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Did He Have to Die

By Saint Vincent Ferrer

I would have you know that in the science of the­ology there is a question whether any other act of Christ's except his death would have sufficed for the redemption of the human race, or whether his death was necessary for our redemption? Doctors of theology have solved this question in two ways. The first conclu­sion is that, if we speak according to the dignity of his Divine Personality we say that any act of his, any fatigue that he suffered, even without his death, would have sufficed to redeem the human race; the reason being that Christ, inasmuch as he is God, possesses infinite power in all that he does.

The same is true even of his sacred humanity, inasmuch as that one prayer or tear, one drop of his blood, having respect to his divinity, would have sufficed for the redemption of the human race. David realized this in the 139th Psalm, where he said: "I will praise you for you are fearfully magnified: wonderful are your works and my soul knows well" (139:14). David, in prophetic spirit, spoke of the King Messiah. Fearfully, because of the infinite power of his divinity; magnified, because of his humanity.

The second conclusion is that, if we speak of Jesus Christ according to the ordinances of God given in the Law of Moses and the Prophets, then it was necessary for him to die, that death might repay the debt of death: for, after man had been delivered to death on account of Adam's sin, and since Christ willed to deliver the hu­man race, it was necessary that he should die. Whence Christ, by his death, has delivered us from a twofold death; that is, from bodily death by our resurrection at the Last Day, and from spiritual death by baptism.

 Saint Vincent Ferrer (who died in 1418) was a Spanish Dominican preacher.