Writings by George Burgess (1829-1905)
DID JESUS DIE INSTEAD OF MANKIND?
No: - Natural self-love is a divine quality and Gift. But many with misguided self-love, who are willing for someone else to bear the punishment for their sins in their stead, have tried to build up an impossible doctrine – namely that Jesus died instead of mankind. That his death paid the debt for man’s sins, due from men, to God. That those who truly believe in Jesus as having paid the debt for their sins will be “saved” from their own deserved punishment, and for those who do not believe that Jesus has paid the debt for their sins. Notwithstanding Jesus, as it is said – having already paid their debt, and satisfied JUSTICE.
Now – to say that God will make any portion of mankind pay Him, their debt, if Jesus has already paid it, is to allow that God is more unjust than man. The idea is illogical – is below human Reason – and below human law. But the whole debt theory is a delusion. It does not rise to a possibility.
Why – Jesus himself never taught that he should pay the debt for men’s sins, in their stead – either by his death, or in any other way. For he must have known that ever since human life began – every living being has ever borne the punishment, or the natural effects, of his own acts, or sins. There never has been, and never can be, one single exception to this eternal law of cause and effect, in its relation to every human Individuality.
Of course, Jesus suffered during his mission, and sacrificed his life in his work, for the good of others – exactly, and only, as hosts of good and divine men have also suffered and died. If it were possible that any one being could and did suffer the natural results, and pay off the debts for all men’s sins, in their stead – and die in their stead. Then all mankind would be clear, and be “saved” from the effects of their sins herein this world, and also from death itself. But no such arrangement is possible, and God’s unalterable principles of Divine Government concerning mankind, including Individual Responsibility, have always been the same. We know that all the countless millions, of all time, and of all peoples, and nations, and tongues, heathens and Christians alike have forever, on this earth, been rewarded for their own works, both good and bad, and then in their own course have died, just as though Jesus had never lived and died at all.
No other plan is possible, for in relation to every single act, in every department of human existence – Evil, Good, Sorrow, Joy, Sickness, Health, Death, and Life – “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” – in due proportions, here in this world, and in any other world. For the same law of rewards for good and evil is bound to go with all conscious, intelligent beings, into the Spirit World to which they are hastening.
George Burgess – February 1899