(Apparently, my comments here were treated as personal attacks. I somewhat disagree, but I guess their culture is just more sensitive to such strong criticism.)
Great, another comment on Scot McKnight’s blog that was subsequently removed.
My comment as follows:
(Before I begin, I must acknowledge that I dislike Keller because I find him incompetent compared to other far better theologians. The following comments will reflect this bias of mine.)
Keller’s statements here are very general. It is difficult to find fault with such general statements, except perhaps that his statements are too general and therefore contain little meaning.
Keller purports to show that (1) Forgiveness, and (2) Love, require sacrifice. Yes, love and forgiveness generally requires sacrifice generally. But Keller — seemingly based on these 2 points — then leads us to the conclusion that the specific sacrifice of the crucifixion is therefore necessary. I have two descriptions for his method of argument here: “red herring”, and “non sequitur”.
Also, just because the cross accomplishes (A) — where (A) could refer to forgiveness, love, justice, reversal, etc. — doesn’t mean that (A) can only be accomplished by the cross. That the cross necessarily leads to (A) does not mean that (A) necessarily requires the cross. Keller’s method here is guilty of the formal fallacy of “affirming the consequent”.
The above criticisms will make more sense to people who are familiar with basic logic. Otherwise, I’m afraid that those who are not logically inclined will easily be hoodwinked by such sophistry.
Anyway, having expressed my dissatisfaction with Keller’s “answers”, I would like to share the answer that the bible does explicitly mention: Jesus’s crucifixion was necessary because it was part of God’s sovereign plan of (new) creation, to rescue the world from sin and death, to put the world to rights. It is necessary simply because it is God’s sovereign plan. … Any other argument for the necessity of the cross tends to be based on dubious conjecture, and usually implies that God could not have done it any other way (and that’s a sign of intellectual arrogance right there).
The cross of Christ was necessary because it was the way God intended it to be, i.e. His plan.
Common English Bible (CEB)
8 My plans aren’t your plans,
nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
9 Just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my plans than your plans.
From 1 Cor 1:17-18 (CEB),
“And Christ didn’t send me to preach the good news with clever words so that Christ’s cross won’t be emptied of its meaning. The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are being destroyed. But it is the power of God for those of us who are being saved.”
On a final note: I feel that it makes little sense to guess at God’s motive for doing what He does (especially where scripture is silent). It makes far more sense to examine the effects. One of the clearest effects (ironically the one most ignored by many), is the cleansing/expiation effected by the message of the cross.