wink ;): January 2005 Archives

The nature of Grace

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As Jeremy has already noted, Rebecca and I have been continuing the conversation on atonement.

Currently, Rebecca is stating that the same action cannot be both Justice and Grace to the same person. This is because Justice is getting exactly what you deserve, and Grace is getting better than what you deserve. For the sake of the conversation on that thread, I am accepting those definitions of Justice and Grace (mostly because I think our disagreement will end up not being over these terms).

Language question

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A question for all you language gurus out there: when discussing a corporation or university or other institution, do you conjugate as a singular or as a plural? Basically, which is correct, "Microsoft is releasing product X", or "Microsoft are releasing product X"?

Logic Puzzle 4

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Jeremy's 4D "gappy person" solution to logic puzzle 3 is very attractive to me except that it runs into problems with my next logic puzzle:

(1) It is by Jesus that all things cohere.
(2) Jesus died for a measurable period of time.
(3) How could that measuarble period of time even exist if Jesus (being dead) was not there to hold the universe together?

This is typically answered by saying that Jesus died in one sense, but not in another. But Jeremy's "gappy person" solution doesn't allow for that.

As it is, I'm not a big fan of the "died in one sense but not another" solution. It seems a big cop-out. The "he died in His humanity, but not in His divinity" solution is again rather Nestorian. Plus, it is not natures that die, but persons. The "he died physically but not spiritually" solution has problems too. Aren't the wrath of God and the forsakenness of the cross usually considered spiritual death (separation from God)? Then didn't Jesus die both physically and spiritually?

I think I know the right way to preserve the "gappy person" solution, but I want to see if Jeremy comes up with the same one.

Logic Puzzle 3

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So, on to a new topic...

I've got a question that's been troubling me for some time. I have no opinion or answer for this one yet and I'd love to hear what you guys have come up with.

Basically, every conception of the Trinity that I've see falls apart on the cross. Consider the following:

(1) The Father and Son are distinct yet inseparably related.
(2) The Son was forsaken by the Father on the Cross
(3) Since "forsake" denotes separation, then the Father and Son have been (at least temporarily) separated.

The first statement is a fairly uncontroversial way of restating parts of the Creeds regarding the Trinity. The second is part of Jesus' last words. Neither seems denyable. Yet (3) contradicts (1).

I don't think it is a good move to say that Jesus' words were untrue in any way. And I can't come up with a definition of "forsake" that doesn't demand separation. I certainly don't want to say that the creeds are wrong.

Approaches like "God forsook the humanity of Christ, but not the divinity of Christ" sound awfully Nestorian to me. And approaches like "the unity of God is that they ultimately be united, even if they are temproarily apart" sounds downright heretical.

What have you guys got?

Done with Atonement (for now)

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Well, I think I'm done with posting about Penal Substitution/Union for the time being. This is not because I've run out of things to say (c'mon, I'm writing a thesis about it...I have tons to say), but because I'm starting to sound tedious and repetative even to myself. (You have no idea how many posts and comments I've refrained from posting because I sounded like a blowhard even to myself.) And if I sound that way to me, then I can't imagine how annoying I must sound to you. I'll continue to respond to comments in the already existing threads, but don't expect any new threads on this subject for a while. Now if you actually want to hear more from me on this subject, I'll be happy to oblige; just leave comments in this thread to that effect, and I'll post more. But I suspect that people are getting weary of hearing me on this topic and I don't want to be obnoxious. So I'll quit while I can (I'd say "while I'm ahead", but I think I'm actually behind at this point).

The consensus around here seems to be that we are not punished in Christ. So I'd like to post my reasons for thinking that we actually are punished in Christ.

First of all, I'd like to point out that the particular punishment for sin is death, and the particular death that Christ suffered was crucifixion. So when Paul talks of us being crucified with Christ (Gal 2:20), or that our flesh or our self has been crucified (Gal 5:24, 6:14; Rom 6:6), or that we have died with Christ (Rom 6:8; Col 2:20), he is saying that we have been punished in Christ since death/crucifixion = punishment. (I should here point out that if we have died, then our death can only have served one purpose--the payment of sins/satisfaction of wrath. We have no ability to ransom, nor to act as a sacrifice for another.)

What Substitution do I Deny?

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Jeremy notes that whenever we see the penal element, we immediately think "substitution". He makes a great observation there. What we should also note, is that due to the predominance of Penal Substitution in our teaching, whenever we see substitution, we assume that it is penal.

This has come up a couple of times in the comments and I'd like to address it more publically here. Maybe I didn't make myself clear in my original posts, so let me clarify now: I deny Penal Substitution, but I don't deny Substitution in all forms. I only deny that any biblical substitution is Penal.

Sorry for the delay

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Please forgive my silence on the atonement threads. I'm busy trying to get readjusted to non-vacation routine again. This routine, of course, contains considerably lees free time to blog. Plus, I helped a friend move tonight. (My only recommendation about what he should have done differently: He shouldn't have moved in the middle of winter. It was cold and the bulky jackets didn't make maneuvering large items any easier.)

I've got lots to say in response to the very good points being brougt up by people. I must confess that I do not have answers to all of them. Thank you to all who have engaged with me on this. You are challenging me on this issue beyond what others have done in the past. I really appreciate that.

I hope to post something tomorrow, but no promises.

Penal Union

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[Note: Contrary to the Creative Commons license listed on this site, I, Wink, the author of this particular post am reserving all rights for this particular post. I don't mean to be a killjoy, but this topic is the basis for my as-yet-incomplete thesis. I'm tackling a controversial subject. As a result, I need to polish my ideas more fully before I can let it out into the wild under a CC license. Please respect my copyright on this post. Thanks.]

[Thanks for being patient everyone. This is the post many of you have been waiting for as it is the follow-up to my Critique of Penal Substitution. Enjoy!]



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