Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Theories of Christ's Atonement - Christ absorbing the sins of the world

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First - there does not need to be a theory of Christ's atoning sacrifice which saved us from sin and gifted us eternal life.

Indeed, the above summary is already a theory in that it extracts, summarizes, uses a technical terminology - and, being thus incomplete and biased, like any summary of reality it artificially creates problems: philosophical problems.

Yet there are theories of what happened with Christ's Atonement, great emphasis is placed on some of these theories by some denominations; and there are explanations as to why it happened - why it was necessary, what difference it made...

I find it is hard to avoid having an opinion on this subject; it is hard to avoid worrying about it and trying to explain things to myself.

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Theories of Atonement derive from the basic metaphysical set-up.

For me, the set-up includes that the Atonement must be based on God as an always loving Father and us his children; individual free will, or agency, as an immoveable fact of existence; and that Christ acted voluntarily and in full awareness of what He was doing.

So, I see sin as coming from our free will and the fact that we are autonomous agents, God as seeking a way to free us from sin, Christ as the way to free us; and I see the Atonement as a voluntary gift of Christ absorbing all sin – all bad acts and thoughts, and all their consequences – past, present and future.

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[That is my primary metaphor: Christ as absorbing the sins of the world. This 'process' happened in the Garden of Gethsemane and continued on the Cross. It was not instantaneous, the process took time - because {and here is another metaphysical assumption} time is a basic reality.]

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Therefore not Christ being in any way punished by God the Father. Punishment has literally nothing to do with it.

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