Here is an interesting post. I sort of understand the complaint that Mel and Insanitybytes22 have with the theory of Penal Substitutionary Atonement, but I doubt there is a better “theory.” All we have are theories. That’s why this is one of those arguments that leaves me scratching my head. If any of us knows exactly what happened when Jesus died on that cross, none of us knows how to explain it well.
That said, I appreciate the fact Mel explained his own view. It helps to understand Insanitybytes22’s gripe.
For what it is worth what do I think? What the Bible is clear about is that God hates sin. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they sinned, and they bequeathed to us the consequences of that sin.
What did God do? He promised a Redeemer. As it happens, the Jews had almost no idea how this Redeemer, this Messiah, would fulfill His mission.
What do we know after the fact? Jesus, who is One with the Father, suffered and died for us. Was it to pay the price for our sins, or because God allowed the most vile of demons (one of His creations) to steal two naive souls from Paradise? In the first case we can make God appear hateful. In the second we can make Him seem like a clumsy all-powerful klutz.
So what is the answer? Who crucified Jesus? Acts 2 records that the Apostle Peter told the Jews that they had killed Him. The Gospels make it clear that Gentiles put Jesus on that cross too.
Fulfilling the wishes of the Father Jesus laid down His life for us. He allowed sinful people engaged in the most heinous sin to cruelly murder Him. His sacrifice somehow makes those who repent and believe in Jesus acceptable to God. Why? We don’t know. We also don’t know why the sin of Adam and Eve condemned all their progeny, including us, to death. Is it not the wisdom of God, not the wisdom of man, that brings salvation (see 1 Corinthians 1:18-31). Which of us can understand the Mind of God?
Should we try to understand this mystery? Yes. Should we emphasize the fact that Jesus Christ’s death on the cross was an act of love? Yes, but how do we emphasize the love God has for us over His wrath against sin? We do so by remembering that while we were still sinners He died for us, that it was our sin, not the Father’s wrath, that made His death on that cross necessary for our redemption.
I was in an interesting conversation over at Insanitybytes22’s blog with her post, “A Wrinkle in Time….” The subject was about the atonement. You might be surprised to hear this if you’ve only heard one version of the atonement but, historically speaking, this subject is one the most controversial topics in Christianity.
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