The Evangelical Universalist Forum

How does Jesus's resurrection make people righteous?


#401

Ransom theory and Christus Victor don’t make sense to me because they ascribe too much power to “Satan”. They seem to presuppose some kind of cosmological dualism. That people “belonged” to Satan pre-Calvary is too vague to mean anything concrete to me. And why God couldn’t “take” people from Satan’s authority without being murdered is not clear at all.

Moral Influence doesn’t make sense to me because unbelievers can perform righteous deeds. A Being being murdered doesn’t seem necessary for people to perform acts of mercy and abstain from murder, theft, adultery, etc. And yet the NT seems to say unbelievers are condemned regardless of if they clothe the naked, feed the hungry, etc.

Penal substitution neither ascribes too much unexplained power to Satan nor contains a notion of righteousness that unbelievers are capable of attaining.


#402

I’m sympathetic, but your and my opinion of others’ character may be irrelevant to whether Paidion’s NT texts actually claim that no one is righteous enough without the aid that Christ brings. Is the only thing at issue here whether we think the apostles were mistaken about this?


#403

qaz,
You appear to answer my asking how PS best makes Jesus’ death “logical,” by asserting that relatively it makes “more sense.”

I take it you are most convinced that unbelievers are Not capable of doing righteousness, even though the power of evil is also Not too much?

My question’s definition of PS stated that: “God says anything short of your perfection deserves eternal hell, but I can cancel that moral logic, if I satisfy my wrath’s need to sacrificially punish shortcomings, ideally upon an innocent One who doesn’t deserve it… so that now God is now able to say that your own chosen actions or actual unrighteousness no longer matters to your being deemed as righteous.”

Does your response mean that this is indeed what makes the most moral and logical sense to you?


#404

[size=130]I know I posted this before, but Dan Barker provides an excellent parable descriptive of the penal substitution view, and the “gospel” that its proponents preach:[/size]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=854J4ffKDww[/youtube]


#405

My question’s definition of PS stated that: “God says anything short of your perfection deserves eternal hell, but I can cancel that moral logic, if I satisfy my wrath’s need to sacrificially punish shortcomings, ideally upon an innocent One who doesn’t deserve it… so that now God is now able to say that your own chosen actions or actual unrighteousness no longer matters to your being deemed as righteous.”

That’s a version of PS , not mine. Again Jesus died for the sins of others so that Jesus paid the penalty of sin which is death so that we have the opportunity of eternal life. Beyond this there is just speculation.

“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith , as it written , but the righteous man shall live by faith” Rom 1.17

“even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe , for there is no distinction” Rom 3.22

For as through the one man’s disobediance the many were made sinners , even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous" Rom 5.19


#406

Steve, you restate your definition of the Penal atonement formula as:

In what texts do you most clearly find this language of Jesus paying a “penalty”?


#407

Steve, you restate your definition of the Penal atonement formula as:
steve7150 wrote:
Jesus paid the penalty of sin…
In what texts do you most clearly find this language of Jesus paying a “penalty”?

As I said previously , “the wages of sin is death” , I think there are plenty of texts that say Jesus died for our sins.

I restated my view of PS because you again brought up the connection of PS to the satisfying God’s wrath and eternal hell viewpoint.


#408

Thanks, all the atonement theories know Romans’ statement that sin brings death, and that Jesus died for our sins, and affirm that their own formulation affirms that. My point has been: I’m not seeing Scriptures that use your view’s unique language of “paying the penalty of sin.”

Of course Jesus paid a great personal price in letting his enemies crucify him and absorbing their evil. But I doubt that he ‘paid’ something to God, or enabled God to forgive stuff than he otherwise had not been able to forgive. I find the needed change is on our end, not God’s.


#409

I’m not seeing Scriptures that use your view’s unique language of “paying the penalty of sin.”

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” Rom 6.23

So here there is a contrast between the free gift from God and the Wages of Sin. Wages meaning consequence or resulting from or penalty.

The penalty of sin is death and Jesus said he did it on his own accord, nobody took his life , he freely gave it so that’s the “penalty” he paid for us which is death.

To me this is straightforward, i don’t see anything about God’s wrath or anger or hell.


#410

Bob:

I find it somewhat disturbing that people couldn’t be righteous without a perfect sacrifice, but I also find it a plausible theory in light of Calvary. It doesn’t require belief in a super powerful metaphysical villain who somehow had possession of humanity and whom God couldn’t subdue with force, which I find totally implausible. And IMO Calvary seems unnecessary if righteousness can/could be attained by having an unspecified surplus of good works, because people can have good works that outweigh their bad works whether they believe in Jesus or not.


#411

Thanks for answering that “Calvary” is what you find most plausible about Penal Substitution.

For me, the notion that pummeling an Innocent one is the vital way to be able to declare that wicked ones are righteous seems the most implausible and immoral option. Indeed, the whole original pagan view that perfect sacrifices are what the gods need seems irrational to me.

Could you unpack what “Calvary” means to you, and why is is an especially convincing rationale?


#412

For me, the notion that pummeling an Innocent one is the vital way to be able to declare that wicked ones are righteous seems the most implausible and immoral option. Indeed, the whole original pagan view that perfect sacrifices are what the gods need seems irrational to me.

Jesus is not only an innocent one he is also much greater then us and so has the authority to take on the penalty of sin on our behalf, at least as i see it. You are framing it in the most negative way possible but you could frame from the opposite viewpoint which is that it is a “free gift of God” Rom 6.23 and that Christ was resurrected and sits at the right hand of God and is glorified.

I think that’s a big point in that Christ is resurrected and glorified yet gave us this free gift. Yes he was pummeled which is a very short term punishment for an eternal benefit for us but also for him.


#413

Steve, I appreciate the language you repeat, being one who made my living as an evangelical preacher with Master’s & Doctoral Bible degrees.

But I honestly don’t even grasp what explanations like “authority to take on the penalty of sin” in place of others even means. I have no experience of authority like that. Indeed, any case I’ve known of punishing the righteous instead of doing something to save the wicked from their own sinful life, seems problematic. I actually think the Bible writers make sense who say that it is evil to punish an innocent one in place of the guilty, and that we each need to face responsibility for our own sins. As Paul puts it, that even after Jesus’ death, we will reap what we sow.

Maybe you can explain how you understand this language that the Bible itself doesn’t use, and why it makes sense to you.


#414

But I honestly don’t even grasp what explanations like “authority to take on the penalty of sin” in place of others even means. I have no experience of authority like that

I think you may have experience of authority like that because of the actions of one man , death came to every man and sin came into the world. So although we didn’t appoint Adam to represent us, his actions impacted everyone. Jesus is called “the second Adam” among other titles and far greater then Adam so is it inconceivable his actions can impact “all” in a positive way?


#415

It’s not a penalty. It’s a wage, and the wage is a metaphor. For example: “If you work hard, you’ll get the job done.” The payment for “working hard” is “getting the job done.” “Getting the job done” is a natural result of having worked hard. It is, metaphorically, your wage or your reward for having worked hard.

Death, likewise, is the natural result of having sinned (and continuing to sin, presumably.) If you jump into the water, you’ll get wet. Getting wet isn’t a penalty–it’s just what happens when you jump into the water. Death is just what happens when you sin.

To define death here, clearly we’re not talking primarily (or perhaps at all) about physical death. When we are (from our own perspective) cut off from God, who is the continual source of all kinds of life, we are dead. Even if we are biologically alive, with regard to God, we are dead (from our own pov). If you have rejected, for example, your father who committed some affront against you–or someone else you love, you might say, “He is dead to me.” He isn’t dead to anyone else, just to you. It is a relationship statement. The benefit of the relationship has been destroyed by what he did (or by how you perceived it) and you are essentially dead to one another–you by your own choice, and he by, again, your own choice. You are dead to him because the line of communication is broken–maybe he’s okay with that or maybe it breaks his heart, but if the two of you are separated by rejection from one or both parties, you are dead to one another.

GOD obviously continues to sustain with life all of his creatures who are biologically alive. If he ever withdrew that constant flow of life, we would all cease to ever have existed. Maybe (depending on your view of the state of the soul following physical death) God sustains ALL of His creatures (whether alive or dead to US) with that constant flow of life. Nevertheless, to many of His creatures, God is dead to them–or perhaps they have yet to rise to the level of consciousness that would enable them to realize His presence at all. Please notice this is a statement about CREATURES, not about GOD. God sustains you even if, from your point of view, He does not or should not exist. WE are separated from HIM by our own sin consciousness. It is always the CREATURE who is said to need to be reconciled to GOD. In the prodigal son, does the Good Father see his wayward boy as dead? Does HE refuse to have a relationship with the son? It is the son refusing the Father, needing to be reconciled to the Father. THAT is where we are–we are dwelling in death until we allow ourselves to be reconciled to our Father who waits with yearning love for us to be reconciled to HIM.

This is what happened (to my limited understanding and descriptive ability). Adam was the result of a long evolutionary process (maybe someone will one day change my mind about that, but that’s how I see it now). When Adam became biologically capable of sustaining self-aware consciousness, God breathed into him the breath of life. He became more than a biological machine, but rather a living soul. (I know that’s clunky and I am very aware of the problems with this view, but it’s my rough, rough sketch which I hope I will one day know how to refine or repair.) Adam had the choice to eat from one or the other tree–the one representing the LIFE that comes from God, the other representing the siren song of Adam’s own intellect. The intellect wasn’t and isn’t wrong, but the dependence on it IS wrong. It is like trusting in a damaged walking stick. The moment you try to vault yourself over a stream or other obstruction, it will break and in addition to dumping you in the water, possibly even go right through your hand. Our own knowledge is a good tool, but it is a horrible master. Why was Adam separated from the TOL after his poor choice regarding the other tree? I don’t know. Maybe so long as Adam ate from the Tree of Life, he lived? The moment he separated himself from it by choosing instead his own cleverness, he died to the TOL (which is most simply put, representative of God).

Had he continued to eat from the TOL while actually trusting in his own cleverness, what would he have become? I don’t know. If the TOL somehow kept him alive biologically, perhaps something awful. Like a Hitler (who did have a convoluted, insane system of cleverness) but worse, a Hitler who was physically deathless. Maybe Adam COULD have been deathless had God not withdrawn the TOL from him (metaphorically speaking). How horrible would that have been, in a man depending primarily on his own cleverness? It’s just speculation. Maybe all that the expulsion from the garden means is that in choosing the TOKOGE, Adam made the TOL inaccessible to himself. Eating from (choosing as his source) the TOKOGE, he could not simultaneously choose as his source, the TOL.

Primarily Adam represents Israel of course, but by extension he also represents all of mankind. WE, being Adam’s children, do not have the promise of never-ending biological life, never experiencing death. Our biology, dependent as it is on millennia of evolution requiring violence–the hunter gatherers would not have survived or developed without it–damns us to sinful behavior. I suppose that theoretically Adam could have taken that hand up out of the biological swamp and onto a higher plain of existence right then and there. God knew he would not, but it was a first step–an opening of the eyes.

Jesus came along to bring that choice back to us. We must die biologically at some point, yes. This body of death, Paul called it, that tempts us to sin with its instincts for survival at all costs and forwarding oneself that oneself and one’s offspring will be more likely to survive and thrive and pass on our all-important genetic code to new generations. All this while trampling the weak. Evolution, which served to develop us into creatures who could know God, now poses a barrier to our knowing God. We need to transcend it by taking the hand of Jesus and allowing Him to pull us up to the next level. But Paul also says that the biological death is not the end of our bodies.

He speaks of a seed (as did Jesus) that falls down into the earth and dies in the process of giving birth to the new plant. Is it the same body that rises as the body that died? Yes. No. Is that tall pine tree outside my window the same little pine nut that escaped being eaten by a squirrel who perhaps buried it years before I was born? Yes. No. It is the same. Everything necessary to tell the pine tree who it was and was to be was in that tiny nut–not even the size of a lentil. Not even half. Yet the pine tree identity was packed up inside, along with the life and enough nutrients to get it above the ground and putting out thread-like leaves to the sustaining sun. The only things the pine tree needs from there on out are a few nutrients from the soil (really very few for a pine tree), the sunlight and the rain. That’s it. So yes, it IS that tiny, tiny thing that started it. The tree came out of the nut and the tree is the nut. Only it isn’t. You have only to look at it to see that.

The death is necessary because we are children of Adam and Eve and can only ever be mere humans unless something happens to change that. Jesus died as the representative and the new head of the human race. IN HIM, we are One New Man. The old human race murdered him and put him into the ground with the rest of the dead ones. But Jesus rose from among the dead ones and made a way (yes, literally made a way) for them to follow in His victory parade. He beat the strong man (death or the devil or whatever you want to have that represent). He cracked the four-minute mile. Once an athlete did this, which took so many, many years, everyone started doing it. Do you remember? Are you old enough to remember? :laughing: Only I don’t think anyone of us could have cracked the resurrection . . . we needed Christ for that. God raised Him from among the dead–He reversed the chaos that is death and did the undoable. He reversed the laws of thermodynamics and turned the whole human race (and through us the whole world) onto a new track into a life we never could have accessed without our champion pioneer, Jesus the Christ, breaking the trail for us. We follow in His power or not at all. Because we’re a bunch of exclusivist jerks? No. Because it’s the only way to life–not our fault–that’s the way to get to life and if you want to get to life, you just have to go that way. We regret any offense this may cause–but on the bright side, God guarantees (and delivers) ultimate satisfaction, and everyone will eventually take this deal voluntarily and with absolutely giddy joy.

There was SOMETHING Jesus needed to do, and ONLY Jesus COULD do. Yes, the dead (including us) really did need rescuing. From the devil? I dunno–I don’t think so. I mean, I do think there IS a devil, but it seems to me that the deliverance we needed was from the grave–from death and from the fear of death. In order to be delivered from death (which is the inevitable wage of sin), we need to become the sort of persons who not only despise and recoil from sin and sinning, but who are absolutely victorious over sin and sinning. Not even Mother Teresa could be that person–and she would absolutely insist that she (inasmuch as she succeeded) did NOT do it on her own. We are all in process of being changed into the image of God’s perfect Son. Some are farther on than others but no, nobody can do this on his own. Nobody.


#416

Friend, I’ve taught Genesis and Romans 5 for years and hate to be so stubborn. But the notion that a bad decision by the first primitive guy causes everyone else to have that sin and the punishment of death imputed to them sounds no more coherent or moral than positing a deity who says, in order to forgive or call the wicked righteous, I need to punish an innocent one. My impression is that death was actually part of the creation as far back as the fossil record goes, and my own inclination is that Jews have been historically correct that Genesis’ garden story is simply an illustration of the universal human predicament, that we all experience the ignorance and foolishness that leads us to disobedience and error.


#417

Friend, I’ve taught Genesis and Romans 5 for years and hate to be so stubborn. But the notion that a bad decision by the first primitive guy causes everyone else to have that sin and the punishment of death imputed to them sounds no more coherent or moral than positing a deity who says,

Everybody can see the bible however it makes sense to them but the way Jesus referred to Adam and Eve and Able and Cain and Seth and Noah and others indicates he believed in a literal Adam and Eve so if we think he was wrong about creation then he loses credibility, at least to me. Same with Paul , as it was he who said through one man death came to every man and sin came into the world so if he is wrong about such an important event he too loses credibility.
That’s just my take but if you see this allegorically that’s your choice.


#418

As a wise, old Mennonite man once said, "If the literal sense makes sense, it doesn’t make sense to take it in any other sense.


#419

Steve… does this verse crackle Jesus’ “credibility” or cause any degree of cognitive dissonance for you? …

Either Jesus told the truth and some standing there witnessed “the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” — whether they understood what they came to witness is another story. Either that, or there must be some really old people STILL around to witness what futurists’ say did not happen. Did Jesus get this wrong OR is this another supposed case of whoever “recorded” Jesus’ words got it wrong? Always a convenient and novel way out of a conundrum.


#420

You guys know I have no problem with you seeing these scriptures literally. I’m not trying to convince you and honestly, if Qaz didn’t see them as other than literal, I probably wouldn’t have posted what I did, where I did. Nevertheless, whether or not they’re literal history, I do think they are also symbolic and that to see them as ONLY literal robs them of a great deal of their richness.