Being the omnipotent God, was it necessary for God to send His only beloved Son to the world to save the world? And was it necessary for Jesus to go through His passion and death to save us?
In this episode, my reflection is based on Jn 3:16-18 using the prayer of Lectio Divina. Taking a deep dive on the magnitude of God's Love for us, I also defer to the wisdom of St Thomas Aquinas from the Suma Theologica.
Grace from the reading: Repentance
Definition of Love: Suma Theologica First Part Question 20 Article 1
Love is the first movement of the will.
To Love is to will the good for another - Love is not just a feeling…but it is a choice – a choice to Choose the Good for another, in place of the Good for yourself. There’s always an element of self-sacrifice here.
St. Thomas says in the Suma Theologica that God actually could have saved us in a number of different ways. In other words, he had the power to forgive us simply by declaring us forgiven if he would want to do that.
In Suma Theologica Part 3, Q.1, Article 2, St Thomas Aquinas asked the question: Whether it was necessary for the restoration of the human race that the Word of God should become incarnate?
It would seem that it was not necessary for the reparation of the human race that the Word of God should become incarnate… if the incarnate Word of God restored human nature. He could also have restored it without assuming flesh…For God with His omnipotent power could have restored human nature in many other ways.
First, with regard to faith, which is made more certain by believing God Himself Who speaks; hence Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xi, 2): "In order that man might journey more trustfully toward the truth, the Truth itself, the Son of God, having assumed human nature, established and founded faith."
Secondly, with regard to hope, which is thereby greatly strengthened; hence Augustine says (De Trin. xiii): "Nothing was so necessary for raising our hope as to show us how deeply God loved us. And what could afford us a stronger proof of this than that the Son of God should become a partner with us of human nature?"
Thirdly, with regard to charity, which is greatly enkindled by this; hence Augustine says (De Catech. Rudib. iv): "What greater cause is there of the Lord's coming than to show God's love for us?" And he afterwards adds: "If we have been slow to love, at least let us hasten to love in return."
Fourthly, with regard to well-doing, in which He set us an example; hence Augustine says in a sermon (xxii de Temp.): "Man who might be seen was not to be followed; but God was to be followed, Who could not be seen. And therefore God was made man, that He Who might be seen by man, and Whom man might follow, might be shown to man."
Fifthly, with regard to the full participation of the Divinity, (which is the true bliss of man and end of human life;) … and this is bestowed upon us by Christ's humanity; for Augustine says in a sermon (xiii de Temp.): "God was made man, that man might be made God."
Hence Pope Leo says, in a sermon on the Nativity (xxi), "Weakness is assumed by strength, lowliness by majesty, mortality by eternity, in order that one and the same Mediator of God and men might die in one and rise in the other---for this was our fitting remedy. Unless He was God, He would not have brought a remedy; and unless He was man, He would not have set an example."
What frees the human race from perdition is necessary for the salvation of man. But the mystery of the Incarnation is such; according to Jn. 3:16: "God so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish, but may have life everlasting." Therefore it was necessary for man's salvation that God should become incarnate.
In Suma Theologica Part 3, Q.46, A.3, St Thomas Aquinas asked the question: Why did Jesus have to go to the cross? Wasn’t there some other way he could’ve saved us?
St. Augustine says (De Trin. xiii): "There was no other more suitable way of healing our misery" than by the Passion of Christ …
Therefore, God not only showed us His goodwill but that he loves us with a divine love. That he loves us with a sacrificial love. That he loves us with a love so great that he’s willing to mount the wood of the cross, to be lifted up on the wood of the cross, to taste the suffering and the shame of this horrific death so that we might know that he loves us, that he loves us, and that he wants us to love him in return.
(As it is written in Jn 3:17), “For God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that through him the world might be saved.”