signing our own condemnation” to the dark world of Hades and are placing ourselves under the authority “of the one who has the power over death, namely the devil” (Hebr. 2:14). With every sin, the devil and “his dark power” acquires legal rights over us, because we ourselves place him in our lives, through disobedience. And thus, in death, he is the rightful owner of our soul. Because it is written: “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23).
But with Christ something else happened.
Christ, throughout His life, had NEVER sinned. He did not give the devil the slightest cause, the slightest reason to hold any authority whatsoever over Him. He did not allow the devil to have the slightest legal right over Him. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself had said: “Who among you can check me for sin?” (John 8:46) And He had furthermore said: “The ruler of this world (the devil), has no rights whatsoever over me” (John 14:30).
And thus we come to the Crucifixion.
Christ was the “bait”. He had PROVOKED the devil with His life, with His stance, with His teaching. He had defeated the devil at his every step. Christ forgave sins, healed illnesses, drove out demons, exposed wrongdoings and He accumulated followers. He had become a thorn in the eye of the devil and of course the devil wanted Him “out of the way”.
Indeed, this was accomplished, with the Crucifixion. Satan had fervently desired to be rid of the One who was “ruining things” for him. And now it appeared that he had achieved it, with Christ’s crucifixion sacrifice – the event that we all know. But then, just as Christ was leaving His last breath on the Cross and the Devil was rejoicing for having one less enemy, he suddenly suffered his greatest defeat.
Up until that time, all those who had died had JUSTLY DIED and had been led to the dark kingdom of Hades. Up until that time, the devil had justly demanded to have authority over those who during their lifetime had obeyed his will instead of God’s. God did not insist on saving those who had chosen sin during their lifetime.
Christ, on the other hand, was BLAMELESS. Satan therefore had no authority over Him! The devil had no legal right to say: “He is mine, and I am rightfully placing Him under my authority in Hades”. Christ DID NOT BELONG TO HIM. Satan had therefore overstepped the authority that was given to him.
Thus, by killing the SINLESS One, Satan exposed himself. He exposed himself as a predator, and death was exposed as a LAWLESS KINGDOM. That is why Christ now rightfully demanded SATISFACTION. He was the only One who was wronged by death, and therefore now rightfully demanded the abolition of Death. That is why He now also rightfully descended upon Hades with His angelic hosts, DEMANDING JUSTICE.
Lacking every kind of excuse, the devil no longer had any legal right to resort to, because he had been exposed before all of Creation as an unjust ruler, who had illegally detained the Righteous One. Thus the angelic forces had rightfully invaded Hades and demolished its age-old status quo, emptying its halls of all those souls who sought deliverance from the Sinless one; from the only One who had descended there and who could RIGHTFULLY demand His return to the world of the living. That is why Christ, with His Crucifixion sacrifice, “laid bare all principalities and powers; He fully humiliated them, publicly” (Col. 2:15).
Following the UNJUST MURDER of the Innocent one (the ONLY INNOCENT ONE), Death now looms ILLEGAL AND ABUSIVE. It now shows itself as a contra-natural state, and a process under abolition. Death now ceased to be “the natural meeting point of sinners” and has become “the reigning dynasty of the Devil, the unjust dictator”. Death was thus subjected to the gradual process of being abolished. Firstly through the righteous ones - who no longer pass through Hades, but instead enter the Paradise of souls - and then, (during the Second Coming of Christ) through the unrighteous ones - who will also receive bodies in order to be judged fairly; certainly more fairly than being indefinitely detained by the now exposed, illegal prison of Hades.
It is for this reason that Christ allowed Himself to be crucified and to die, albeit without deserving to. It was NOT to satisfy any supposed sense of “justice” of a demented “god”, who juridically demanded the death of one righteous person for the sake of the many unrighteous. On the contrary, He allowed Himself to become the bait, in order to EXPOSE the devil and his entire kingdom as ILLEGAL AND ABUSIVE. Christ could then justifiably demand their abolition, as recompense.
Christ was human when He died, and the injustice imposed on Him was imposed on His human nature; except that this human nature IS ALSO OURS. And in Christ, we now demand our OUR RIGHTS ALSO. United in the Body of Christ - The Church - we now demand our own exemption from Hades, as a counterbalance for the transgression that was imposed on our Head: on Christ. Thus, it is Christians who are now exempt from Hades and are led into the paradise of souls - another kingdom altogether, which does not belong to the Devil. Those who are left stranded with the devil (until the day of resurrection) are only the souls THAT HAVE WILLINGLY PREFERRED THE DEVIL, by denying their Only Saviour - the Only One with the right to demand their release from Hades.
Having seen how Christ’s sacrifice “functions” against Hades and Death, let us return to the issue of the Western juridical mentality regarding the sacrifice of Christ. Observe how - apart from blaspheming against God – this mentality also leads to the annulment of Christ’s sacrifice:
If Christ’s sacrifice had indeed taken place “upon demand” by God, simply to satisfy His sense of “divine justice” as the Westerners claim, then we must surmise that:
- NO INJUSTICE ACTUALLY TOOK PLACE (with Christ’s Crucifixion).
- Death and Hades operated within their legal boundaries.
- Christ JUSTLY DIED, because it was “upon demand” by God.
- The devil justly killed Christ in place of the guilty (since His death was the divine will of God).
- Death itself is NOT exposed as an ABUSIVE status, but on the contrary, it is projected as a NECESSITY and even as a REDEMPTIVE measure.
- The devil rightfully continues to maintain the kingdom of Hades under his authority, as he has not overstepped the authority given to him; on the contrary, he was “used”, in order for God’s sense of justice to be satisfied.
- Christ was therefore ILLICITLY RESURRECTED, given that He had restored what had been justly taken away from Him “upon demand” by God (His life).
If the Western juridical view regarding the Antilytron is accepted, then:
- Death is NOT ABOLISHED
- The devil is NOT EXPOSED
- Hades is NOT EMPTIED
- Human nature is NOT VINDICATED and...
- None of us can demand exemption from the kingdom of Hades, because both Christ and human nature WERE NOT WRONGED.
If the Western view on the Antilytron is true, then we had better search for another Saviour and another God, because this view is rife with charlatanism!