propitiation compared to atonement

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by agedman, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. agedman

    agedman
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    There is a difference in these two words.

    I wonder if the BB folks would be interested in exploring the likes and differences between the words "propitiation" and "atonement?"

    propitiate means basically to appease or satisfy.

    Example: if one works to bring to a god some offering to assuage what they might consider the threat of punishment or some perceived need of favor - such as casting the maid into the volcano - that is appeasement - propitiation.

    Hilasterion is the Greek word translated as propitiation in the New Testament. It actually means to cover - an example from the Old Testament would be the act of covering the ark before it was taken from the tabernacle.

    Atonement means to make reparations or amends - such would be like the government making payment to people for inappropriate internment during WWII, or a civil suite seeking a certain financial settlement.

    It is indeed worthy to note that throughout the New Testament the Greek word katallage is better translated reconciliation or reconciled as is done in the NASB (See Romans 5 for example).

    I have tried to establish a short definition for each, and an extremely brief application to Scriptures in each case.

    But this is certainly not exhaustive, and perhaps some change of both definition and application will need to be made as the thread is pursued.

    So, BB.

    How then does the two words apply to the believer, and to what extent do the two words apply to God?


    Note:
    For those who are biased to desire that this thread turn into some cal/arm discussion, there is absolutely NO intent in the OP for that to be a question raised.




     
  2. agedman

    agedman
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    Perhaps everyone knows the difference between "propitiation" (satisfaction) and atonement (reconciliation), already.

    OK.
     
  3. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    This is essentially true, as far as it goes, but the words are virtually identical. There is no real difference. The word "atone" is used to define the word "expiate" which, as you have said, defines the word "propitiation" from the New Testament. One of the primary words translated "atonement" in the Old Testament -- kaphar -- is defined using the word "propitiate."
     
  4. agedman

    agedman
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    Actually, "kaphar" means cover (even has a similar sound - when Texanized) :)

    Throughout the NT, the word used for "atonement" in the KJV (see Romans 5, 11) is actually reconcile. Never is the word used that God is reconciled to man, but that man is reconciled to God.

    For instance:

    Let's say that we have an old fashioned church wide Hatfield and McCoy dispute in which damage was done to the building and grounds as well as to each other. You and I work to bring peace and settle the dispute. The work of settling the dispute is atonement (reconciliation). We reconcile (atone) both sides back to the fellowship.

    But what of the damages done to the building, grounds, and each other?
    That is when the word "propitiation" enters the picture.

    It would be as if you ( not me, I'm too poor) paid any damages made by the destitute Hatfields and McCoys because they couldn't and had no means of making such a payment for their sin.

    Just as WE are reconciled to God (never the opposite) through Christ, Christ also provides all payment for the reconciliation. That payment is propitiation.

    Another word for "propitiation" is ransom paid or satisfaction of debt.

    Folks, the words in English may often be changed and mixed (even by me) when in truth, they represent two different aspects of the work of Christ.

    One brings us into a right relationship with God.

    One brings us into a zero account of owing God any "wages of sin."

    In the three places (Romans 3, 1 John 2, and 1 John 4) propitiation is used, it is always in relation to payment for our sins.

    Atonement/reconcile/reconciliation is always used as bringing about the right relationship in the NT. In the OT, the atonement sacrifices were offerings picturing or establishing right relationship with God and man.

    Some might attempt to read the OT sacrificial atonement as "payment" but nearly all scholars understand that such sacrifices did not make satisfactory payment so must be viewed as providing temporary relationship venues and looking forward to the sacrifice of the true lamb of God.

    OT offerings and sacrifices could never be a payment for sin. That responsibility could only be fulfilled by Christ?

    Christ is the full propitiation (sin payment) to provide complete atonement (reconciliation) to God.
     
  5. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    I think you're trying to double-split what is a very fine hair to begin with, and I'm not sure why. The words "propitiation" and "atonement" mean very nearly the same thing. There is a sense of being reconciled through the propitiationary death of Christ, so there might be slightly more to the word than there is to the word "atonement." However, one must atone for sins, and cannot atone for his own, to be reconciled to begin with.

    Add by the way, that's only part of the definition of kaphar.

    http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/hebrew/nas/kaphar.html
     
    #5 thisnumbersdisconnected, Nov 1, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2013
  6. agedman

    agedman
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    I'll be a bit repetative in this post so folks will follow the thinking without having to look back at previous posts.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>

    We agree that when the Ark was taken from the tabernacle it was "kaphar" (covered).

    Kaphar is: appease 1, appease* 1, atone 3, atoned 2, atonement is made 1, atonement shall be made 1, atonement was made 1, atoning 1, canceled 1, expiation can be made 1, forgave 1, forgive 4, forgiven 5, made atonement 3, make atonement 71, makes atonement 2, making atonement 1, pardon
    (taken from the link given by thisnumbersdisconnected)

    The Ark was not the place of sacrifice, nor did sacrifice take place in the presence of the Ark. The blood of the sacrifice was brought to the Ark and sprinkled on the "mercy seat," in private, once a year. When the Ark was exposed to the people when moved from place to place it was covered (kaphar).

    In the OT, the use of the word for the work of the sacrifice is atonement; however, did any sacrifice of the old testament completely satisfy God's requirement?

    No, it "covered" the sin, not "removed the sin."

    In every case when the offerings and sacrifices were presented, (even those for sin), ALL were a picture of the requirement that God demanded for sin - death. But the Scriptures state that bulls and such could not do what Christ did on the Cross.

    Remember, Jesus said, "Don't touch me - I have to go visit the Father." Yet, was He not later touched without rebuke? The sacrifice of Christ presented to the "mercy seat" allowed for complete payment (propitiation) of the "wages of sin."

    Note to folks: If you see pictures of the Ark uncovered being carried from place to place - the picture is wrong.

    Throughout the OT, atonement is used as a word which specified a covering of sin.

    In the NT the word for propitiation is used because God not only sent His one and only natural born Son to make reconciliation (atonement - covering) between God and man, but to actually pay off "the wages of sin."

    Payment of the sin debt had to be paid - and OT sacrifice was just not up to the requirements of God. THAT payment is propitiation.

    The words are NOT the same, nor do they mean the same - they are two different works accomplished by Christ.

    Propitiation is finished. There remains no more need to crucify Christ again, in fact the Scriptures state it cannot be done.

    Reconciliation is ongoing.

    Propitiation was made for all humankind, for all ages, and is not removed by God. God never takes back the sacrifice of Christ from humankind. 1 John 2 teaches that (the NIV has the word "atoning" - but it is the WRONG translation of the Greek word - - the NASB has it right) is the truth.


    ONLY those who believe are atoned (reconciled).

    John 3 specifically teaches it is the reconciled that have eternal life. The rest of humankind is condemned - not because of a deficiency in the propitiation, nor a limit to the propitiation, but because a lack of reconciliation that abides in unbelief. God did not initiate the unbelief, nor does God superimpose the unbelief. Humankind are not reconciled to God because humankind does not desire to know God or desire to do other than use His name in derogatory terms. God desires all be saved. He withholds salvation from no humankind. Humankind repulse the reconciliation in unbelief.


    The word propitiate and the word atone (reconcile) are two different words and it is very important that they not be mixed or blended in thinking they are similar. They are not.

    The sin's of the world have been paid for by Christ - there is no more sacrifice - so that God could reconcile - atone - humankind to himself.
     
  7. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Context is everything. Of course the Ark could not remove sin, nor was it the place of sacrifice, but then, kaphar is not translated "atonement" as referencing the Ark, is it?

    Your argument is specious. And you are ignoring the fact that the Thayer Dictionary defines kaphar having an indication of propitiation. It is in the definition I linked. Plus, you did not deal with my point regarding how reconciliation fits into the definition of both words.
     
  8. agedman

    agedman
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    Perhaps this reference link would better answer the thinking than what I have done.

    What is the difference between propitiation and atonement.

    Here is an interesting writing to further clarify propitiation.

    Expiation is included in propitiation, but not a synonym.

    Basically the difference in atonement and propitiation is also how one places reconciliation into the mix.

    Propitiation represents a one time payment for all sins and satisfies the death from sin for humankind. This thinking impacts the way one views such passages as found in Romans 5:
    6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
    7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
    8 But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
    9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
    10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled (atoned) to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled (atoned), we shall be saved by his life.
    11 And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement (reconciliation).
    Atonement is the ongoing work in which the believer is not only once reconciled to God, but continually reconciled.

    They really are not the same, but often blended so seem like the same.

    Throughout the Old and New Testament, atonement is used, and it is repetitive.

    Only in the NT is propitiation used.

    Interesting to note that, at the last judgment, the ones cast into the lake of fire are not cast because of "deeds done" but because the names are not written in the lambs book of life. Such had propitiation (Christ died for the ungodly), but no atonement (reconciliation) because of unbelief.

    Although this is not a Cal/Arm debate, I want to reflect on one continual contention on the BB that this thread would help resolve.

    The lack of understanding of the difference presented by these two words, (in my opinion) is the reason some folks spend pages arguing. When at the root of the problem is a lack of understanding that one (reconciliation) is limited and the other (propitiation) is not. Hence the dispute - often without merit.
     
  9. Thomas Helwys

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    I have read through the thread, and I think your analysis is quite good and accurate.
     

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