In his book (1918) Bible Mystery and Bible Meaning, the new thought metaphysician Thomas Troward describes the incarnation of God and crucifixion of Jesus Christ as a divine act of devotion and reconciliation.
For Troward, the creative power of our own thought gives rise to all of our experience, both subjective and objective. The divine is the universal mind. The feeling quality of our thoughts determines our rapport with divine and universal principles. The quality of our world, our happiness, and our success in life flow from the universal and divine mind — so long as our own minds (including our feelings, our thoughts, our motives) do not impede its forever forthcoming generosity.
If we are guilty, we thwart this divine flow, for we project a punishing world. If we are fearful, the world becomes fearsome. When fear gets implanted in our consciousness, intractably, the fear enlarges itself and multiplies like a cancer, eventually devouring not only our earthly lives but even our afterlife. We expect to suffer for our misdeeds. Guilt-ridden, we give obeisance to a vengeful deity, who metes out punishments and purgatories, supervising us while keeping count of our errors and sins.
How may our ravages of guilt be expunged, and our fears be eradicated? How may the forbidding specter of a vindictive deity be stamped out? And how may we rob this deity of his arsenal, containing menacing images (fiery lakes, wailing, gnashing of teeth), so that they cease to torment our psyche?
The human being craves an image of Divine Love — a Suggestion (in Troward’s words) — that will be forceful enough to overpower the deep-seated Suggestion of guilt and punishment.
God is eternal and deathless. God, the one who is not required to die — nor to suffer –voluntarily submits (by the crucifixion) to suffering and death. The incarnation (namely, that the deity takes the form of a human being, i.e. Jesus) demonstrates God’s compassionate and empathic embrace of the human being, the very human whom God created in God’s own image. Not content merely to enter into human experience, God makes himself a victim, a prisoner, and a hostage to the most fearsome and gruesome punishment that can be conceived. On the cross, the deity through Jesus Christ grapples with the fear and guilt that inevitably counter pain and condemnation.
This sacrifice on God’s part is an act of consummate love for it eradicates the thing that humans most fear: punishment, guilt, fear, and the image of a wrathful, vindictive god.
How does the divine sacrifice cut off, and cast away, this burdensome segment of the human predicament? By suffering with us (so I infer from Troward’s exposition), God demonstrates that the divine character is not such as to punish and impute guilt. Rather Christ forgives and suffers undeserved indignities with an innocent and pure motive.
“If the Universal Spirit could thus inspire one to die for us who was already beyond the necessity of death, then It cannot be less loving in the bulk than it has shown Itself in the sample.” Here, Troward interprets the crucifixion as proof (citing St Paul) that “there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus” and “if God be for us, who can be against us?”
The “great Sacrifice” of God through Jesus Christ serves to link the human mind to the divine and universal mind by bonds of trust, devotion, and gratitude. All of our human life prospers when our core attitudes are renovated based on this example of divine love.