Thoughts on the Atonement Discussion So Far

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This started as an email to Wink, and he encouraged me to post it. I don't really have the patience at the moment to edit it too carefully, so if something seems out of place or not fully explained, remember how it started. I'm not convinced by Wink that there's no substitutionary element to the atonement, but I'm convinced that his view is orthodox, evangelical, and not obviously in conflict with scripture. I still haven't commented on his last post, but I have things to say and will start with them shortly. I did want to say some positive things about what he's doing and make some suggestions to him about further places I'd like to look on this issue besides what I've had access to, and that's what the email was about. Here it is, slightly modified to be for public consumption (and no longer directed to him in the second person).

I really think Wink has hit on something no one's clarified before with separating the penal element and the substitution element. Most of the defenses of substitution seem to be responding to people who reject the penal element entirely, so there's very little I can find that even deals with the substitution element at length. They'll maybe have a paragraph on it and then spend lots of time arguing that Paul's terminology really is forensic, which Wink agrees with, so it doesn't refute anything he's saying. Then at the end they'll say it must be substitution with no further argument.

D.A. Carson seems to be more careful, bringing up substitution only when 'anti' is present, but Wayne Grudem's stuff on it in his Systematic Theology and some of the theological encyclopedia articles I read and much of the argumentation in a recent book on the atonement was simply assuming that once you show a legal sense you must have substitution, which Wink has shown not to follow because of the separability of the penal element and the substitutionary element. I'd be interested to see if the older stuff by Bruce Waltke and Leon Morris makes the same mistake. I haven't looked at Morris' book at all, and that's supposed to be one of the key texts on the subject. I also still haven't reinstalled the IVP reference works that I have on CD-ROM, so I didn't get to them yet. One of the sources I was looking at today referenced an article in one of them, and I want to read it tomorrow if I have time.

I'd also be really curious to see what Charles Hodge says about this sort of thing, but I have no access to him, and his stuff is so dense and so voluminous that it might be hard to find what he says about any particular thing very easily unless you're already well-versed in his work. The real place to look to see if someone has seen that the penal element and the substitution element are separable is the debates at the time of Anselm or so, since the substitution terminology seems to have been new then. If we could find penal terminology without that and then show that Anselm really saw himself as adding something to the discussion as it stood, then I think Wink's claim is established in terms of the development of theology historically, because penal substitution would be an innovation over an already existing forensic view of the atonement that didn't involve substitution.

As I said above, I'll deal with the details of Wink's positive proposal in the comments of the Penal Union post.

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35 Comments

I can tell you part of what Morris says, since I read some stuff from him last night. He says a whole lot on the atonement. He doesn't spend a whole lot of time arguing that it's substitutionary, but rather, the idea that it's substitutionary seems to underlie a lot of what he writes. He does definitely see that the OT day of atonement sacrifice and the scapegoat were substitutionary. The laying of hand on the animal and confessing sin would have symbolized the transfer of the sins being confessed to the animal that was to die, "so that when it died it was taking the punishment due to the worshipper for his sins." The same thing would go for the scapegoat--the people's sins were put on the goat's head.

Here's more: "When a sacrifice was offered we should see it as a killing of the animal in place of the worshipper and the manipulation of the blood as the ritual presentation to God of the evidence that a death had taken place to atone for sin. When the New Testament writers refer to the death of Christ as a sacrifice....they are solemnly refering to the significance of his death."

It seems that he sees Christ's death as following this OT pattern of a victim bearing sin dying instead of the sinner.

One of the people I respect the most is Herman Ridderbos, because he is primarily exegetical rather than systematic. Here's a paragraph from Paul: An Outline of his Theology, page 190 (I originally intended to post on this subject myself, but I really don't think I'm going to have time in the near future to do it any justice, so I'm giving up some of my raw data. The elipses are long lists of references I've left out. Typing numbers is not my strong suit.):

"Entirely in harmony with [the idea of propitiation] is the idea of the substituionary character of Christ's death on the cross, as that occurs time and time again in Paul's epistles, when it is said that Christ "died for our sins"...; or "died for us" and "gave himself up for our sins".... To be sure, the expression "for us" in itself does not yet signify "in our place"; it indicates that the death has taken place "in our favor." Nevertheless, the substitutionary significance of these expressions cannot be doubted. And it is corroborated by such expressions as that in 2 Corinthians 5:21: God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us; cf. Romans 8:3 and Galtians 3:13, where it is said that Christ has become a curse for us. In these passages the thought of the substitutionary sacrifice is unmistakeable, a thought that is enunciated in almost so many words when the phrase "One died for all" is explained by the words, "so then all have died" (2 Corinthians 5:14). Even if one could give certain passages taken by themselves another sense, the whole complex of the pronouncements mentioned above can allow no doubt to remain as to the "atoning," substitutionary character of Jesus' death, and every effort to detract from it readily to the most fundamental segments of Paul's gospel."

Ridderbos is also very strong on the "in Christ" theme--that believers are united with Christ in his death and resurrection and resurrected life, and that the church has been included in the death and resurrection of Christ himself, but we have been included partly, at least, in the sense that Christ died in our place and represented us in that way.

I meant to add that IMO, the strongest argument for the substitionary nature of the atonement is that it seems that, given the way they understood the sacrifices, a NT Jewish Christian would see any mention of sacrifice or blood in that way. So the "anti" and "huper" issue is really a side issue. The stronger word wouldn't really have to be used in order for the idea of substitution to be quite clear, for any allusion to the OT system would necessarily carry that idea with it.

Rebecca - To be sure, the expression "for us" in itself does not yet signify "in our place"; it indicates that the death has taken place "in our favor."

I should here point out that "in our favor" or "on our behalf" is at least as amenable (if not moreso) to Union as it is to Substitution. Further, if "in our place" was really meant, then "anti" was clearly available and is by far the better word choice.

...the thought of the substitutionary sacrifice is unmistakeable, a thought that is enunciated in almost so many words when the phrase "One died for all" is explained by the words, "so then all have died" (2 Corinthians 5:14).

Actually, 2 Cor 5:14 is strong support for Union, not Substitution. If it was Substitution, then it would read "so then all have been spared". It is only with Union that you can say "One died on behalf of all, so then all have died".

Rebecca - IMO, the strongest argument for the substitionary nature of the atonement is that it seems that, given the way they understood the sacrifices, a NT Jewish Christian would see any mention of sacrifice or blood in that way.

That the Jews understood the OT sacrifices in that way is almost undoubtedly true. That they understood correctly is in question. A common critique of my model is that since the OT sacrifices were considered substitutionary, then the Cross, as the ultimate sacrifice, must be understood the same way.

However, it is a mistake to interpret the cross in light of the OT sacrifices. The correct way to do it is to interpret the OT sacrifices in light of the cross. After all, the OT sacrifices were meant to be lesser symbols of the cross. Thus, if I am correct, the OT sacrifices were meant to be understood as the sacrificer dying together with the sacrificed animal. This make sense of why the sacrificer was to place his hand on the dying anaimal's head until it was dead. If it were substitution, you would want to dissociate from the animal prior to death.

That the sacrifices would be misunderstood is not at all surprising. After all, the Jews were expecting the Messiah to be a military conquerer. Yet their understanding turned out to be seriously flawed. It is a faulty argument to claim that because the understanding of Messiah was that he was going to be a military conquerer, then Christ must be understood as such. Similarly so with the Jew's understanding of sacrifice.

Interesting in light of Hebrews making a point that the Animal Sacrifices did nothing on their own. The Jews may not have known it but there if the sacrifices were a shadow speaking of the reality of Christ. Do the sacrifices need to be reconciled with Christ's sacrifice to make what they did for the people effective (according to Leviticus) or are they simply shadows? Genuine question here.

I do have to say that "he became sin for us" and "he became a curse for us" seem much more substitution-orientated than union-oriented. Those verses hadn't come to my mind so far in this discussion. If he became sin so that we would become righteousness, then there does seem to be a real exchange going on and not just representation.

A number of commentators (e.g. David Garland on II Corinthians, Richard Longenecker on Galatians, Timothy George on Galatians) use the term "exchange curse" with regard to Galatians 3:10-13. What they mean is that the curse of lawbreaking from Deut 27:26 against us, taken on by Christ in our place and/or by Christ as we identify with him, is in exchange with the curse of being on a tree of Deut 21:23. The latter cancels the former somehow. What strikes me as relevant here is that if we are there with him in the sense of being cursed by the tree, then wouldn't it say that he became a curse with us or he became a curse because of us rather than for us? Paul seems to be saying that he did it so we wouldn't have to.

On the OT sacrifice question, I think your view is going to require abandoning one of the key symbolisms of the scapegoat on the day of atonement. By abadoning, I mean that you can retain it for the original act but not for what it looked forward to in Christ. That would be the act of sending the goat off into the wilderness for the sake of removing those sins from us permanently. If the goat is merely identificatory, then the people are off with the goat in the wilderness with their sins while being in the camp not really purified. So there had to have been a substitutionary element to the scapegoat, or the symbolism wouldn't have meant much. To work this into your view, you would just have to say that the substitutionary aspect of the scapegoat isn't what Christ fulfilled, but that seems really stretching given the direct references to the scapegoat in the NT, most notably Hebrews.

Rey, I'd say that the OT sacrifices were God's means of treating the people as justified given his covenant with them, but the old covenant itself was based on the new covenant to come. Does that help?

However, it is a mistake to interpret the cross in light of the OT sacrifices. The correct way to do it is to interpret the OT sacrifices in light of the cross. After all, the OT sacrifices were meant to be lesser symbols of the cross.

To a certain extent I agree with this. However, in order to understand what the NT authors meant, we need to know how what they wrote would have been understood by their audience. If their audience understood the sacrifices to be substitutional, then mentions of the blood and sacrifice would have automatically carried the substitutional idea to them, and if this wasn't how the cross was to be understood, then one would expect specific passages pointing out where this idea was wrong. Where Jewish ideas were carried over wrongly, the apostles specifically addressed it, didn't they?

I should here point out that "in our favor" or "on our behalf" is at least as amenable (if not moreso) to Union as it is to Substitution. Further, if "in our place" was really meant, then "anti" was clearly available and is by far the better word choice.

If the apostles were writing systematic theologies, this might be the case. But they weren't. Their word choices were adequate to express the meaning they intended, and "huper" can also carry a substitutional meaning, and the stronger word was hardly necessary to express the meaning in a culture that saw sacrifices as "in our place" anyway.

And "anti" is sometimes used. It's also used in conjunction with huper. Why the two words used together if the idea is a union that is not substitutional in nature?

Actually, 2 Cor 5:14 is strong support for Union, not Substitution. If it was Substitution, then it would read "so then all have been spared". It is only with Union that you can say "One died on behalf of all, so then all have died".

I'm not sure I understand your reasoning here. In substitution, because Christ died for us, there is a sense in which we died. His death is reckoned as our death. Think about a proxy voter again. If he voted for me, he would vote instead of me and on behalf of me, but at the same time, I would have really voted in the vote that he cast for me. It is not a fictional vote, but a real vote--my real vote cast by someone else on my behalf in my place, because that's the way the system is set up. This is all to say that I don't think your argument that if it was substition then it ought to say "one died for all, therefore all are spared" is all that strong. But perhaps I am missing something.

And, BTW, the text does go on to say that the all the one died for, the all that therefore died, do live. In other words, they are spared as a result of the one dying for the all.

It's union--I'll agree with that. But it seems that the nature of the union--when it comes to the atonement--is substitionary. Something happens on our behalf that does not happen in reality to us, but only to the One we are united to, and the benefits of that are transferred to us based on our union with him. We did not bear the wrath of God ourselves, but our curse was placed on him. The handwriting against us was taken out of the way by him at the cross, and yet this is only applied to us when we are "made alive together with him."

I want to add that in my reading on Galatians 3:13 and II Corinthians 5:21, I came upon references to two places where 'huper' is used indisputably with substitution or exchange in mind. One is the LXX translation of Isaiah 43:3-4, which talks about giving people/nations "in exchange for your life" (NRSV, NASB, and NIV all agree on this translation). The other is John 11:50 when Caiaphas talks of one person dying for the whole nation, which definitely doesn't involve the nation dying with him. Caiaphas wanted Jesus to die so that the whole nation wouldn't get in an uproarious dispute while all gathered for the feast in Jerusalem, which would bring down the Roman hand and kill many people.

Yeah, Jeremy that's basically my question that I'm trying to get some defining on from Wink. You pretty much explained the point of my question in your scapegoat question. If they were mere shadows with no future reality the Jews were beat...if they were a sacrifice where the offerer would be in union with the sacrifice...then somehow there's a union somewhere along the line with Christ and a union of Jew to Sacrifice and both to Christ and perhaps I'm reading too far into the implications of this interpretation?

Can you see my dizzying dilema?

I'll try to post some responses to these comments tomorrow. It's just too late for me to do this tonight.

Rey - the OT sacrifices were symbols looking forward to the future reality of Christ. They did not actually pay for sins. If they could do that, then Christ's death would not have been necessary. Thus, the OT sacrifices were, if you will, a demonstration of their faith in the coming Messiah.

Does that make sense?

Jeremy- I came upon references to two places where 'huper' is used indisputably with substitution or exchange in mind.

I never said that huper can't be substitutionary. I just think that the mere presence of the word doesn't demand it, and usually doesn't. In particular, when discussing penal death, I think that it never carries the substitutional meaning.

Rebecca - If their audience understood the sacrifices to be substitutional, then mentions of the blood and sacrifice would have automatically carried the substitutional idea to them, and if this wasn't how the cross was to be understood, then one would expect specific passages pointing out where this idea was wrong.

Well, that's why I think Paul is so consistent about using union language everywhere. If you are assuming that penal sacrifice must be substitutionary, and not union (as you seem to think that the first generation of believers thought--and I think you may be right), then those union passages are extremely jarring and would definitely be a red light letting you know that something is wrong with your assumptions.

Rebecca - In substitution, because Christ died for us, there is a sense in which we died. His death is reckoned as our death.

Only being "reckoned" as dead is truly substitutional thinking. But I think that in some very real sense we actually did die in Christ. To say less is to give lie to passages that talk of our death in Chirst.

BTW, the text does go on to say that the all the one died for, the all that therefore died, do live. In other words, they are spared as a result of the one dying for the all.

In my model, all died, and then all are resurrected with Christ. We are not spared death, but the reason why we are not still dead is that we are raised with Christ (Eph 2:5-6). Why would we need to be raised with Christ if we were spared death?

So when the text says that all who died, do live, that is simply the "chronological" recounting of our union with Christ. First we die with Him on the cross, then we live becuase we are resurrected with Him.

Jeremy - I do have to say that "he became sin for us" and "he became a curse for us" seem much more substitution-orientated than union-oriented...If he became sin so that we would become righteousness, then there does seem to be a real exchange going on and not just representation.

"He became sin for us" doesn't seem that substitutionary to me. If it is the exchange of sin for righteousness that you seem to be implying, then Jesus would no longer be righteous, as we would now be righteous instead of Him (just as He is now sin instead of us).

That clearly can't be the case. Thus the "huper" in II Cor 5:21 isn't substitutionary. In fact, the NAS goes so far as to disambiguate the "huper", translating it as "on behalf of" instead of the more ambiguous "for". This is significant as the NAS is known for not disambiguating when there are legitimate ambiguities in the text.

I'll deal with the "exchange curse" of Gal 3 in a separate post, as I'll need a lot of space to do that discussion justice.

I'd also be really curious to see what Charles Hodge says about this sort of thing, but I have no access to him, and his stuff is so dense and so voluminous that it might be hard to find what he says about any particular thing very easily unless you're already well-versed in his work.

Well, you could start looking here.

Rey - the OT sacrifices were symbols looking forward to the future reality of Christ. They did not actually pay for sins. If they could do that, then Christ's death would not have been necessary. Thus, the OT sacrifices were, if you will, a demonstration of their faith in the coming Messiah. Does that make sense?

So, symbols of a future reality then. That one day God would provide Himself a sacrifice which was effectual for the remission of sins whereas animals did nothing but ritualistic cleaning. That although they offerened up the grain offering, and the sin offering, and the guilt offering or the trespass offering, they weren't realy getting rid of their sin with animals blodd because animal's blood did nothing and to pay the penalty of their own sin (dying) would be useless since a) they themselves needed purifying and b) they would be dead.

Only being "reckoned" as dead is truly substitutional thinking.

Yes.

But I think that in some very real sense we actually did die in Christ.

We didn't actually experience death; we did not experience the expression of God's wrath. We were spared the expression of God's wrath by his mercy.

To say less is to give lie to passages that talk of our death in Chirst.

We are comprehended by God in Christ's death. He sees us (and our sins) there with Christ. In that sense, we died in Christ. At the same time, we do not experience the death that is the punishment for our sins. We are spared it.

This is not giving a lie, but making it true. This is the way in which it is made true. What God reckons is reality, even if it is not our actual experience. And this is what is meant (I think) by substitution: What we don't experience is counted as ours.

Like the proxy vote example, if you will. My proxy voter votes instead of me. Their vote is reckoned to be my vote, and really IS my vote, even though I didn't experience marking my own ballot in any way, even though I never left my own home. The proxy voter substitutes (or stands in) for me, and casts a vote in my place. Yet there is a true sense in which I am included in that vote, and the vote is mine: it's the substitutionary nature of the vote that makes that particular act of voting inclusive of me. And what is accomplished substitutionally in that vote--apart from my actual experience--reaps real (or experiencial) benefits for me.

That I voted by proxy and not in actual experience is not giving the lie to the statement that I voted. That I voted by proxy (or substitutionally) is the way in which the statement that I voted is true. Similarly with my death in Christ. That Christ died in my place is the way in which I died. It's the way the statement that "I died" is made true.

Rey - yup. The NT makes it pretty clear that forgiveness of sins only comes from Christ. Therefore it must be that forgiveness of sins does not come from the OT sacrifices.

Or to put it another way, the OT sacrifices system was inadequate to do the job, but Christ was. The book of Hebrews is pretty much a giant expansion of that theme.

Hebrews 10:4 "For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins." (ESV)

But of course you also need to keep in mind Hebrews 9:13-14 "For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God."

I'm not referring to my Hebrews commentaries on this, but knowing as much as I do about the Greek language leads me to say fairly confidently that this 'if' is not a mere hypothetical contrary to fact, which means you need to figure out a way to put these two things together. I think that's possible and completely unrelated to penal substitution or penal union, but I also think the best way to put these together involves a strategy Wink doesn't like and says would be like God acting according to a legal fiction, which he thinks amounts to a lie.

rebecca - This is not giving a lie, but making it true. This is the way in which it is made true. What God reckons is reality, even if it is not our actual experience. And this is what is meant (I think) by substitution: What we don't experience is counted as ours.

I'm very leery of the "what God reckons is reality" approach to justice. Even though I grew up thinking this, it makes me feel very uneasy. It feels wrong. In particular, it feels unbiblical. I can't point to anything that speaks against it, but I can't find anything that supports it either. The only possible support that I can think for it is Penal Substitution, which I think is wrong. Plus, every time we say something along the lines of "justice demands X, therefore Christ must have Y" that contradicts the idea that God could simply reckon X to be true, thus obviating the need for Y.

I think that a much more natural way of viewing the "reckoning" passages is that God is giving legal recognition to a reality that already exists, as opposed to creating a reality which does not yet exists, as you posit. Thus, God counts us as dead because we really are dead in Christ. He counts us as righteous becuase we really are righteous in Christ. It is Christ and our union to Him that makes these things a reality, and God is recognizing it to be true. As opposed to God counting something as true which is not yet true, and thus making it true.

which means you need to figure out a way to put these two things together.

Hmmm...I may have to rethink my theory on OT sacrifice. Maybe I'll revise it to something along the lines of "They do actually sanctify, but only through Christ." I'd have to fill in a lot of holes in order to make that work though...

Good catch.

Jeremy - God acting according to a legal fiction, which he thinks amounts to a lie

Well, I try to be more charitable than that. But it does seem to me that God is in some way asserting an untruth, but since He cannot lie, that untruth in some way becomes true. The "in some way" is usually referred to being "legally" as opposed to "actually", but either way it feels odd that God would assert something that is not currently true, even if He ends up never lying.

I'm very leery of the "what God reckons is reality" approach to justice. Even though I grew up thinking this, it makes me feel very uneasy. It feels wrong. In particular, it feels unbiblical. I can't point to anything that speaks against it, but I can't find anything that supports it either.

I can. How about the view that we're all just a book God is writing, composed of objects of his thought, like the neo-Berkeleyan view you were toying with a couple years ago? I'm not really serious about this, but the work it takes to show how that sort of view is consistent with your skepticism here is work worth doing.

As for your last comment, it's more that God speaks something into being true, just as he spoke the proposition that there is light into being true. His speaking makes it true. He won't speak something inconsistent with his nature, and maybe the worry would be that showing mercy when justice is required is against his nature (or vice versa), but I think you give up the game then. You probably have to abandon more than penal substitution for that. You might have to give up either God's mercy or God's justice altogether, leading to either universal salvation or universal damnation.

Jeremy - heh. the work it takes to show how that sort of view is consistent with your skepticism here is work worth doing.

Well, my "neo-Berkeleyan" metaphysics doesn't really have scriptural support either, but neither is there much to refute it. Mostly it is just speculation. I held to it (and only kinda do now) because it was consistent with the Bible, though the Bible nowhere demanded it.

That's also the situation with the accounting-preceding-reality approach. It is consistent with the Bible, I think, but there isn't anything to confirm or deny it.

Now with my metaphysics, I don't base any of my theology on it because I know that it is all speculation. But here, we are hanging the doctrine of Penal Substitution on a piece of speculation that has no more support than my neo-Berkeleyan metaphysics. That's pretty scary.

[Note: yes the neo-Berkeleyan metaphysics is compatable with accounting-preceding-reality. But as the neo-Berkeleyan metaphysics is completely speculation, I'd hardly use that as support for accounting-preceding-reailty. Plus, neither demands the other.]

it's more that God speaks something into being true, just as he spoke the proposition that there is light into being true.

I think that there is a significant difference between the accounting-preceding-reality and the creation account. With Creation, God spoke in Jussive form: "Let there be X". He did not say "I recognize that there is X", or "I count this non-X to be X". Those are very different ways of speaking.

As I said, I don't think that there is anything obviously unbiblical about accounting-preceding-reailty, just that it feels un-God-ish to me. Accounting-preceding-reality feels kinda like reversing cause and effect. God certainly could reverse cause and effect, but it doesn't sound like the kind of thing God would do. God usually has more elegant solutions to His problems than this kind of deux-ex-machina (sorry, I couldn't resist).

The concept of substitutionary atonement is false and not perfectable for the residual that remains after Jesus crucifixion is that the world is to be convicted of guilt in regard to sin. Jn. 16:8. The question is guilt in regard to what sin?
No human male can be crucified and his death caused by bloodshed and it NOT be an answerable OFFENSE since God demands an accounting for the action of taking a man's life by bloodshed. But what if the sin of Jesus crucifixion by the faith to obey his command by repenting of the one sin of Jesus' murder a man might be forgiven of ALL sins? For by NOT having the faith to obey Jesus and repent of the sin of his murder a man also disobeys God and does not give to him the direct accouting he demands regarding the sin of crucifying Jesus. Jesus did NOT die in anyone's place for the cross is a disobedience, Gal. 5:11, but his crucifixion is the only sin anyone by the faith to obey him can repent of to save himself. This should cut to the chase.
Theodore A. Jones

The question is guilt in regard to what sin?

In regard to their own sin. The only sin taken care of on the cross effectually is the sin of those who are saved. It potentially could cover all, since all could repent, but all don't, so all aren't covered. The guilt of the world remains, since the cross doesn't cover it.

No human male can be crucified and his death caused by bloodshed and it NOT be an answerable OFFENSE since God demands an accounting for the action of taking a man's life by bloodshed.

OK, but the Bible acknowledges the guilt of those who crucified Jesus. It also insists that those evil acts were part of God's plan of salvation. I'm not sure I see an argument that these are inconsistent, but if I understand you correctly you're assuming that they are.

If Jesus wasn't doing something on the cross to take my sin, then why would I repent of Jesus' death on the cross? The idea that I should repent of the sin of killing Jesus makes sense only if he takes on my sin either in a substitutionary or union sense (and I would say both, since they're just two different ways of thinking about the same fact). You are suggesting that I should repent of the sin of killing Jesus when there's nothing about my sins that had anything to do with the crucifixion. I just don't see how your view can even get going unless its foundation is in some penal element in the atonement already.

Regarding Gen. 9:5b NIV is the term "from each man too". Your assumption is that since you didn't kill Jesus it is illogical to require that you repent of the sin of his murder in order to be saved. If you don't by faith repent of the one sin of Jesus' murder you fail to comply with God's demand from each man. This is a disobedience i.e. a sin and wasn't Moses not allowed to enter the land because of one sin? Do you actually think it is any different for you?

Your assumption is that since you didn't kill Jesus it is illogical to require that you repent of the sin of his murder in order to be saved.

No, my assumption is that I'm not responsible for his death if my sins have nothing to do with his death. Since I believe my sins have everything to do with his death, I believe I am responsible for his death in the sense that it's a response to my sins, a deliberate response on his part and on the Father's part. But that is true only because of the penal element of the atonement. Without that, there's no sense in which his death has anything to do with my sins.

Your claim that there is no penal element in the atonement leads to the conclusion that no one is responsible for Jesus' death but those who caused it, and that's a much smaller group than is responsible if it is a penal death (because that group is all of humanity if it's a penal death).

You are a bit hung up, narsistic, on the idea that your sin(s) are the cause of Jesus' death, nada. What is man that thou art mindful of him? Friend your major problem is not sin for a man must be born again in order to enter the kingdom of God. Your problem is natural birth for anyone born by this process is guaranteed NOT to be a child of God, Jn. 1:13, therefore a man MUST be born of God to escape death. The process that has been perfected by the crucifixion of Jesus is the Way for you to become one with God conforming to the same image Jesus is, one with God. Jn. 17:20 You need to stop looking in the mirrow. The crucifixion of Jesus has perfected the only Way God's children can be born. That you along with everyone else is a sinner is beside the point. Jesus is God's only begotten son but he is also the FIRST born from among the dead. For him to be the first born from amoung the dead designates that there must be seconds in order that it be true of him being the first. What you are failing to comprehend is that NOT repenting of the sin of Jesus' murder is the one sin that seperates you from God. Your previous sins have nothing to do with this one. Get it?

If no one had sinned, Jesus wouldn't have had to die. He said that he was dying as a ransom for people's sins. It is because of people's sins that he died. It is not narcissistic, because narcissism would require thinking that I deserved for him to die for me. Rather I did not. That's what grace is. It is thus anti-narcissistic.

What is it about the natural state that prevents being a child of God? The standard answer is that in the sinful, fallen state, humans are separated from God. Just saying that someone is in the natural state makes someone separated from God does not give an account of why being in the natural state separates someone from God. Sin is the explanation of how one is separated from God, and Isaiah explicitly affirms that it is people's sin that causes that separation (Isa 59:2).

I'm not sure how the resurrection issue is relevant. People who believe in a penal atonement generally do believe that others besides Jesus have been and will be raised from the dead to new life. So of course there are seconds born from the dead.

Hos. 13:14 "I will ransom them from the power of the grave."
Looks like he has a different objective than you suspect. It is because of you having descended from Adam that the grave has power over you. Jesus has paid the price, cost, to perfect a Way that you might be ransomed from the power of the grave. If it were true that Jesus had been substituted in your place it is also mandatory that the issue of guilt relative to sin not be a residual factor after his crucifixion. RU following me here? However Jesus says that guilt relative to sin is the outstanding issue AFTER his crucifixion. What will you do argue with him and say it's not? Wasn't it necessary for Adam to obey God's command and NOT eat the forbidden fruit so that he would not die? And didn't Jesus say "I have come to restore all things?" So which is a sin, since you know so much, eating the forbidden fruit or Not repenting of the sin of Jesus' murder? In either case God must by faith be obeyed in order to live. If Jesus died for your sins the just do not need to live by faith and the Acts 2:38 command is superfluous, however it is necessary for you to save yourself. Acts 2:40.

What is it about being descended from Adam that brings the power of the grave? Its being in sin. Paul says as much in Romans, several times.

Guilt relative to sin is not a residual factor after his crucifixion. Those who have appropriated his death and resurrection through faith have had their sins removed through being united with him on the cross and having died to that sin. Guilt is therefore removed, as Paul says in Romans 8. There is now no condemnation in Christ.

Now there is a sense in which someone is morally responsible for sin after the crucifixion has taken place. What you're missing is the difference between imputed guilt/justification and actually being guilty or just. We of course are not just, and therefore we are actually guilty in the sense that we really did things that were morally wrong, and we did them in a morally responsible way (i.e. we aren't excused). But God views us as just with respect to his relationship with us, because he sees Christ's righteousness in us. So we are guilty in the sense that we did it and are responsible. We are not guilty in the sense that we have the righteousness of Christ mediating for us until we receive complete actual righteousness in the resurrection.

It is through faith that someone receives the gift of grace. Genuine faith results in good deeds, as James, Paul, and the author of Hebrews make clear. Genuine faith is revealed when someone perseveres to the end. Those deeds do not save. It is God's grace that saves. But God's grace does lead to a transformation toward righteousness, and remaining in fellowship with God requires living in a way that pleases God (which does not mean never sinning but does mean keeping short accounts with God and repenting quickly and genuinely).

I have written about many of these things at much greater length, and I do not wish to repeat work I've already put a lot of time into preparing. Repenting and believing are two sides of the same coin. See here for my views on perseverance. The limited atonement issue has also come up in earlier comments. I prefer not to have to repeat what I've spent a lot of time arguing for in those posts, so I refer you to those posts for my carefully laid-out explanations of what I believe on those issues.

"When he comes he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin" . FYI. There is a command that says "Do not make my words say less than I mean by saying them" and no student is ever greater than his teacher. Thanks for your time and have a good day, it being one of your last.

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