Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The atonement

The death of Christ should not be seen as the expression of divine anger or even wrath, but as the expression of divine love. It is the gift of God’s son and, at least in some sense, the gift of God’s own self: “God was in Christ . . .” (2 Cor 5:19; MJG). If that is the major emphasis from the satisfaction/sacrificial/penal kind of atonement models, then there may also be room for the satisfaction and penal components as minor sub-plots in the atonement narrative, but only if they can be clearly found in New Testament texts, and only if they retain their minor role in relation to divine, covenantal love.— The Death of the Messiah and the Birth of the New Covenant, page 226

<idle musing>
I give a hearty AMEN to those sentiments! I can't really fathom how Penal Substitution, an idea which isn't even mentioned by the Church Fathers, has come to dominate so much of modern theology of the atonement. Well, that's not true, I can. Sadly.

First, you take a Latin/Roman view of justice, mix thoroughly with a misunderstanding of the curses in Genesis 3, add a healthy dose of shame and works, and what do you get? A mad god who needs placating or he'll blow you to pieces before sending you to hell...

There's a popular saying, "The god of the philosophers is not the God of the Bible." Perhaps we should modify that, "The god of the Penal Substitution model is not the God of the Bible." What do you think?

That's the final excerpt from this wonderful book (with many thanks to Wipf & Stock for the copy). Hope you enjoyed it.
</idle musing>

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