The "higher being God responds to" might make sense to some of they go with the whole "Elohim", "midst of the gods" thing that related to the OT, but by the NT monotheism was a lot more firmly established. So with Yahweh being the one who has all the power and thus has no higher authority, he's the one who makes the rules regarding salvation.
I think there might be a few verses from the OT that talks about God loving us as well, but I'll need to find them...
A god who is defined as Love and forgiveness by many should have more than a couple of passages that are favorable to that position. God is vane, vengeful, angry, and has all the failings of man. To me he is the product of mans flaws because he is a product of mans mind. The reason that god is as he is described is because he reflects the culture and people at the time when the old testament was written. In my opinion Jesus is probably an amalgam of people and stories written as if it was one person an embellished over the decades of the first century. All one needs to do is look at Jehovah's Witness's, and or Joseph Smith's mormans, to realize how quickly a man can be endowed with mythical powers. Look at all the religions that have sprung up in the relatively modern age and imagine how much easier the game of telephone could have made someone walk on water back in the days of magic and mystery.
As for the higher god, I think you misunderstand the point I was trying to make. The only way that the jesus story makes sense is if god was sacrificing jesus to satisfy a higher beings need for a blood sacrifice. If god wanted to forgive he could simply forgive (especially considering that he is forgiveness and love) to torture and kill oneself to make oneself forgive is plain and outright stupidity/insanity. Now if god of love had a vengeful despotic god in charge of him, payment in blood makes sense.
1) God creates man
2) God creates rules and punishments (knowing that man will absolutely by design fail)
3) God is angry (that his creation did exactly as his creation was designed. and allows another failed creation (the devil) to influence them.)
4) God sets up a test he knows will fail (he is all knowing, all powerful)
5) God punishes his creation by making it breed more things that are bound to fail (and allows the devil to assist in pissing him off and corrupting man further)
6) God gets pissed and kills off all people in a flood and within a cosmic nanosecond man fails again (again god fully knew this would happen)
7) God squashes attempts to build a tower to heaven (strange story one would think that the space program should have spawned new cultures and people to
....insure we never made it to space lol)
Now when we last left off god was pissed off at his creation that he has attempted to reboot several times and he stubbornly refuses to reprogram to address the glitches.
God now really pissed off at all the sins against his arbitrary rules (he knew man could not follow) decides that he wants to forgive mans evil nature.
9) God hatches a plan that will make him happy.
10) He will come to earth as a human and .
.....A) Allow people to sin by murdering him
.....B) Through this sin god is made happy by allowing himself/his son be tortured and murdered
.....C) Man by committing this sin is now in gods good graces is forgiven because they murdered him.
.....D) God's son/god gave his life to protect us from himself and he was murdered to make himself happy.
Something about 1 - 9 does not make sense but luckily we have 10 which clears things up with a ton of confusion.
Ps. All this while remaining invisible and stubbornly refusing to interact or correct peoples errant belief systems, allowing for many false teachings to be spread in his name. Hoping that man's fallible mind will come to the right conclusion by faith (the worst most unreliable path to truth.) with the errant thought that free will is corrupt by evidence.