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Source: (consider it) Thread: One Atonement
Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by agingjb:
Is forgiveness sufficient for salvation?

This is the danger of defining salvation using a legal paradigm, as a get-out-of-hell-free card, instead of a transformation.
You know what Gamaliel would say ...

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Gamaliel
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Both / and ...?

On this occasion, I agree with Nick.

So, mr cheesy, Mousethief and nice Nick and myselfu are pretty much on the same page on this particular point, although I'm still quite evangelical in some ways ...

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Jamat
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quote:
Nick Tamen:It heals the effects of sin
The word heals can be a bit vague though. It avoids the harshness of judgement but the sinful world that does not have the blood covering is in fact under God's judgement.

My understanding is that a better term would be 'covers.' The blood did not heal in the Passover, it protected, shielded and covered the houses where it was on the doorposts.

The bottom line is that you can't be Biblical in discussing atonement without using terms like 'wrath' and the Legal metaphor contains the 'justice' concept. God has wrath. It is not human wrath of course but it invokes judgement on sin. This is Biblically certain whatever your angle or interpretation.

The place of Satan is highlighted by this as he is the 'prince of this world' as Jesus admitted and the cross was about dispossessing him. How was he (Satan)thus if not legally? How could he offer the kingdoms of this world to Jesus if he did not own them legally. How did Jesus by his blood restore the 'balance in the force' on the cross if not legally?

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Against the eastern gate of Paradise. (Milton Paradise Lost Bk iv)

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Gamaliel
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Which is where the various ransom theories come into play, of course, Jamat.

Ransom theories do not preclude PSA, they can be complementary to it - but they need not necessarily include it.

It could be argued that by destroying the power of Death by his death and resurrection, Christ despoiled Satan's kingdom by taking away the hold and bondage of its sway over humanity ...

That can be visualised in a legal kind of way as well as in a Christus Victor kind of way.

It depends how far we stretch or apply these things.

One could argue that sin and death is judged and condemned through Christ's absorption of them - 'What is not assumed cannot be healed' - as one of the Father's put it.

Christ assumed our humanity. He also assumed our death and in so doing overthrew its hold.

Christ 'judged sin in sinful man' and as sin has cosmic consequences, so Christ's death and resurrection, his conquering of sin and death, has cosmic effects for the whole of Creation ...

Just a few thoughts. It's late and I've woken up and pottering around. I'll go back to bed soon ...

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agingjb
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I asked my question ("is forgiveness sufficient for salvation"), which may not be meaningful, because I see the words "forgiveness", "salvation", "atonement", and others used here - and generating some disagreement.

From outside theology, if not belief, I would have to admit that I probably do not know what exactly people are talking about, asserting, and denying.

Probably best if I leave it to those who do know.

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Refraction Villanelles

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Martin60
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No one knows more than you. Nick's imagery is good.

[ 16. May 2017, 09:14: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Gamaliel
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We're all groping towards the light, agingjb.

I think your question was a good one. The responses - from whatever direction - are probably best summarised as, 'Ok, but there's more than simply forgiveness involved ...'

If that makes sense ...

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Kwesi
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aginjb
quote:
I asked my question ("is forgiveness sufficient for salvation"), which may not be meaningful, because I see the words "forgiveness", "salvation", "atonement", and others used here - and generating some disagreement.

Thanks for that, aginjb, I agree that we need to clarify terms that have been bandied about in the discussion as they tend to be used in different ways, thereby confusing debate.

Perhaps you might add “What is salvation? “Is salvation the same as atonement?” “Are salvation and atonement interchangeable? ”Is forgiveness a necessary condition for salvation?” “Is forgiveness a necessary condition for atonement?”

Can I throw the odd observation into the pot?

Forgiveness is something that can be undertaken without the participation of a second party. There are, for example, acts of forgiveness for abusers who have already died. One may be forgiven, therefore, without knowing it. St Paul urges the Corinthians to inform individuals they are forgiven and should, therefore, seek reconciliation (atonement). (2 Cor. 5 18-19).

Salvation is something one can experience unconditionally- the unconscious victim of a violent assault can be saved by a Samaritan.

Atonement necessary involves the participation and assent of two parties. It might involve an element of forgiveness, but not necessarily. The mystic, Julian of Norwich, I’m told, had no sense of sin and, therefore, no need for forgiveness. On the other hand her participation in the sweet blood of Jesus was viscerally profound.

What I think about our discussion is that we tend to see the cross in terms of forgiveness rather than focussing on atonement.

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Kwesi
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........incidentally, it occurs to me that Ransom and PSA are not about forgiveness but the satisfaction of the debt and the requirements of the law. Everything is settled. Forgiveness involves setting aside the ransom and failure to execute the sentence,
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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
........incidentally, it occurs to me that Ransom and PSA are not about forgiveness but the satisfaction of the debt and the requirements of the law. Everything is settled. Forgiveness involves setting aside the ransom and failure to execute the sentence,

Well. I think those who believe in PSA think that forgiveness is a transactional process, so that blood is needed to seal the deal, to satisfy the debt and to meet the law requirements.

I'm not entirely sure how they square this with the Christ's actions in gracefully healing and telling people they are forgiven - but I assume they think this is only possible because of the transaction at the cross.

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arse

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
The mystic, Julian of Norwich, I’m told, had no sense of sin and, therefore, no need for forgiveness. On the other hand her participation in the sweet blood of Jesus was viscerally profound.

Do you have a source for the idea that she had no sense of sin or need for forgiveness? It doesn't square with what I recall. My memory is that she had an acute sense of sin—perhaps more in the sense of a pervasive human condition than in the sense of specific sinful acts—but that she also came to have an acute sense of Christ's love and, for want of a better way of putting it—control of the situation.

Per one of her "shewings":
quote:
In my folly, before this time I often wondered why, by the great foreseeing wisdom of God, the onset of sin was not prevented: for then, I thought, all should have been well. This impulse [of thought] was much to be avoided, but nevertheless I mourned and sorrowed because of it, without reason and discretion.

But Jesus, who in this vision informed me of all that is needed by me, answered with these words and said: "It was necessary that there should be sin; but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."

These words were said most tenderly, showing no manner of blame to me nor to any who shall be saved.

Perhaps it's more accurate to say she came to the place where she didn't have a sense of guilt, because she was perceived that Jesus imparted no blame? Which is, I think, a very different thing from not having a sense of sin.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Kwesi
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see previous post by mr cheesy

My purpose in raising the issue, of course, was in relation to forgiveness and theories of the atonement. It just seemed to me that Ransom and PSA are theories of atonement which see no
necessity for forgiveness as part of the atoning process. Nothing is set aside, there is no jubilee.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
Perhaps it's more accurate to say she came to the place where she didn't have a sense of guilt, because she was perceived that Jesus imparted no blame? Which is, I think, a very different thing from not having a sense of sin.

Quite possibly I'm talking out of my hat, but is it possible that she's talking about sin in the abstract - that thing that exists in the world which the Lord is in the business of redeeming - rather than individual sins that she's done?

I know nothing about her, so maybe this is a load of tummy-rot.

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arse

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by agingjb:
I asked my question ("is forgiveness sufficient for salvation"), which may not be meaningful, because I see the words "forgiveness", "salvation", "atonement", and others used here - and generating some disagreement.

From outside theology, if not belief, I would have to admit that I probably do not know what exactly people are talking about, asserting, and denying.

Probably best if I leave it to those who do know.

I too liked your question because it got us to the heart of the matter as well as highlighted the often-overlooked problem raised by the fact that we're using lots of technical, insider "churchy" language but may not all be using the words in the same way.

I think I would say forgiveness is one sign of salvation-- it is a byproduct and a marker, one that points us to the fact that we have been "saved" or "redeemed"-- that we are counted among God's people and will live in the house of the Lord forever. (I think that's a pretty big house, but that's another thread). Rather than the means or prerequisite to salvation.

What is "sufficient for salvation" is Jesus.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Martin60
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Your last line.

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Kwesi
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Nick Tamen
quote:
Perhaps it's more accurate to say she came to the place where she didn't have a sense of guilt, because she was perceived that Jesus imparted no blame? Which is, I think, a very different thing from not having a sense of sin.
Thanks for that. I confess I'm not so steeped in the text as you clearly are, which explains my egregious over-simplification. Are we, however, agreed that Julian has a slant on the cross in which the various elements involved in atonement are differently arranged, differently valued, even to the point of absence when compared with some less subjective interpretations?

My source is Stuckey's, The Wrath of God Satisfied?, in which he quotes the mystic:

"I believe that it (sin) has no substance or portion of being, nor would it be recognised were it not for the suffering which it causes. And this suffering seems to be something transient, for it purges us and makes us know ourselves and pray for mercy."

Commenting, Stuckey remarks: "If sin has no substance then the blood of the crucified has nothing to do with sacrifice and everything to do with grace and joy since for her " only suffering blames and punishes." Anger in God is an impossibility. Humanity would not exist if God were wrathful. By discarding blame Julian also removes the need for forgiveness.

Julian "And though our earthly mother may allow her child to perish, our heavenly mother Jesus cannot allow us who are his children to perish; for he and none but he is almighty, all wisdom and all love."

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Kwesi
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Cliffdweller
quote:
I think I would say forgiveness is one sign of salvation
So, how do you handle Paul's injunction to the Corinthians that they are to tell people they are already forgiven and should, therefore, seek reconciliation? If we are all forgiven willy-nilly then are we all saved? Perhaps we are.
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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Cliffdweller
quote:
I think I would say forgiveness is one sign of salvation
So, how do you handle Paul's injunction to the Corinthians that they are to tell people they are already forgiven and should, therefore, seek reconciliation? If we are all forgiven willy-nilly then are we all saved? Perhaps we are.
Perhaps indeed

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Gamaliel
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I'm no expert on Julian of Norwich either, but her views have tended to make people a bit jumpy ...

I've always taken her thing about sin having no 'substance' being more about it being the absence of good or virtue in a kind of apophatic sense ... ie sin is 'not virtue' or sin is 'the absence of good' as it were ...

In a similar way to how people talk about evil not having a 'positive' existence itself but being the absence of all that is good and true ...

But that's just my surmise ...

Mother Julian certainly put an emphasis on the Cross though ...

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
So, how do you handle Paul's injunction to the Corinthians that they are to tell people they are already forgiven and should, therefore, seek reconciliation? If we are all forgiven willy-nilly then are we all saved? Perhaps we are.

Or maybe the whole beef that Paul was talking about just wasn't about God's forgiveness. That offering to forgive the penitent was the first part of the process of atonement, not the last.

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arse

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Kwesi
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Gamaliel
quote:
Mother Julian certainly put an emphasis on the Cross though.

She certainly makes me "jumpy"! Of course she places a heavy emphasis on the cross, but clearly in ways which are quite distinct from other approaches. My reference to her originally was to underline the catholicity of approaches to the cross and the impossibility, even undesirability, of identifying any one of them as primordial. Religious imagination is so diverse. Julian's may be unique, but that doesn't make it invalid or false.
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Kwesi
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mr cheesy
quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
So, how do you handle Paul's injunction to the Corinthians that they are to tell people they are already forgiven and should, therefore, seek reconciliation? If we are all forgiven willy-nilly then are we all saved? Perhaps we are.

mr cheesy :Or maybe the whole beef that Paul was talking about just wasn't about God's forgiveness. That offering to forgive the penitent was the first part of the process of atonement, not the last.

I tend to agree with you. My beef is that many people talk about the cross largely in terms of forgiveness, but that is not atonement. Furthermore, Christ did not need the cross to forgive, as God he had the power to forgive sins and used it greatly in his ministry. Atonement is about establishing a positive relationship between two consenting parties. Our concern, is it not, is in trying to understand how the cross brings that about, if, indeed, it is about atonement?
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Gamaliel
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Sure, what I meant was that she makes those who favour a fairly penitential approach somewhat 'jumpy' ... and you can tell from her writings that she felt jumpy about it herself ...

But yes, on the catholicity of approaches rather than homing in on one particular primordial one - then yes, I got that and can see where you are coming from.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Atonement is about establishing a positive relationship between two consenting parties. Our concern, is it not, is in trying to understand how the cross brings that about, if, indeed, it is about atonement?

I think ultimately what matters is how we respond to the gift of forgiveness. The Way of Christ calls us to picking up our cross and following.
No cross (the one that we're carrying), no crown as William Penn said.

[ 16. May 2017, 16:28: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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arse

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Stejjie
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quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Cliffdweller
quote:
I think I would say forgiveness is one sign of salvation
So, how do you handle Paul's injunction to the Corinthians that they are to tell people they are already forgiven and should, therefore, seek reconciliation? If we are all forgiven willy-nilly then are we all saved? Perhaps we are.
I realise this wasn't addressed to me and that cliffdweller's already given an answer, but I don't think that's what Paul's saying in those verses. In verse 20, Paul urges the Corinthians to "be reconciled to God". So he's not telling the Corinthians to tell anyone else anything; he's telling them to get their own status/relationship with God sorted.

Why? Because "God was reconciling the world to himself through Christ" (v19); and God's done this through making "him who had no sin to be sin for us" which, to me at least, points to something greater than God 'just forgiving' people, almost as if that sin was something that had to be taken away by Christ.

I'm not saying it proves PSA or anything like that (I have mixed feelings about PSA myself), but I do think it says something different than what you're saying here.

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cliffdweller
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I think there may also be a degree of "now, with God's help, I shall become what I am" (quoting Kierkegaard as best I can from memory) at play. That whatever it is Paul is inducing the Corinthians to do there is a sense that it is already done. It is a kind of "living into" the already present reality, I think.

That sounds loopy and vague because it's all still rather loopy and vague in my brain. As we've seen on this thread, the atonement is a transcendent, cosmic process that yes, has a definitive and exacting meaning, but may be difficult for us to nail down in precisely those terms.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
Nick Tamen
quote:
Perhaps it's more accurate to say she came to the place where she didn't have a sense of guilt, because she was perceived that Jesus imparted no blame? Which is, I think, a very different thing from not having a sense of sin.
Thanks for that. I confess I'm not so steeped in the text as you clearly are, which explains my egregious over-simplification. Are we, however, agreed that Julian has a slant on the cross in which the various elements involved in atonement are differently arranged, differently valued, even to the point of absence when compared with some less subjective interpretations?

My source is Stuckey's, The Wrath of God Satisfied?, in which he quotes the mystic:

"I believe that it (sin) has no substance or portion of being, nor would it be recognised were it not for the suffering which it causes. And this suffering seems to be something transient, for it purges us and makes us know ourselves and pray for mercy."

Commenting, Stuckey remarks: "If sin has no substance then the blood of the crucified has nothing to do with sacrifice and everything to do with grace and joy since for her " only suffering blames and punishes." Anger in God is an impossibility. Humanity would not exist if God were wrathful. By discarding blame Julian also removes the need for forgiveness.

Julian "And though our earthly mother may allow her child to perish, our heavenly mother Jesus cannot allow us who are his children to perish; for he and none but he is almighty, all wisdom and all love."

Not sure I'm really "steeped" in Julian. More like I've been wading enough to be dangerous.

That said, two thoughts: I think what Stuckey says works if sacrifice is only understood as being related to divine wrath, and from the title of the work you quote, I assume that is his focus. But that seems to me (as noted above) to be a false equivalence. Love can also be sacrificial—powerfully so—and I think Julian's writings reflect that strongly. It seems he may be using categories she would not have used. Which leads to...

Second, and perhaps in line with recent threads on precision of word usage, I think it's vital to remember that Julian was a mystic, not a theologian. She was not writing theology, she was writing about her experience of the divine. That's a different "language" from theology—equally important and valuable, but different.

So I think there needs to be some care in taking what Julian wrote and applying it to theological ideas and constructs, which is what most of this thread has been about. There needs to be acknowledgement that we're starting with two different languages as we weave together what can be learned from both.

I hope that makes some sense.

--------------------
The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Stejjie
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
I think there may also be a degree of "now, with God's help, I shall become what I am" (quoting Kierkegaard as best I can from memory) at play. That whatever it is Paul is inducing the Corinthians to do there is a sense that it is already done. It is a kind of "living into" the already present reality, I think.

That sounds loopy and vague because it's all still rather loopy and vague in my brain. As we've seen on this thread, the atonement is a transcendent, cosmic process that yes, has a definitive and exacting meaning, but may be difficult for us to nail down in precisely those terms.

Agree with the first paragraph totally: although Paul says "be reconciled to God", it's all in the context of a reconciliation that Christ has already made available. "Take hold of that reconciliation; live in that reconciliation" might be closer to the spirit of what he's saying?

And yes, I can only come up with "loopy and vague"; I can't help thinking there's a lot more to this (atonement, forgiveness, reconciliation) than can be definitely, precisely put down - which is why we have all these pictures, images, models and ideas, all trying to point at something that's ultimately beyond what we can say in human language.

Or maybe I'm just too comfortable with loopy and vague - one or t'other...

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A not particularly-alt-worshippy, fairly mainstream, mildly evangelical, vaguely post-modern-ish Baptist

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Kwesi
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One or two comments on sacrifice.

I don’t know what other shipmates think, but I have trouble with the way in which the concept of “the lamb slain from the foundations of the world” is used as some kind of get out of goal free card to explain why, for example, Jesus could pronounce Zacchaeus saved before the cross. If the concept is used in that way i.e. Jesus was already sacrificed at the beginning of time (the foundation of the world) why did he need to be sacrificed circa 33 A.D.?

A problem I have with Jesus as the perfect sacrifice to God is that as far as I can see there is no place for human sacrifice in the OT and no indication of a need for an unblemished human sacrifice in the Jewish tradition.

As with much of atonement talk analogies have their uses, and some are more powerful than others, but they cannot be pushed too far. The concept of Jesus as The Pascal Lamb is powerfully evocative: saving from death, freedom from slavery, the timing of the crucifixion and so on, but in terms of Jewish history it doesn’t have much to do with atonement, let alone the salvation of the Egyptians.


An important question is to whom the sacrifice is offered. According to James Alison, the sacrifice of Jesus is not offered to God but to humanity because the sprinkling of blood on the people in the OT represented the deity sharing his life with them, sealing the covenant. I must confess, I find his approach convincing in the sacrificial context. (As Charles Wesley expressed it: “Send him the sprinkled blood to apply/ Send him our souls to sanctify/ And show and seal us ever thine”). In other words, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is not substitutionary in character but about the binding of the New Israel in the life of God.

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:
One or two comments on sacrifice.

Good comments worth thinking about

quote:
I don’t know what other shipmates think, but I have trouble with the way in which the concept of “the lamb slain from the foundations of the world” is used as some kind of get out of goal free card to explain why, for example, Jesus could pronounce Zacchaeus saved before the cross. If the concept is used in that way i.e. Jesus was already sacrificed at the beginning of time (the foundation of the world) why did he need to be sacrificed circa 33 A.D.?
My take is that circa A.D. 33 is the intersection of eternal reality and human history. The second person of the Trinity eternally offers himself. The Incarnate Word joins human self-offering to that eternal self-offering and enables us to join in that. That joining of the human and the divine is key to reconciliation (atonement) between God and humanity.

quote:
A problem I have with Jesus as the perfect sacrifice to God is that as far as I can see there is no place for human sacrifice in the OT and no indication of a need for an unblemished human sacrifice in the Jewish tradition.
Agreed! The sacrifice of Jesus isn't about human sacrifice; it's about complete self-sacrifice, about sacrificial love.

quote:
As with much of atonement talk analogies have their uses, and some are more powerful than others, but they cannot be pushed too far. The concept of Jesus as The Pascal Lamb is powerfully evocative: saving from death, freedom from slavery, the timing of the crucifixion and so on, but in terms of Jewish history it doesn’t have much to do with atonement, let alone the salvation of the Egyptians.
I'd say it goes a little further than that. The Passover is The Defining Moment of Jewish history. It is the "remember who you are" moment. And I would say that the themes of Passover—redemption, liberation from bondage, the God who now tabernacles in the midst of the people, the God who leads to the Promised Land—are inextricably part of what we're taking about when we talk about atonement/God's reconciling work in Christ.

But agreed about pushing analogies too far.

quote:
An important question is to whom the sacrifice is offered. According to James Alison, the sacrifice of Jesus is not offered to God but to humanity because the sprinkling of blood on the people in the OT represented the deity sharing his life with them, sealing the covenant. I must confess, I find his approach convincing in the sacrificial context. (As Charles Wesley expressed it: “Send him the sprinkled blood to apply/ Send him our souls to sanctify/ And show and seal us ever thine”). In other words, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is not substitutionary in character but about the binding of the New Israel in the life of God.
I've had that same thought about Christ's sacrifice really being offered to humanity, and it has traction with me. I think it's part of the picture, but not all of it. I say that because I think the Son offering himself to the Father is also part of the picture.

But I don't think it has to be "either/or." I think both views tell us part (and still only part) of what's going on, and tell us part of what a life in Christ means—offering ourselves, all that we are, to God and to humanity.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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stonespring
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I saw this interview with the author of a new book on the crucifixion and thought it might be germane to this thread. Sorry if someone has already mentioned this author (Fleming Rutledge) or her new book. The link also has a video of her giving a speech on her book's topic.

http://religionnews.com/2017/05/17/fleming-rutledge-woman-crucifixion/

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mr cheesy
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Thanks, that's interesting.

This is a much longer series of teaching by Fleming Rutledge on the Cross, the relevant bit seems to start at 1h:18m - where she expounds about sin being both about individual guilt and corporate powers.

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arse

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Nick Tamen

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Thanks stonespring and mr cheesy. Having heard Fleming Rutledge preach, I look forward to reading and watching.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Kwesi:

A problem I have with Jesus as the perfect sacrifice to God is that as far as I can see there is no place for human sacrifice in the OT and no indication of a need for an unblemished human sacrifice in the Jewish tradition.

On the face of it, this does not appear to be a problem to the writer of Hebrews.

Do you have a problem with the book's canonicity?

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Gamaliel
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Canonicity or interpretation?

There are different questions here.

It could be that Kwesi understands the way that Christ fulfils the OT sacrificial system in a different way to how you understand it, Kaplan.

That's a different issue to not accepting it's canonicity.

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Kwesi
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Kaplan Corday
quote:
On the face of it, this does not appear to be a problem to the writer of Hebrews.

Fair point.

I must confess I’m not over-familiar, even in my amateur way, with the sacrificial aproach to the cross, though this thread has done much to get me thinking more seriously about it.

I have, however, long been intrigued as to how the author of Hebrews gets to the notion of the need for or the role of a perfect human sacrifice from his religious tradition. Clearly, it doesn’t ever seem to have been then or subsequently a feature of Judaism.

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Honest Ron Bacardi
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I think it is fair to say that the writer to the Hebrews is writing precisely because the Jewish members of the early church were having a problem understanding how the OT sacrifices were prefiguring the one-time offering of Jesus.

It's also worth pointing out that in stressing that this sacrifice is a one-off for all time, the writer indicates that the reason for this is that the earlier sacrifices were by mortals in the copy of the holy places (i.e. the temple). Jesus's offering by contrast is in the real holy place (i.e. heaven). The blood of bulls and goats (i.e. the Yom Kippur ritual) doesn't actually take away sins.

As to there being no human sacrifices in the OT, indeed not! That surely is the main purpose of the non-sacrifice of Isaac. Through the demonstration of ultimate loyalty to YHWH, the entire concept of sacrifices is turned on its head. "God will provide" in future.

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Gamaliel
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Yes, and as the writer to the Hebrews appears to be at pains to highlight the divinity of Christ ... then it goes beyond what we might call 'human sacrifice' - as God in Christ is 'absorbing' and fulfilling the OT sacrificial system ...

At least, that's always been the way it's been taught/understood in the circles I've moved in.

'To which of the angels did God ever say ...?' etc

So, yes, I can certainly see how the Epistle to the Hebrews can be used to support a 'sacrificial' and 'satisfaction' model of the atonement - particularly as we are told that the earthly and ritualised sacrifices of the OT 'dispensation' (if I can put it that way with a slight nod towards Jamat and Mudfrog ... [Biased] ) are somehow shadows/reflections of the heavenly 'Holy of Holies' ...

Which in turn supports Mudfrog's point about the 'Lamb slain before the foundation of the world' ...

There is something eternal and cosmic at the heart of the Atonement - however we understand it.

I still don't think though, that it boils down to a case of regarding this, that or the other NT book as not deserving a place in the canon.

There are still issues of interpretation, emphasis and the weight we put on various aspects - as well as the inevitable extent to which our own particular Christian traditions incline us towards one or another interpretation or model.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
On the face of it, this does not appear to be a problem to the writer of Hebrews.

Do you have a problem with the book's canonicity?

It seems to me that there is a problem with integrating the Hebrews understanding into the OT whichever way around you do it.

If one takes the position that Hebrews is the "ultimate" (and/or highest or latest) understanding of sacrifice, then one appears to be saying that all the temple stuff was in vain, that the only true sacrifice was that of Christ on the cross. Which is problematic because it seems to contradict what the OT records about directions for the temple sacrifice.

But if one takes the view that the activities in the temple were salvic - and did have an effect on taking away corporate, and by extension individual sins, then what was the point in the atonement at all? If it was about a payment for sin, then why not carry on with the animal sacrifice?

As for the canonicity, I think the time for that is long gone now; we have what we have. Actually I think having texts which make us think and re-evaluate our thinking is good - I just don't accept that belief "in" Hebrews means that we inevitably have to accept an atonement which is about substitution or payment for sin.

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arse

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Kwesi
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Gamaliel
quote:
Which in turn supports Mudfrog's point about the 'Lamb slain before the foundation of the world' ...

Meaning what exactly? Believe me, i ask the question quite neutrally.

On the question of accessibility in Hebrews- the veil and so on, isn't it in conflict with the concept of the incarnation?

Also, why is the sacrifice of Christ required for the forgiveness of sin? Does not Christ forgive because it is an attribute of his participation in the Trinity? There seems to me a conflict here between the writer of Hebrews and the gospel witnesses.

The most helpful way I can look at Christ's sacrifice and blood symbolically is in covenant terms: the creation of a new community sealed by the sprinkling of blood as was the case with the sealing of the old covenant in the desert. In this context, in other words, sacrifice is about the creation of community and sustaining it with the life of the God, a God at one with his people (atonement).

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Jamat
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quote:
Mr Cheesy: it seems to me that there is a problem with integrating the Hebrews understanding into the OT whichever way around you do i
No, there is not problem at all. Hebrews explains quite clearly how Jesus replaced the many OT sacrifices with the once for all sacrifice of himself. Their function was perfectly clear, they covered sin temporarily, but were simply a type of the permanent covering for sin,the blood of Jesus himself, who was offered once ..as stated, " at the consummation of the ages he has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself " Heb9:26b.
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Gamaliel
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I offered Mudfrog's point quite 'neutrally' too, insofar as I am stating that I understand it and can see both where he gets it from and how he is applying it.

The 'what exactly?' I took from Mudfrog's deployment of this text was that sacrifice was 'in the mind of God' if we can put it that way, from eternity ...

That Christ's atoning and sacrificial death wasn't a bolt-on extra or afterthought but something that was mysteriously ordained - as it were - from eternity ...

It had been in the mind and heart of God - if we can anthropomorphise it that way, even before the creation of the world.

So, by extension, the elaborate OT system of sacrifices were there to foreshadow and lead up to the ultimate and final sacrifice that was carried out by God himself - in Christ.

Of course, as with the Apostle Paul's argument in Romans, the early Christians had to find some kind of way to explain / understand how the work of Christ somehow superseded and fulfilled the OT Law and ceremonies ...

And the Epistle to the Romans - which is essentially about how Gentiles can be included in the Covenant community - and the Epistle to the Hebrews represent how they did that ...

Which is one of the reasons why I keep wanting to bounce discussions about Romans out of the 16th century and into its 1st century context - but that's by the by ...

As far as the 'accessibility' aspect goes, the 'veil' and so on - well no, I don't see how that is in conflict with the concept of the Incarnation. The 'veil' was 'torn in two' we're told at Christ's death on the Cross.

Liturgically, as it were, the 'veil' is represented and transcended, if you like, in the Orthodox tradition by the use of the iconostasis - and the way the priest, deacon and the 'Holy Gifts' come 'out' from behind it is a physical reminder of how God in Christ came from that which was veiled into the here and now ...

It also physically demonstrates a now and not yet aspect too ...

Is anyone suggesting that the Orthodox don't have an understanding of the Incarnation because elements of their Liturgical actions are effectively 'veiled' to a certain extent?

I would understand the 'accessibility' aspect being fully compatible between Hebrews and the rest of the NT. Why? Because Hebrews does a different 'job' if you like, to the Gospels ... The other Epistles do a different 'job' to the Gospels ... the Gospels each do different 'jobs' to one another ...

I understand that there was some controversy as to whether to admit Hebrews to the NT canon as there were issues around authorship and so on.

But that's another issue.

The issue as to whether the sacrifice of Christ is required for the forgiveness of sins - rather than forgiveness simply being an attribute of God's grace and mercy - well, that's what we're trying to work out and grapple with in this thread ...

Jolly Jape, mr cheesy and others believe that the atonement has little or nothing to do with 'forgiveness' as such - that's a 'given' - but everything to do with the conquest of Death and the provision of an example to live by ...

If I understand them correctly ...

Others, obviously, take a different view. I'm here to hear all sides.

On the covenantal/community terms you've highlighted, again, I don't see how that is incompatible with any of the atonement models we've been discussing.

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http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
No, there is not problem at all. Hebrews explains quite clearly how Jesus replaced the many OT sacrifices with the once for all sacrifice of himself. Their function was perfectly clear, they covered sin temporarily, but were simply a type of the permanent covering for sin,the blood of Jesus himself, who was offered once ..as stated, " at the consummation of the ages he has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself " Heb9:26b.

Again, that's simply not the OT record, which fairly clearly makes the case that the temple sacrifice wasn't sufficient.

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arse

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Honest Ron Bacardi
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Jamat:
No, there is not problem at all. Hebrews explains quite clearly how Jesus replaced the many OT sacrifices with the once for all sacrifice of himself. Their function was perfectly clear, they covered sin temporarily, but were simply a type of the permanent covering for sin,the blood of Jesus himself, who was offered once ..as stated, " at the consummation of the ages he has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself " Heb9:26b.

Again, that's simply not the OT record, which fairly clearly makes the case that the temple sacrifice wasn't sufficient.
That's right, but it does rely on the belief that the temple actions were operative rather then representative. Whilst no doubt some Jews thought they were the former, there is plenty of evidence that many thought the latter, and believed that to be the official view. The high priest after all bears a diadem - a gold plate inscribed with the consecration of the tetragrammaton (YHWH)when he enters the Holy of Holies. Certainly there are writings in second temple Judaism bold enough to say that in this respect, the high priest is YHWH.

The day of atonement ritual is essentially a rite of cosmic healing. There is also the issue of "bearing sin", which is also a priestly activity and which is ultimately transferred to the scapegoat.

Quite a few people have written drawing attention to the symbology of all these temple rites. Let me see if I can find one online. It's all interesting stuff, because it tends to get overlooked in favour of the passover lamb symbology. That is very important but will only take you so far and we are now beyond that point in the discussion.

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Martin60
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Eternity is a long time. The man Jesus was not sacrificed from then.

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Eternity is a long time. The man Jesus was not sacrificed from then.

Which is part of the mystery of the Incarnation—Jesus is simultaneously fully human, bound by time whose sacrifice occurs at a point in time, and fully divine, who offers himself eternally.

And fwiw, I think there's a terminology issue in your sentence that bears some import: "Jesus was not sacrificed" vs "Jesus did not offer himself as a sacrifice." When talking about the death of Jesus as sacrifice, it seems critical to me to be clear about who is offering the sacrifice. Jesus was not the passive object.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Martin60
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The divine human Jesus sacrificed Himself for humanity aye.

Not for the countless other sapient species.

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Love wins

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Kwesi
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Martin60
quote:
Eternity is a long time. The man Jesus was not sacrificed from then.
The problem, Martin, is that 'eternity' has nothing to do with time. Time is a function of creation and will be no more when creation dies. "From the foundation of the world" means "at the point at which God created matter," and is a time-bound concept. Why Christ was slain at the point of creation I have no idea? If we take it at face value then we have some questions to ask regarding the nature of that creation. Was it fallen from its foundations if the lamb was slain at the same point, for example? And that just gets us started! Eternity is a state outside time.
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Martin60
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It's poetic Kwesi. Jesus wasn't sacrificed from 13.7 Ga ago. God has always participated in sacrifice for creation.

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Love wins

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Kwesi
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Martin60
quote:
It's poetic Kwesi.
I agree, entirely! My objection is to its use outside a poetic context in some sort of rational argument.
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