The Incoherency of Divine Sacrifice
To continue a theme I began last year at this time, I'd like to look at the sacrifice of Jesus on "Good Friday."
It seems to me that, even if one were to accept the basic tenets of Christianity (original sin, salvation, etc), there is no case that can be made to show that the death of Jesus could be in any way compensatory.
According to Christian doctrine, Jesus was both god and man, existing in a so-called "hypostatic union." Interestingly, there's really nothing conclusive in the Bible to back this up- plenty of references to Jesus as the human "Son of God" in the Gospels, and plenty of references by Paul about "Christ Jesus" as a divine entity, but no verses that establish this union explicitly. This presented a problem for early Christians, since it seemed to be logically inconsistent to teach that the sacrifice of God was necessary for salvation, and yet their scriptures only had the sacrifice of a man, however special and priveleged he might have been. The only solution, of course, when you're presented with two contradictory ideas which must both be accepted, is to abandon yourself to incoherency.
This doctrine is also known as the "mystical union," and I think this phrase is more appropriate, because as I've mentioned before, any time the word "mystical" is used in theology, it's an obvious clue that rationality has flown out the door. The very definition of "mystical" includes the meaning of "unintelligible." Therefore, any appeal to this teaching dissolves into incoherence; it is a simple assertion.
To say that Jesus had both a "divine" and a "human" nature is totally incoherent, especially in the Christian worldview. God is infinite, and man is finite- there is no way to resolve these two concepts in one entity. Thus, to argue for the compensatory sacrifice of Jesus is to argue something which cannot logically exist. Even if you were to somehow accept the assertion of the hypostatic union, the crucifixion of an infinite entity is no sacrifice at all. Even if it wasn't completely incoherent, the three-day sojourn of Jesus in Hell is but an infinitesimal inconvenience, compared to all of eternity.
Ironically, even if the sacrifice of Good Friday wasn't incoherent, it's insignificant.