Flaws with penal substitution/satisfaction theory


#1

I thought this deserved its own thread. It seems that most people on here do not subscribe to penal substitution or satisfaction theory. What do you see as flaws in these theories?


#2

Forgive my being self serving :slight_smile: But along with responses to reactions to my arguments, I outline what I see as the 12 greatest flaws here: viewtopic.php?f=58&t=1625


#3

I thought this deserved its own thread. It seems that most people on here do not subscribe to penal substitution or satisfaction theory. What do you see as flaws in these theories?
qaz

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The bible says “the wages (penalty) of sin is death” but Christ died for the sins of others so that others could have the opportunity of eternal life or deathlessness.
The “penal” part is death which Christ took away for us & the substitution is that Christ tasted death for every man. Some have expanded this to mean something that it doesn’t which is that believers only have to believe and not bear fruit but Jesus said you will know the tree by the fruit it bears so it should nurture a faith that works.
The penal substitution model need not exclude other atonement models as they are not mutually exclusive.


#4

Forgive my being self serving :slight_smile: But along with responses to reactions to my arguments, I outline what I see as the 12 greatest flaws here: viewtopic.php?f=58&t=1625
Bob Wilson

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I just printed out your paper & i will read it but in just eyeballing the beginning i do want to mention that my view of PS has nothing to do with God’s wrath or God being unable to forgive without this. My understanding is that to me , it’s simply what happened and
it is never precisely explained why it happened in this way, but it just did. We can speculate and guess and come up with theories but Jesus did die for our sins, and that’s a substitution.


#5

Yes, most views including mine affirm Jesus stood in our place and his death was substitutionary. But the “penal” interpretation of that is historically that satisfying God’s wrath required punishing someone with the hellish ‘penalty’ that we deserve. Otherwise I don’t know what the term would refer to. So if your view has nothing to do with that, I’m not challenging it.


#6

Former preacher, Dan Barker, gives an interesting allegory that illustrates the penal substitutionary view, and also the approach of evangelists who hold to that view. Perhaps Barker once preached it, and later realized how ludicrous it was. It seems that he then abandoned Christianity altogether.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3E0Bqa97tUI[/youtube]


#7

Otherwise I don’t know what the term would refer to. So if your view has nothing to do with that, I’m not challenging it.

The Wages of sin is death so to me that’s the penal part in that Christ took away “death” or “mortality.” I think Paul said through Adam , death “mortality” came to every man and so Jesus being the second Adam undid what Adam brought us.


#8

For the benefit of those, unfamiliar with the theory. Fortunately, the Calvinist site Got Questions, will get you up to speed. :wink:

What is the doctrine of penal substitution?


#9

For the benefit of those, unfamiliar with the theory. Fortunately, the Calvinist site Got Questions, will get you up to speed. :wink:

What is the doctrine of penal substitution?
Eastern Anglo-Catholic / Holy Fool; Inclusivism / Purgatorial Con

The bible says the “wages (penalty) of sin is death” which is why Jesus was actually dead for 3 days , so these ideas to explain why the penalty for sin is death is just speculation as we are never told why.


#10

Steve: “the penal part is that Christ took away “death” or “mortality.””

Bob: OK, but again, I don’t know any of the classic atonement interpretations which deny that Jesus’ death conquered death for us. So I can’t see how that definition alone distinguishes PS from any other option.


#11

Does his view on penal substitution mirror yours?


#12

FWIW, I knew Dan Barker and his family as a fellow pastor before he departed the faith. And one reason that I can empathize with Dan’s plight, is that he felt bound to define Christianity in a box, including PS, which I obviously feel free to jettison as a lousy definition of what Jesus is about.


#13

Thank you for sharing that, Bob. You must have some insight into Dan’s thinking. I speculated that he once held the penal substitution view himself, and then presuming that was the essence of Christianity, rejected the not only penal substitution, but Christianity itself. Do you think this may be the case, or do you think he left the faith for a different reason?

qaz, you asked:

Do you mean “mirror my view about penal substitution”? If so, the answer is “Yes.” However, I don’t think my “position” concerning penal substitution is just a view, but is actually a description of the doctrine. I should know the view is about, since I held it myself until my mid-twenties.


#14

Bob: OK, but again, I don’t know any of the classic atonement interpretations which deny that Jesus’ death conquered death for us. So I can’t see how that definition alone distinguishes PS from any other option.

Steve: But then again… although there are many things that are beyond our understanding we need to trust God.

Bob’s response: Well that does not uniquely define classic Penal Substitution either. Indeed, I’d say that for ALL who theologize, that it is because “many things are beyond our understanding that we need to trust (in) God” above all.


#15

Maybe, just maybe, Adam was as metaphorical yet as real as revelation. The Adam story was written to a group of people who were at a different place than we are at now. God had a story to tell a certain group of people. WE keep trying to shoehorn the scripture verbiage into our time and reality, as opposed to wondering what it meant to them there and :wink: at that time. And then working out what that means for us today. NO WE DID NOT ELECT ADAM, AND NO ADAM DOES NOT REPRESENT US IN THE WAY YOU THINK. And, Jesus was the second Adam to the people of Israel, and the believers in the first century. NOT us here in 2018. :astonished:

:blush: I’m not sure many are going to get that jist.


#16

The Adam story was written to a group of people who were at a different place than we are at now.

My default position on things like this are the way Jesus references these things and it sounds like he believed Adam and Eve and Able and Cain and Noah etc were real people.


#17

Provocative :open_mouth: :open_mouth: :smiley:

What IS the relation of Jesus to believers in 2018? And what do they believe?


#18

Well, I do sympathetically think real moral problems with PS and ECT provided at least a rationale to reject belief and genuinely embrace atheism. But knowing the family, I know that this happened precisely when he fell in love with a woman who was a skeptic, and chose to leave a sweet wife and his children in order to marry that new flame. Thus it appears to me that the old canard that the pull of morality issues often trumps intellectual ones for the course we choose to take applies here.

Thus my guess is that his choice to leave his family made continued fulltime ministry untenable, and more so that even unconsciously, the cognitive dissonance of violating his former commitment to marital faithfulness and family could be reduced if he could reason that his whole traditional moral structure was all grounded in a myth.


#19

Don’t worry about 2018, Dave. Jesus related only to first-century people. Today’s people don’t need to believe anything. Belief is irrelevant in our day. :unamused:


#20

Thanks for sharing your thoughts concerning this matter, Bob. That’s a sad commentary on the man and his decisions. Very lugubrious!