The following is a rebuttal to William P. Young’s distortion of the cross of Christ, in which Mr. Young claims that the cross originated with men rather than with God.
I will begin with an excerpt from William P. Young’s new book, Lies We Believe about God:
Who originated the Cross?
If God did, then we worship a cosmic abuser, who in Divine Wisdom created a means to torture human beings in the most painful and abhorrent manner. Frankly, it is often this very cruel and monstrous god that the atheist refuses to acknowledge or grant credibility in any sense. And rightly so. Better no god at all, than this one.
The alternative is that the Cross originated with us human beings. This deviant device is the iconic manifestation of our blind commitment to darkness. It is our ultimate desecration of the goodness and loving intent of God to create, an intent that is focused on the human creation. It is the ultimate fist raised against God.
And how did God respond to this profound brokenness?
God submitted to it. God climbed willingly onto our torture device and met us at the deepest and darkest place of our diabolical imprisonment to our own lies, and by submitting once and for all, God destroyed its power. Jesus is God’s best, given willingly and in opposition to our worst, the Cross.
When did God submit? Not only in Jesus incarnate but before the creation of the world, according to Scriptures (Revelation 13: 8). God knew going into the activity of creation what the cost would be. That God’s own children, this highest order of creation, would one day make the final attempt to kill Life.
And how would we religious people interpret this sacrifice? We would declare that it was God who killed Jesus, slaughtering Him as a necessary appeasement for His bloodthirsty need for justice.
To claim that the cross did not originate with God, but with man, is to diminish the cross of it’s saving power. Man’s wisdom cannot save, and if the cross had originated with men, there would be no salvation through the cross.
According to the apostle Paul, the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are saved, it is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.” So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:18-24 NLT
To undermine the cross by attributing it to the wisdom of men, as Mr. Young has done, is to undermine all the work of redemption accomplished through Jesus Christ who through the eternal spirit, offered himself without spot to God to cleansed us from our sins so that we may serve the living God ~ Hebrews 9:14.
The scriptures testify, without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins ~ Hebrews 9:22, and Paul tells us that Jesus reconciled us to God through the blood of his cross ~ Colossians 1:20.
Contrary to Mr. Young’s assertion, the cross was predetermined by God and those who crucified Jesus were unknowingly accomplishing that which God had ordained. Peter preaching to his Jewish brethren says: brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. ~ Acts 3:17-18
In Acts 4 we read the following:
26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.
27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
28 For to do whatsoever THY HAND AND THY COUNSEL DETERMINED BEFORE TO BE DONE. ~ Acts 4:26-28
According to the Bible, Jesus is the foundation stone of the house of God. Jesus was rejected by the people but chosen by God: The stone the builders rejected, is the precious cornerstone chosen by God. Jesus referred to this as THE LORD’S DOING and marvelous in our eyes. ~ Matthew 21:42
It was God’s will for Jesus lay down his life ~ John 10:14-18; 14:28-31. Jesus did not die on the cross in submission to the will of men. Jesus died on the cross in submission to the will of God ~ Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 5:7-9.
He gave himself for us to redeem us with his precious blood, and this was ORDAINED by God from the beginning.
18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20 Who verily was FOREORDAINED BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, but was manifest in these last times for you… ~ 1 Peter 1:18-20.
Peter refers to Jesus as a lamb without blemish and without spot, echoing the typology in the old testament sacrifices which pointed to Christ.
The blood of the Passover lamb by which Israel was redeemed from Egyptian slavery, and the atonement sacrifices offered in the tabernacle and temple, and the feasts observed by Israel; all had a foreshadowing of the redemptive work of Christ. God established his testimony in Israel and the prophets testified of it as well, for they prophesied of Jesus who was yet to come.
After his resurrection, Jesus opened his disciples understanding to the scriptures which testified of him. Jesus revealed to them that things they had just witnessed regarding his death and resurrection were spoken of in the Law of Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets ~ Luke 24:44-48.
That the scriptures testified of the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow, speaks to the fact that the cross of Christ was the wisdom of God and not the wisdom of men, for in previous ages it was hidden from men.
6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. ~ 1 Corinthians 2:6-8
The cross is the testimony of God ~ 1 Corinthians 1:1-2, and prophets who testified of the sufferings of Christ did so, not by the wisdom of men, but by the wisdom of God.
The apostle Peter tells us that the prophets testified beforehand concerning the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow, BY THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST which was in them ~ 1 Peter 1:11
The cross through which salvation has come is of God, and not of men.
Truly my soul waiteth upon God: FROM HIM cometh my salvation. ~ Psalm 62:1