(Preface, this was an unintended continuation of the previous three posts. It is related but written separately, therefore I am not including it as a "part" of the series on my Thoughts on Hell.)
As I wrote in my discussion on hell, Rene Girard posits that sacrifice was a human construct. As an example, if two tribes were fighting, a scapegoat would be chosen from one of the tribes. They would then sacrifice this scapegoat as a way to end the violence and declare peace. Girard's theory is once they performed the sacrifice, they would say it was done as a requirement of their deity. This became pervasive throughout humanity, where humans would kill a scapegoat and then blame it on their god. (This copying of each other is mimetic behavior, another of his popular theories.)
As it relates to the cross of Christ, the metaphors of Jesus as the perfect sacrifice abound in and out of Scripture. Perhaps the most poignant, though, is that of as a sheep being led to the slaughter. Throughout the New Testament, we are made well aware of the power Jesus commanded: Legions of angels were at His hand and He had enough power to control the weather with His voice. Yet, despite no written command from God for Him to die at our hands, He willingly goes to the cross. (Though, I suppose the scene in Gethsemane makes us understand it is more for selflessness rather than willingness.) As He goes, we have in our mind the words that, “It is better for you that one should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” (John 11:50) This prophetic voice does not negate Girard's theory. Instead, it is actually further backed by the actions of the crowd as they chant “Crucify him, crucify him!” It is not God who demands the sacrifice of His Son, His very self. Rather, it is us humans who believe the sacrifice will appease and bring peace between them and God and them and the Romans.
However, though God did not ordain or demand this act of evil, He did redeem it. We killed God, He proved once and for all He rules over death. We killed God, He showed us how to lay down our lives, even when the reason is not just. We killed God, His love shown through as He spoke to His followers. We killed God, He ended the senseless bloodshed of the sacrificial system of Judaism. He reminded us that burnt sacrifices are nothing without a repentant heart. He will love us regardless of our actions, just as I will love Dante no matter what choices he makes in life. However, just as I will be happiest when Dante makes the most of life, so too does Jesus want us to “have life and have it abundantly.” Though we killed God, He is alive, so let us now live fully!