The Background Of Ideas Of Atonement Theology Religious beliefs Essay

The atonement is a very debatable theme in theology generally as a result of need for the doctrine itself. Regarding to Caleb Burge, this very doctrine is "the building blocks of all the doctrines of divine revelation which respect the salvation of mankind: the grand pillar which they are supported" (1822). In other words, the doctrine of atonement is foundational one, which a number of other doctrines stand. Moreover, it is directly related to this is of loss of life of Christ on the Cross. That's the reason people, especially theologians, are so much concerned about the explanation behind it.

Interestingly, the word "atonement" is of Anglo-Saxon origins, not a Biblical word as a result (Bingham, 2001). Corresponding to Bingham, this term "operates as an umbrella to hide lots of other words such as reconciliation, expiation, propitiation, and the like" (2001). Besides, reconciliation is "due to Jesus' mission in which the enmity or hostility between God and humanity is defeat and set aside in order to have a good relationship", expiation - "an effect of Jesus' death on the cross in which humanity's sinfulness is covered and set aside so that reconciliation between God and humanity may take place" (Grenz, 1998), and propitiation is Christ's loss of life on a combination "to appease God's wrath against sin" (Bawulski, 2012).

Honestly speaking, I never engaged in considering atonement before having Theology category. In addition, I am still not focused on Christianity for several reasons though do believe in something beyond our world so to say. However, there were a whole lot of Christians in my encircling including my grandmother and also to some extent my mom. I also actually read Bible, even more often than once: first-time as i was a kid and acquired Bible in pictures adapted for children, then we were studying some elements of it in school at literature classes, and lastly we were learning Bible very closely at our college or university. So, I had been introduced to idea of atonement but was unacquainted with the theological argument around it.

What influenced me to choose this very topic to research was not our lessons actually, but an extra-credit project on penal substitution theory. Reading an article by Schreiner I first of all got more info about the doctrine of atonement and the ideas around it, and also received personal insights relating to this theme. So, when choosing a subject I made a decision to take one I am already more acquainted with and also have more thoughts about.

What I think is surely true is that difficulty of atonement is a enigma beyond our understanding that nobody can make clear sufficiently (except only God). Oddly enough, Schreiner builds his theological argument on theological principles that are also arguable, including the dynamics of God's love, and the assumption that forgiving without sacrifice violates God's holiness. God for some reason needed this sacrifice, but are we really able to clarify it?

Interestingly, looking for this is of atonement I noticed it also has a so this means of payment. However, when i mentioned previously already atonement is purely Anglo-Saxon term, thus, in Hebrew or Greek versions of the Bible there might be no reimbursement implied.

Nevertheless, the atonement as reimbursement to the Father (Christ passed on to satisfy a principle in the very dynamics of God) is steady with the Substitutionary or Satisfaction Theory (Keating, 2002).

My notion of the rationale behind the question of atonement (though I really do not actually believe that any idea can be turned out) is that Jesus took the original sin (that was brought to us with Adam that is also debatable though) from mankind, but we ourselves still must pass away, so maybe we've die for our very own sins, not the initial one, now. Also, Christ's life and death have a moral effect on us and demand following Jesus' example. So, my idea is pretty much near to Christus Victor theory of atonement and surely displays the primary ideas of example theory and moral effect theory of atonement.

So, among major views on the atonement are: Christus Victor theory, Example theory, Moral Affect theory, Satisfaction theory, Penal Substitution Theory, Ransom theory, Governmental theory, Mystical theory, and Vicarious Repentance theory.

According to Christus Victor theory "in Christ, God triumphed over the law, sin, loss of life and the devil - the evil power of the world, the 'tyrants' under which mankind is within bondage and suffering, and in him God reconciles the earth to himself" (Aulen, 2010).

According to Example or Socinian theory, the atonement is "a perfect exemplory case of the type of determination to God that people are to apply" (Keating, 2002).

According to Moral Effect theory, the atonement is "a demonstration of God's love and should inspire us to love him in return" (Keating, 2002).

According to Satisfaction theory, Christ in his anguish "restores or rehabilitates God's offended honor and dignity" (Bingham, 2001).

According to Penal Substitution theory, Christ "died for man, in man's place, taking his sins and bearing them for him that takes the punishment of them, and pieces the believer free from the penal requirements of the law, thus, the righteousness of regulations and the holiness of God are satisfied by this substitution" (Bingham, 2001).

According to Ransom theory, the atonement is "a success over the pushes of sin and evil because Christ's death ransomed us back from Satan" (Keating, 2002).

According to Governmental theory, the atonement is "a demonstration of divine justice, of exactly what will happen to us if we continue steadily to sin" (Keating, 2002). Bingham says that "God is a governor that determines and requires; they can abrogate the law, or rather its total abuse; Christ on the Combination bears a nominal punishment, thus demonstrating that God views sin seriously, however forgives it having put his safe-guard around his regulation" (2001).

According to Mystical theory (Steady Extirpation of Depravity), Christ "came into the entire world in the flesh of fallen humanity, but brought a new factor, a fresh kind of life, which damages original depravity on the Cross, so that a new mankind emerges through Christ; by recognition around, and we with him, man is slowly but surely sanctified, and his sanctification becomes, in truth, his justification" (Bingham, 2001).

According to Vicarious Repentance theory, "perfect repentance is all that's needed is for forgiveness that Christ showed on the Mix, where he recognizes with man under condemnation; man, thus being forgiven, has an impetus to holiness" (Bingham, 2001).


To start with, I wish to say that I do not really stick to one position concerning the atonement, or a definite theory, but choose several them that appear to me to be the closest ones to my own viewpoint. As I discussed earlier, my idea is the fact Jesus saved mankind from the initial sin with his loss of life on the Combination, but as we still have to expire, we supposedly aren't saved from our very own sins. Probably, we must die to overcome our own sins ourselves following the exemplory case of Jesus who conquered the original sin (let's imagine its true ). In addition, the fact that people understand we have to have a problem with our sins can be considered a result of moral influence of Jesus' loss of life.

So, my support would focus on defending mostly components of Christus Victor theory, and give some support to Example theory and Moral Affect theory.

First of all, relating to Scriptures, the penalty for sin is death - "And the Lord said, 'The man has become like one folks, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to touch base his hands and take also from the tree of life and eat, and leave permanently'" (Genesis 3:22). This sentence from the Publication of Genesis clearly says that people became mortal because of this of disobeying God, sinning in other words. Consequently, to be immortal again folks have to get over sin. So, judging from the actual fact that we are still mortal, Jesus' loss of life on the Combination didn't take all the sins from humanity. Either way, Perhaps we'd be immortal again. Alternatively, eternal life is guaranteed to the people after death. Considering that, we have to die. But fatality is the consequence of sin, so we in ways follow Jesus' example once we die and triumph over some part of sin that continues to be in us that is steady with Example theory of atonement - "To this you were called, because Christ experienced for you, leaving you a good example, that you should follow in his steps" (1 Peter 2:21).

From the first view it appears that in such situation Jesus' sacrifice is not essential, as we all die in the long run, thus, overcome sin ourselves. However, the thing is we are unable to take the responsibility for the initial sin, so another thing, that is Jesus' sacrifice, is necessary.

What is hard for me to explain in my own theory though is the connection between Adam and Eve's sin and Jesus' potential to defeat it. Nevertheless, the actual fact that Jesus experienced and died on the Combination implies that there was some connection. This is also evidence for the actual fact that sin cannot be just pardoned "for nobody can rationally assume, that the Son of God would have remaining the bosom of the Father, and the glory which he previously with him prior to the world was, to take on him the proper execution of any servant nowadays, and subject himself to the pains and sorrows occurrence to individual life, if such humiliation had not been indispensably necessary, in order that the purposes of elegance, in the salvation of sinners, might be responded to" (Burge, 1822).

The idea that Jesus took only original sin from us is similar to some degree to Christus Victor theory - "The Son of God, " we read in 1 John 3:8, " was discovered for this purpose: to destroy the works of the devil. " The works of devil are primarily the deception of Adam and Eve from where in fact the original sin comes.

One may think that if we are clear of original sin, why then we continue to sin in the eye of God. To answer this question I developed a concept that sinful works or thoughts will be the result of socialization - the process by which a person learns to stay in accordance with the goals and requirements of an organization or society, acquiring its values, habits, values, and accepted methods of behavior mainly through imitation, family interaction, and educational systems; the task by which society integrates the average person ("Socialization"). At this time of Jesus' loss of life people already acquired a sinful culture so to state that included the opportunity of sinning. So, even though people became free from the initial sin, they still remained in this culture that is the result of the initial sin. Maybe this is the key reason for the necessity of Jesus' second coming - the necessity to renew the earth and the heavens that would bring about destroying this sinful culture.

The main objection to Christus Victor theory is that "Satan or the "powers of Evil" must be satisfied somewhat than God, whose command word was originally dismissed in the Garden of Eden, and who's continually dismissed by all mankind" (Glynn, 2002). The cosmic need for Christ's work is more fundamental than its soteriological significance (Bawulski, 2012). This objection is regular with Satisfaction theory of atonement.

However, I really do not see any problem your - in my view, people were unable to share with God his anticipated (that is the meaning of sin regarding to Satisfaction theory) generally due to works of Satan. Thus, when evil is defeated God should be already satisfied.


Jesus died on the Mix to beat the works of devil that is Jesus freed humanity from the original sin. His loss of life and resurrection clearly had an impact on people - a good moral influence therefore of knowing that righteousness brings eternal life. Also, to be able to acquire this eternal life people should follow Jesus' example - live a righteous life, pass away and resurrect then immortal and free of any sin. All of this is regular with Christus Victor, Example and Moral Effect theories.

My rather impressive idea is that we are released only from original sin, and also have to die overcome our own sins. We continue to sin no matter being clear of original sin because of experiencing sinful culture that probably would be destroyed with Jesus' second coming.

This way to see the doctrine of atonement emphasizes the importance of second coming of Jesus and clarifies in a way why it has to happen. Probably, it creates no dissimilarities in the areas.

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