Atonement theories

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by TP, May 1, 2005.

  1. TP

    TP
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    Greetings,

    What did Jesus do by dying on the cross? How does his dying acheive atonement with God? There are many different theories:

    Christus Victor(ransom) theory: Somehow the devil had a hold over humanity. Jesus gave himself over to the devil as a Ransom. The devil did not expect the resurrection so the Resurrection is a victory of satan, a victory over sin and death. (The obvious atonement theory found in CS Lewis -the lion, the witch and the wardrobe).

    Satisfaction theory: Sin is an infinite affront to God. Jesus came into the world and offered himself to recover what was owed to God. Jesus gave satisfaction. This theory came in around AD 1000.

    Penal Substitution theory: This takes Satisfaction theory into a different direction. We are in judgement before God and deserve hell. Jesus stands in our place and is judged in our stead. God then punishes his Son for our sins. This was in development by the reformers. (In my mind is a terrible unjust concept of God).

    Moral theory: Jesus died on the cross to show us how to live as a Christian. He offers us a model.

    As you realize, there is NO theological precision in a One or two line explanation of a theological theory. Please correct any MAJOR flaws, but don't get to picky on the little things.

    I was just wondering about Why Jesus had to die on the cross? How did his death atone for sins? My guess the baptist would be some form of Penal Subsitution. The Catholics tend toward Satisfaction theory. However, the First 1000 years of the Chruch is the Ransom Theory(Christus Victor). There is a book out there by a Lutheran theologian who even things that Ransom theory was Luther's preferred theory(at least from this preaching).

    peace
     
  2. BobRyan

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    WE OWE the debt of sin -- Romans 6 -- "The WAGES of sin is death" (in this case the second death).

    In Luke 12 we are told that the debt that each person owes is specific to the dees and understanding of that person "to him who KNEW the will of God and did it not - of him MUCH will be required".

    Christ came and suffered in the amount OWED by the entire human race "CHrist tasted the sufferings of death for EVERY MAN" Heb 2.

    Christ "is the Atoning SACRIFICE for OUR sins and NOT For OUR sins only but for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD" John 2.

    Christ Paid our debt TAKING the blow of punish in our place for US "to WHOM the stroke was DUE" Isaiah 53..

    The substitutionary DEATH of Christ IN OUR PLACE is the model of "Atonement" that was outlined almost 1500 years before Christ - in Lev 16.

    It is the correct model.

    God is not "paid by torturing God the Son". But the DEBT OWED is exactly measured (the 2nd death suffering owed by EACH person in all of time) and it is THAT amount that is PAID in suffering as Christd "tasted the sufferings of death for every one of mankind" Heb 2.

    This means that the cruelty of the Romans and of the Jews -- had almost no affect at all on "the debt paid". It was ADDED suffering and ADDED torment -- at the hands of sinful men.

    The REAL debt is the debt GOD the Father measured out and poured into the cup of suffering that Christ had to endure in our behalf.

    A cup that encompassed ALL the suffering owed by all the sinners in all of time. This Gospel concept may not be familiar to Roman Catholics from what I have seen on this board.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  3. billwald

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    Why is pain God's "medium of exchange?"
     
  4. BobRyan

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    God question. There appears to be a sin-suffering economy. Sinners "owe" accordig to their sins (Luke 12) and Christ "Pays" in suffering and so "tastes the sufferings of death for every one of mankind" Heb 2 the ones to whom "the stroke was due" Is 53.

    The punishment "fits the crime" and is proportional for that crime vs other crimes.

    Why does justive involve suffering?

    What is the purpose of suffering within the context of "justice"?

    Is it to "teach" the citizens of hell (or lake of fire) that they should not sin?

    If so - it never "reforms" them and so "fails".

    Is it to "teach the righteous something"? I think so.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  5. icthus

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    TP, you say:

    "Penal Substitution theory: This takes Satisfaction theory into a different direction. We are in judgement before God and deserve hell. Jesus stands in our place and is judged in our stead. God then punishes his Son for our sins. This was in development by the reformers. (In my mind is a terrible unjust concept of God)"

    I can't from the Bible see any other way in understanding the doctrine of the Atonement, than "Penal Substitution". Firstly, I would like to point out that I am NOT "reformed", in my theology. But, on this very important doctrine, I would stand with their (the Reformer's) position as being basically Biblical.

    One of the main passages for Penal Subsitiution, is found in Paul's Epistle to the Galatians:
    ""Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us" (3:13)"

    Paul says in verse 10, that we were "under the curse" of God ("wrath" of God in John 3:36). the Greek preposition "hupo" (under) is used in the sense of being "under the force or power of someone or something" as in the "curse of God" because of our sins.

    Christ then becomes "a curse for us". Here, the preposition "huper" (for) is used, with the meaning of "on behalf of, as though bending over to protect...As a service is often rendered on behalf of another by being offered in his stead" (Dr Samuel Green; Grammar, p.251,252). Likewise Paul says, "He died for (huper) our sins" (1 Corinthians 15:3), and Galatians 1:4, "Who gave Himself for (huper) our sins"

    Jesus Christ, Who is sinless, was the only Person Who could make Atonement for the sins of the whole world. Scripture is very clear to the fcat, that, "without the shedding of blood, there is no remission" (Hebrews 9:22). No man, however good he might have been, could ever "satisfy" the Just demands of a Holy God, for the sins of the world. Jesus Christ, Who being both fully God and fully Man, is alble to do this.

    Paul in his Second Epistle ro the Corinthians, sums this up.

    "For Him Who knew no sin, He made sin for (huper) us, that we might become the Righteousness of God in Him" (5:21)

    Not that Jesus became "a sinner" as some teach; but here by taking upon Himself our sins, Jesus was "made" (considered) by God, the "satisfaction" of the penalty that was due to us. And took upon Himself the guilt of the world, so that, when one should turn to Jesus as Saviour, and are thus born-again, God, because of the finished work of Jesus, will "credit" to our account, the "Righteousness of Christ". This is based 100% on the work of Jesus Christ, and appropiated only through faith in the blood of Jesus Christ, without any effort from ourselves.

    I see no other way of showing the Biblical position on the Atonement.
     
  6. TP

    TP
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    Greetings,

    In the Ransom theory, there are passages that Jesus was ransomed for us. It never says who the ransom was payed to. If satan had some hold over humanity, then Satan gave up his hold over humanity for Jesus, and he killed his prize thinking he was victorious. He never dreamed of the resurrection. Through the Resurrection Jesus was victorious over sin and death, triumphed over Satan, and Freed all humanity. If nothing else, this preaches well. There is something inside of me that enjoys this theory, however it is repugnant to think that Satan would have any control over people, or why a ransom would be needed. (This is the theology of the Lion, the witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis)

    The satisfaction theory plays well to the Medieval mindset of honor due a person. However, it plays less well in our society where honor, and satisfaction means less(or nothing). However, this tends to be the Catholic position.

    Peter Abelards Moral theory would appeal to the modern mindset, but would/could lead to a pelagian idea of salvation. This could be dangerous.

    My problem with Penal substitution is the fact that we have just God. It would be totally UNJUST for God to punish an innocent person in the place of a guilty person. That flies in the face of justice. If God were NOT the punisher, if God was NOT the one behind retribution, then this theory could make more sense.

    peace
     
  7. icthus

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    You have to bear in mind, that God satisfies Himself, since Hesus Christ is both God and Man. In this case, no Person outside the Trinity was "punished". Jesus met the Just requirements that His own holiness demanded, and paid the penalty for our sins. This is the only possible answer, since no mere human could every make Atonement for our sins. Neither of the other "theories" does justice to the Glory of God.
     
  8. BobRyan

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    #1. Satan can never "be paid" for anything. He is a loyal angel that become a rebell and therefore is not "owed" anything by anyone in terms of sin or ransome or debt paid.

    #2. The only thing "prepared for him" is fiery hell Matt 10.

    #3. But he is called the god of this world (2Cor 4) and he did offer to give up his claim on the world to Christ - in exchange for a moment of worship/adoration. In Job Satan comes to the council of Job 1 and 2 representing the earth. A dominion Adam had to have given up. But Adam only held it as a steward of God -- since the earth is still the Lord's and all it contains. God is CREATOR still.

    #4. The "Atoning Sacrifice" idea is in 1John 2:2 not the dark ages. It is in Isaiah 53 -- not the dark ages. It is in 2Cor 5 -- not the dark ages.

    Your claim above is that 2Cor 5:21 and Isaiah 53 are "unjust" since they show the innocent paying the debt owed by the guilty.


    21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.


    And yet the Bible is clear that Christ as "the Atoning Sacrifice" 1John 2:2 paid for OUR SINS and NOT for OUR sins only but for the SINS of the Whole World.

    You may respond with "that is not fair" or with "I hope that text did not get written until the dark ages" -- but neither of those approaches changes the point in the least.

    As for "who is getting paid" - the answer is "no one".

    As for WHO determines how much mankind OWES the answer is "God alone".

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  9. BobRyan

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    As for "how" justice is served ...

    If a murderer is found guilty the laws says he must be removed from society - he must die in a way that is "unpleasant".

    The punishment can NOT be banishment to a palace of pleasure and wealth - yet away from society!

    Law is "preserved" only by enforcing it.

    In the Gospel model the sinner is killed (Romans 6) with Christ and a NEW CREATION is made (2Cor 5) and this is done in a way that causes GOD the most pain possible. Since the new Creation "Loves GOD with all the heart soul and mind" that new creature is pained by anything that causes God pain.

    The Law of God is "preserved" only by "enforcing it". The penalty it demands is paid. Whether it is the lost paying it in hell or Christ on the Cross.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  10. Paul of Eugene

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    I like to think of Christ as becoming one with us Christians. As He becomes one with us, he also takes on our sin and our death, and also dies.

    Then because He is innocent and undeserving of death, He is resurrected. And because I am one with Him, I am to be resurrected also. He takes on my death and sin in order for me to take on His resurrection and sinless eternal life.
     
  11. icthus

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    Hi, Can you give some Biblical support for your position? I do not see this in Scripture myself.
     
  12. BobRyan

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    Paul of Eugene appears to be paraphrasing 2Cor 5.
     
  13. BobRyan

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    This is the key. God ordeained and established the Law of the universe. His Law demands a penalty for sin. That "just requirement" is met in Christ so that anyone to whom Christ extents that requirement-met, will have their own "certificate of debt" (defined by record of their actions and the Laws "evaluation" of those deeds along with the "appropriate suffering" for each of them (Luke 12:42-50)) fully paid and nailed to the cross in Christ.

    God has defined the "basis" upon which forgiveness is extended "IF we CONFESS..HE is faithful and just to FORGIVE"...

    "TO AS MANY AS RECEIVED Him TO THEM He gave the right to be called the children of God". John 1.

    Romans 10 points out the sequence in detail showing that it is first with our mouth that we confess and with our heart that we believe -- and then the following steps of salvation occur.

    And of course - PRIOR to that it is the John 3 work of the Holy Spirit to move upon the heart like the wind and the John 16 work of the Holy Spirit to CONVICT the world of sin and righteousness and judgment and the John 12:32 work to DRAW all mankind that brings us to the point of "choosing" salvation.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  14. billwald

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    Why is physical pain considered more "atoning" than mental pain?
     
  15. Marcia

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    There is no evidence that Jesus did not also suffer mental anguish. In fact, we see that he did as he was on the cross crying out, Why have you abandoned me? He suffered the mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical pain of the penalty on sin for all.

    We can't even begin to comprehend that suffering. Sin brings suffering on all levels, and payment for such a horrendous defiance of God involved suffering. Disobedience to and rebellion against God demands a high cost. Jesus paid that (in the place of those who believe in him).
     
  16. Marcia

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    Satan is not owed anything and Jesus did not give himself over as a ransom to Satan! Satan got access to the world through man's sin and he deceives and destroys, but he is still a creature, and God never lost sovereignty over Satan. In fact, we see in Job where Satan must get permission from God to afflict Job.

    I think all of these are correct, taken together. The Moral theory by itself, however, is insufficient and does not by itself explain the atonement biblically.

    Why do you think penal substitution is unjust? The just thing would be for all of us to go to hell. The penal substitution was an act of mercy toward mankind. Jesus willingly laid his life down to do this.
     
  17. icthus

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    That the death of Jesus was also "lotron" (a ransom) is clear from Scripture. However, I the belief that this "ranson" was paid to Satan, is indeed scandalous. This would make Satan, and not God the offended party, and it would be the wrong person who was being propitiated by the death of Jesus.

    It is important to know why this term was used in the New Testament for Jesus' death.

    "Lutron", the means of loosing; almost always for the price paid for the liberation of those in bonadge...We must also remember that lutron in classical Greek denotes the means of expoation with reference to their intended result...the means of expiation...Even according to classical usage, therefore, it is by no means strange that the death of our Lord, elsewhere designated a sacrifice, should be called lutron, ransom...The ransom price is an expiation or an equivalent for the punishment due, and therefore frees from the consequences of guilt." Dr Hermann Cremer; Biblico-Theological Lexicon of New Testament Greek, p.408)

    Rather than the concept where Jesus pays someone as a "ransom", in our understanding of the term, "the means of loosing" is from our "bondage to sin". This is the "ramsom" that Jesus' death accomplishes, in that He bought out those in bondage to sin, and freed them by His death on the cross. The word, as we have seen, speaks of the "expiation" that the death of Jesus accomplishes, the "freedom from sin"

    This was done by Christ's death on the cross, without any payment being made to anyone else> Rather, it was God Who had been wronged, and it is only God Who is able to free us from any bondage that we might be in. To suggest that the Devil was in any way "appeased", or "paid a price to", is an insult to the Holiness of God, and amounts to blasphemny.
     
  18. BobRyan

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    I am not "sure" that it is.

    In the sin-suffering economy it is the amount (degree and duration) of suffering that must match the debt owed by the specific sin.
     
  19. TP

    TP
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    Greetings,

    You said: Satan is not owed anything

    Response: Granted, God does not owe Satan anything. However, scripture seems to imply that satan has some sort of dominion over the world. When Jesus was tempted, Satan offered quite a lot of worldly power: Jesus didn't say he didn't have the power to give what he promised, rather jesus said that he would not worship him. What sort of control, or dominion did Satan have before Jesus?

    peace
     
  20. BobRyan

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    I agree that there is a "territory" issue with Satan. But that has nothing to do with "paying satan the price of sin".

    The wages of sin - is the 2nd death. Satan GETS to PAY that debt for his sins. It is the "debt" owed according to God's Law -- Satan has no law.

    Satan took advantage of Adam and stole his birthright. But Adam does not "owe satan" any debt of sin or suffering in hell or the 2nd death. Rather the children of Adam "SIDE WITH SATAN" when they reject Christ. They become a part of Satan's dominion - his territory which is all to be destroyed in the lake of fire along with Satan himself.

    The system of "redemption" redeems a lost world in rebellion against God. The rebells "don't owe each other a debt of sin".

    Rebellion is against the King of the Universe - Sovereign God! Satan merely "takes advantage of the system" for a period of time until the rules that God has ordained work out the problem.

    Satan's claim on the earth is no greater than Adam's. Adam held dominion on earth but only in subjection to the Creator who had the highest claim to both earth AND Adam. Satan can not claim MORE rights of ownership than Adam had to lose.

    The debt of sin is defined not by Satan - but by the Law of God - the unchanging sovereign of the universe.

    The suffering it demands as the "wages of sin" had to be paid either by the guilty sinner - or by Christ (or by both in the failing case of a sinner that rejects salvation).

    In Christ,

    Bob
     

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