Atonement Theory


(system) #1

I get wary when a theory's backers take on the affect of being tough-minded and Biblical, not to mention traditional thus True.

I think something gets lost. We all recognize that animal blood did not really please God nor actually in some sympathetic way get rid of a person's sin. But then we get to Jesus' blood. . .

While Ford was thundering away, perhaps Professor Guy was onto something with all these hints about metaphors and God working to transform our culture.

An analogy: As animal blood was to the Jews of the First Testament times, Jesus' blood was to early Christians. It seems that both pointed believers higher than the historical events happening in front of them.

I'm starting to notice a pattern - a theology gets into trouble when it has to reconstitute a past cultural practice that we no longer find ethical to explain itself.

Beyond the death metaphor, the principle through animal and Man sacrifice is that God will always forgive our sins and lead us to better ethical habits when we ask.

Now, of course, this just will not make sense to some, especially those emotionally tied to the mega-meaning of blood dripping down Jesus' face for their sin. They may have kicked some serious habit and so to them there is power in the blood.

Fair enough. But perhaps those on the forensic side can give others some room to see in Christ's life power to live a life more like His and be free from the burden of works for salvation.

Yes, the fact is that there are some seemingly confusing scripture texts - even within books and sentences by Ellen White that appeal to both sides.

Yet Christ directly said, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. . .he didn't say, my blood is the Way. . .

It's significant that our communion ritual includes both his example of body and blood (which really happened) but also us following Christ's example in humbling our selfish natures are serving others. We act out Christ's moral influence.

Should we be careful not to force a cultural metaphor for God's justice to crowd out the principle? We're saved by grace, by faith in everything about Jesus (not just one part) God's gift to creation.

Thus, in forming community around our God, let's not let a historical animal or human death metaphor end the continuing revelation of God's always offered new life.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/949