This is a response to the discussion that followed in "The Ultimate Sacrifice" topic.
Herbie and Mus- here is my attempt: Just assume for a minute that there is some kind of immaterial being responsible for creating the universe. I know you don't believe it, but for the sake of our communication barriers... This being, spirit, whatever we can consider it, is a multi-faceted being. Spirit, creative force, and sustaining/connecting force. (Father, Son, Holy Spirit.) - So this being weaves into existence the fabric of the universe in ever-increasing complexity, from the beginnings of galxies, to stars, solar systems, individual planets, etc… then move the focus to earth (because that is where we live, and I know nothing of life on other planets) where first was just molten, then solid, then water, atmosphere, then bacteria, plant life, then animals, then man. Man is described as being flesh and spirit. Formed from ‘dust,’ and ‘breathed into’ by the Spirit of G-d. So in that, we are unique among the created life-forms, separate from angels and such on the spiritual side as we have a physical body, and separate from plants/animals on the physical side as we have this (initially) continuous connection to G-d. We are told in John that this creating force is the Word, Logos in Greek, aka… Jesus. - Keeping in mind that ‘spiritual’ doesn’t automatically mean ‘benign’, picture too one of these spiritual beings (angels), perhaps the most ‘powerful’ as they can be, as developing a sense of pride in it’s place between men and G-d, seeing itself as far greater than man. G-d has created man with such Love and potential as having the best of both worlds, or rather, just being a part of both worlds. This angel eventually becomes jealous, or spiteful, of the grace given to humanity, developing the beginnings of hatred through this envy and vanity. It decides that it is an injustice, that G-d would hold these mortal beings in such Love, and this leads to it doubting G-d’s power, and begins brooding for a spiritual rebellion in an attempt to gain G-d’s power for itself. - Isaiah 14:13+14 "You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." - This being, generally referred to as Satan, attempted to imitate G-d, therefore creating his own perversion of the Trinity. - Anyway… mankind was deceived by this fallen angel, though now knowing it could not overthrow G-d, will try it’s damnedest to bring as many away from Him as it can. I kind of agree with the ideas that in man’s fall, we disrupted the natural flow of the world as G-d created it, as He set us to be in tune with it, but as we no longer were innocent in our connection with G-d, all aspects of our relation to the world we live in were affected. - So what we call ‘sin’ has become a barrier between the human soul and G-d. Not because it is a punishment for not ‘obeying the rules’ but because nothing impure can stand to be in the presence of G-d. Even filtered through our hearts, Love can seem to cause more pain in our world than joy. - In order for the human soul to reconnect with G-d in the way we were created, the damaged link between us would need to be repaired, and only the force which created it could do so. So G-d’s creative force entered into the physical realm. Think 'sphere in flatland' mentality. Or, that which is far beyond our mere three perceived dimensions of space and half dimension of time forcing itself into a physical body in our world within time. That in itself is an unimaginable sacrifice. This part of G-d that brought everything into existence became in itself contained within one human being. But Jesus' purpose in doing so would be the necessity to overcome the stranglehold that Satan had on the human soul through sin. The physical manifestation of perfection and Love taking on all the sins of mankind as if He Himself had committed them. - Jesus’ sufferings were just beginning with the physical pain. In taking on the sin of humanity, He had to experience what it would be like to be separate from G-d for all time. It has been said that He suffered an eternity of this. The dimension of time is a product of the physical world, so we cannot fully comprehend what this means. But G-d essentially ‘disowned’ Jesus in order to achieve this. How could it be assumed that Jesus did not suffer? The fact that He knew that He would be resurrected would not remove the physical, emotional, and spiritual pain and emptiness He felt from in hell. - In reading the message the way it was written, there is no room for the belief that doing what you consider good works can ‘get you in’ to heaven. It is a posture of the heart before over the mind. In accepting the suffering Jesus endured by taking our sin into Him, we are accepting the redemption through Christ that is perfection in G-d’s eyes. Only through faith do we receive this grace, no one human can earn it over another.