The Evangelical Universalist Forum

"NT conception of the atonement is defeat of dark powers"

That is a great mystery. How does, He that has no variation or alteration enter into the realm of change.

The philosophers have worked that one to death. :mrgreen:

What Christ ‘received’ was being forsaken by his father. It’s something Christ (the sinless one) had not experienced before bearing our sins. Those were not mere words of a pain riddled man but of Christ being cut off and about to be taken by death. What the Father received was a completely finished victory by and through his only son’s blood - the redemption of mankind.

Both these things happened with real blood at a real point in time and effected the universe. These were events not ‘principles’ and they speak for themselves, just as the resurrection will speak for itself in due time.

But you can’t say the same thing in a post 70AD world and make the same sense. To say that we are not yet forgiven and yet raised from death begs the question: “Then on what grounds are we raised from the consequences of sin - i.e. death?”

Your idea that we are not yet forgiven is troublesome.

If what you say is true, then forgiveness is ultimately won by something we do. Is it our faith in believing that Christ did not win our forgiveness that God will find so endearing? That seems to be your starting point for faith. Where does one go from there? “'God hates your guts until you believe that he doesn’t”

It seems like “we” (by which I don’t include me) like to attribute “earning grace” to a theology that explicitly disaffirms any notion of “earning” grace. Including, as ought to be blatantly obvious, a theology that disaffirms the idea of Christ “earning” grace from God, for us or for Himself (or for himself, rather).

If I am denying that even Christ “earns” grace from God, then how am I affirming that anyone “earns” grace from God?

I can deny the earning of God’s grace (including the earning of God’s forgiveness) while affirming that we have a personal responsibility to cooperate in God’s forgiveness, without which cooperation on our part God’s forgiveness cannot be in at least one way completed yet: just as the scriptural authors affirm so. If you want to leave out and at least ignore, if not deny, everything they (including God, both Father and Son, by report) have to say about our own personal responsibility in the matter, that’s your choice. But let’s be clear about which of us is acknowledging the most of what they do say about the matter.

There are some signs in the other thread (on how the NT authors use the word first translated as “propition” or “propitiate”) that Ran, at least, has gotten (or is getting) past the misunderstanding of thinking that I claim we earn the grace of God. Our disagreement is a little more fundamental than that: I’m obviously denying that God’s grace needs earning by anyone; Ran appears (if I understand him correctly) to be claiming that God’s grace has to be earned by someone, and since we can’t do it then Christ has to earn God’s grace for us (and maybe for himself, too).

I certainly agree; and I am certainly not denying the sinlessness of Christ anywhere.


That kind of argument cuts in principle both ways: someone could apply it as “he couldn’t have failed or he wasn’t really God”. And there are people who do apply that argument, either to thus prove Christ couldn’t have failed (because He was very God) or to thus prove that Christ wasn’t God (because He could have failed).

As it happens, though, I wasn’t asking or questioning or complaining about the notion of Christ failing: that’s an important topic, too, but it wasn’t the notion I was addressing. I thought I made it pretty clear what I was (somewhat rhetorically) asking about, in the quote you quoted from me: Christ could have possibly failed at what? At this, this, this or that!?

It was the ‘this, this, this or that,’ that I was questioning (and complaining) about. Not the notion of Christ possibly failing to do something.

Which questions I was actually asking about, in the quote you quoted, you don’t then go on to talk about. For whatever unstated reason. (Preferring to address instead a notion I wasn’t actually questioning.)

I would put the matter rather more strongly: if Christ had sinned, all reality, past present and future would cease to exist, because God Himself would (per impossibility) cease to exist. Be that as it may.

I agree that if Christ had sinned, He (or he, rather, since God could not sin and even continue existing) would have been bearing his own sin. Why this would disqualify him from also bearing our sins, you haven’t explained; if God says a sinner bears everyone’s sins for sake of satisfying some legal procedure, there is the end of the matter. That would make slightly more sense than for God to punish an innocent mans for sins the innocent man didn’t commit, while letting the actual sinner who ought to have been punished go free: an action that would directly and totally contravene the supposed ‘justice’ requiring the punishment of the sinner in the first place (not to say any ‘justice’ which would refuse to punish the innocent for crimes not committed). Meaning that there is infinitely less than no point trying to claim that such an exchange somehow satisfies (much less again was necessary to satisfy) such a ‘justice’.

You would be better off (slightly), doing as some Christians do who believe God substituted punishing His own Son for punishing sinners instead, and claim that this act had absolutely nothing to do with ‘justice’ but was all about ‘mercy’ instead of ‘justice’: had God acted ‘justly’, He would have punished the sinners; but He had mercy on the sinners and unjustly punished His own innocent Son instead, sacrificing justice for mercy. (Though I rarely run across Christians who go this route who dare to state straight out that God thus acted unjustly instead of justly. But I’ve run into some who do.)

I will emphasize that I DO NOT FOR A MOMENT BELIEVE THAT GOD ACTS TO FULFILL INJUSTICE! But from past experience, I’m a little doubtful that even emphasizing it like that will protect me from some people somehow deciding I must be believing and proposing such a thing as God acting unjustly to fulfill His mercy instead, after all. :wink:

I will ask yet again: if Christ had failed at what? If Christ had failed to earn the grace of God in our place?

If God’s grace has to be earned, regardless of whether Christ succeeds or fails to earn God’s grace (a concept which must immediately strike against the notion of Christ Himself being very-God though distinct in Person compared to the Father), then frankly I have no idea how to regard God’s judgment in any case. What does it mean to say God’s judgment is “right” if God’s grace has to be earned–in other words, if God is not Himself intrinsically love in His own essential self-existence? God’s “rightness” couldn’t have anything necessarily or intrinsically to do then with “righteousness” (i.e. dikaiosune, fair-togetherness.)

At best, “right” would then be merely a question of effectual application of power, in which case the only question would be whether God is applying power in judgment with total competency: a question that answers itself if the entity we’re talking about really is the greatest possible power and source of all other (mere) power. Otherwise we’re not yet talking about God’s judgment at all, only the judgment of some lesser power (though still much greater than us in power, of course.)

So, no, I would say that any of us has lost any cogent ability to talk about God being ethically “right” in judgment, if God is not in fact love. Factually correct in judgment, I suppose; effective at mere power application in judgment, I suppose. If that is all you mean by right, then yes, God would be right to do whatever He purposed in regard to us–just like any other tyrant, except infinitely moreso. Christ’s success or failure to earn God’s grace would be entirely beside the point; it isn’t as though God would be less right to leave anyone He wanted as a dead and disembodied soul, if Christ somehow “earned” God’s “grace”: who is Christ to answer back to God? Oh: is Christ supposed to be God Himself, earning His own grace or something? So what?–that wouldn’t make it any less “right” for God to do whatever He damned well pleases to those rebellious souls, or to non-rebellious souls either.

Possibly you don’t actually believe Christ earns God’s grace (for us and/or for himself), either. If not, I hope you will clarify that. But then I’m back to asking, “if Christ had failed at what?”

I don’t much like using the term “deserve” outside a robustly understood and accepted trinitarian theology; but speaking from within that theology (and realizing my answer will be almost certainly misunderstood by anyone who doesn’t already understand why I would answer this as a corollary to trinitarian theology {sigh}), my answer to this is “yes”…

…but my answer to this is emphatically and absolutely NO!! Where have I ever argued, or even asserted, that God loves us because of anything other than Himself (much less because of some quality of ours; much much less because of some “self-redeeming” quality of ours)!?

I point out that I agree with the scriptures about us having a personal responsibility and choice in accepting the grace of God or not, without which acceptance our forgiveness is not in some sense complete; and I stress (as they do) that this responsibility (and even this ability at all) is utterly dependent on God Himself–and somehow this is supposed to involve us having some quality (“self-redeeming” or otherwise) that makes God love us??! That cannot be validly read out of my argument (or my theology) in any fashion; it certainly isn’t what I have ever specifically said–much the contrary.

So much for trusting in the Father then, Who foresakes even the innocent! (But I have more immediate problems with that anyway, as I already commented on in the post from which you’re quoting. Hopefully you’ll get to that later. Hindsight note: well, actually no you don’t ever get to my more immediate problems with that. They’re extremely important, though.)

I guess I wasn’t clear enough about what I was asking; but I’ll present your answers in parallel.

JRP: What is the Son receiving from the atonement and the propitiation enacted by the Son–something He wasn’t receiving from the Father before and that wasn’t being accomplished between them before?

Ran: What Christ received was being forsaken by his Father.

So, Christ had never received abandonment and rejection by his Father (I can believe that easily enough), but this was accomplished when Christ propitiated and atoned his Father. After which atoning and propitiation, the Father must have reversed and unaccomplished that again (since obviously Christ couldn’t have remained abandoned by the Father).

Christ, accomplishing his atoning and propitiating the Father, receives abandonment and rejection by the Father as a result of his accomplishment. What does the Father receive from Christ accomplishing this atonement and propitiation that He wasn’t receiving before from Christ?

Ran: What the Father received was a completely finished victory by and through his only son’s blood - the redemption of mankind.

Okay, so the Father receives the redemption of mankind (which obviously He isn’t doing in any way, shape, form or fashion) from Christ, whom He abandoned and rejected at the accomplishment of Christ’s atoning and propitiation of the Father. The Father accepts this from Christ while rejecting and abandoning Christ, cutting Christ off from (at the very least) fellowship with Himself. I can certainly see why people would have trouble wrapping their minds around this! :wink:

Afterward, the Father unaccomplishes His finished and total abandonment of Christ (who, being sinless, remained faithful to the Father instead)–impressed by Christ’s faithfulness compared to His own? Shamed by it maybe? Bribed into accepting Christ again (as He had done before Christ atoned and propitiated Him), by Christ’s gift of the redemption of mankind (whom the Father hadn’t cared about redeeming anyway, though Christ did–for which the Father cut him off, abandoning and forsaking him)?

I know perfectly well you don’t actually believe all that; but obviously there are at least a few pieces missing.

Well, that’s an interesting move! So, assuming all the NT docs which exhort us to repent and be reconciled with God were written before the destruction of the Temple, and assuming that there was some point to them exhorting us (well, not us apparently then, but their original readers for five or ten or fifteen or two years) to repent of our sin and be reconciled to God, pre-70; why does the Temple’s destruction mean that what they were meaning has changed? Or are you talking about something else that happened in 70 which changed the meaning of the NT authors for those of us who live afterward?

To recap, you answered this in reply to my observation that, even in the NT, “while it may be true to say that God’s forgiveness of sinners is already completed in various ways, especially from His eternal perspective and intentions, it is also true to say that insofar as any sinner is still impenitent, our sin is not yet forgiven. Which is why practically everyone from God on down in the scriptures is exhorting sinners to repent, as well as exhorting sinners to be reconciled with God.”

It’s things like this that lead me to keep wondering whether you think only redeemed people are raised from death. Because, once again, and as I said before (in one of those places you quoted, though you didn’t address this topic): it’s pretty damned obvious (so to speak) that when the impenitent wicked are raised from the dead, they sure aren’t being raised from all the consequences of their sins.

So again, while it may be true to say that God’s forgiveness of even those sinners is already completed in various ways, especially from His eternal perspective and intentions, it is also true to say that insofar as any sinner is still impenitent, then their sin (I said ‘our’ originally, speaking as someone who is still occasionally impenitent about my sins) is not yet forgiven. Which is why practically everyone from God on down in the scriptures, including in the final chapter of RevJohn, is exhorting sinners to repent and be healed–including in the final chapter of RevJohn (after the descent of the New Jerusalem from heaven, as well as after the general resurrection and the lake of fire judgment.)

The NT authors don’t think so; Jesus by report doesn’t think so. Neither do I. We do however all say that without repentance by the sinner, there will be no forgiveness. Because such repentance wins forgiveness? NO!!–none of us say that. Salvation isn’t about winning forgiveness at all.

It isn’t only “my idea”. But then, neither is it only “my idea” that in another way we are already forgiven. Both ideas ought to be kept in the theological account. You might find it at least a little less troublesome, if you did so–and even less troublesome if you ever came to understand that God’s forgiveness doesn’t have to be, and never had to be, earned. :slight_smile:

(But, if God’s forgiveness does have to be earned after all, then I can see why the NT authors’ insistence that even Christian sinners are not yet forgiven in some way, would be extremely worrisome: who is going to earn that forgiveness, then?! Christ’s work is finished; and no sinner can earn forgiveness; so… Fortunately, not my problem, since I deny that God’s forgiveness has to be earned by anyone. :smiley: )

You really haven’t been reading me with enough attention, if you think that my starting point is, in any way, “God hates your guts”. :wink: I don’t believe God has to be “endeared to us” by anyone at all.

On the contrary, I have been exceedingly consistent in saying what amounts to this: that the starting point of our salvation is God’s love for us. God’s love does not have to be earned, or bought, nor ‘propitiated’, much less ‘atoned’ by anyone. God is love. 1 John 4 says as plainly as anyone could possibly make it, that when God sends His Son as propitiation concerning our sins, He was already loving us by doing so.

Any understanding of what it means for God’s Son to be the {hilasmos}, which does not involve the Father already loving us (because God is love) when He sends the Son, is simply out of bounds from the outset. Similarly, “For God so loved the world that He sent His only-begotten Son”. Not “For God so hated the world that He sent His only-begotten Son so that the Son could somehow convince Him to love the world instead”, nor anything else like that.

God’s love come first; everything else follows from that, including our salvation from sin.

There were some awfully important parts to the grand finale of my three-part reply last Saturday, that didn’t get addressed, but really need to be. So I’ll repost them here.

Yep; sure enough, as a trinitarian theist, I have to deny that, too. Though I would deny it anyway based on actual contextual appliction of the cry from the cross (such as I discuss here), even if I wasn’t a trinitarian theist. And I would deny it anyway from the evidence of the resurrection itself, so long as I accept the resurrection happened and was done by God (as I discuss here), even if I wasn’t a trinitarian theist. Had God actually “forsaken” Christ, there would have been no resurrection, which is a big point of the appeal to the resurrection in the sermons of Acts: that Jesus was in fact (by God! :mrgreen: ) what He had claimed to be. Whereas, you seem to think instead that there would have been no resurrection if God had not forsaken Christ.

Moreover (and maybe even more importantly), theologians who promote penal substitution (of the sort that involves Christ “atoning” and/or “propitiating” God anyway), require that Christ can somehow change God’s mind about forsaking Christ and convince God come back to Christ anyway. But if God is supposed to be forsaking Christ as though Christ is a sinner (even though Christ isn’t), then Christ, now in the position of the sinner, has the same ability as a sinner, insofar as God actually treats him as (or like) a sinner, to “atone God”: which, as you continually point out (and which, ironically, I agree with), is NO ABILITY.

Either way, the fact is that your own theology and soteriology ultimately requires that God did not forsake Christ. Except that, as you quite directly point out, your soteriology also does require that God did foresake Christ, so that Christ can bear the full penalty for sin instead of any sinner: penal substitution. Typically the fullest penalty for sin would be annihilation or, at best (if it can be called best, and assuming this wouldn’t amount to annihilation anyway), being hopelessly and permanently forsaken by God. Or being hopelessly and permanently tormented by God in punishment.

If any one of those is what Christ is supposed to be saving us from, however, per penal substitution of himself for us (not even of Himself for us), then one of those is what Christ has to suffer instead of us.

Except, clearly Christ doesn’t suffer any of those at all! Christ is not permanently annihilated; Christ is not forsaken and abandoned by God forever (while somehow continuing to exist or otherwise); Christ is not hopelessly tortured forever by (what this type of theology considers to be) “an essentially Just” God. If we did think Christ suffered any of those, then at most we’d be hostile non-Christian Jews regarding Christ as a hopelessly condemned blasphemer, or anyway we’d be anything other than followers of Jesus Christ.

So either your idea of what the “full penalty” that any sinner would suffer is wrong and should be adjusted to what Christ actually suffers for the sinner instead of the sinner (God doesn’t forsake the sinner after all, for example); or else the concept of penal substitution per se is wrong; or Christianity (and the resurrection of Christ by God, as a witness of Christ’s Lordship among other things) is false.

I will reiterate that I would give the same overall rebuttal to penal substitution theory (of the kind you appear to be promoting anyway), even if I wasn’t a trinitarian theist. But, speaking as a trinitarian theist, I also have that much more reason (if trin-theism is true) to deny a substantial schism of the unity of the Persons (which is what any actual forsaking of the Son by the Father would entail.)

Any ortho-trin theist ought to be either rejecting that, too, or else rejecting ortho-trin. Theologically, the two concepts are mutually exclusive.


Jason, I think what you are forgetting here is that it was Christ’s question - not mine - that you are denying the possibility of even being expressed. (I’m sure Christ knew he was trinitarian.)

‘Father, why have you forsaken me?’ I’ll leave it to you to explain to Him how that’s logically impossible.

And I would say that because Christ actually bore our sins*, he was forsaken, our sins forgiven and our resurrection assured. (*Paul said Christ ‘became sin’)

Whom am I to believe here?

Yikes ranran. You seem to be one of those who believe that Jesus existed in an omniscient state on the earth? That He never had to learn anything?

Well, for one thing, I’m not sure He knew He was supposed to be a trinitarian.

I haven’t denied the possibility of Christ even expressing the question. I have, however, studied the scriptural context of the question; and I have written quite a lot of discussion on it already; and I linked previously to where I have already written quite a lot of discussion on it already (already. :wink: I’ve linked to it twice now, including my previous post.) Which means I have hardly forgotten that Christ called it out on the cross. (Meaning I not only affirm the possibility but the historical actuality of Christ “expressing the question”.)

No need; I’m sure He already knows how that’s logically impossible. Just as I can be reasonably sure that He was very well aware of the actual context of the Psalm when He thus called out its first verse in the situation He Himself was in: a Psalm that does not involve God having actually abandoned or forsaken the Psalmist. Very much the reverse–the Psalmist, against his mere feelings of despair, resolves to trust that God has not abandoned him but will instead vindicate him among his enemies in such a spectacular reversal of the apparent situation (that his enemies are gloating about) that people will flock to trusting God like never before throughout the ages to come. (Trusting God not to abandon them after all, among other relevant things. :wink: )

I wasn’t talking about our resurrection, though that could only be true in context of Christ’s resurrection. Which you just talked around my point on: had God actually forsaken Christ, there would have been no resurrection of Christ–therefore no resurrection of us, either. It is the enemies of the Psalmist, and the enemies of Christ at His crucifixion, who are really the ones who think that God has abandoned David (and the Son of David). If God did not in fact abandon the murderous, adulterous sinful David, how much moreso does He NOT abandon the sinless and righteous Son of David (and Son of God).

I recommend believing Christ, and every Christian in the New Testament, as well as the Psalmist whom Christ was quoting: God did not in fact abandon Christ, and does not abandon us, nor even abandon sinners.

You forgot to mention which one of the full penalties you think Christ suffered instead of sinners, by the way. Hopeless annihilation? Actual (i.e. permanent) abandonment by God? Permanently hopeless punishment? Something else?

You say that in spite of Christ’s cry. He asked ‘why’ he was abandoned, not ‘if’. You’re argument seems to be that because we know the end of the story - Christ couldn’t possibly be abandoned at that point in time, yet he said he was.

The wages of sin is death, not torture. God is the God of the living not the dead. Christ suffered death for us. I think what Paul is talking about is him bearing our sin so that we don’t have to. In that respect, death is no longer abandonment because Christ suffered that abandonment for us.

Now, you can continue to argue that he wasn’t abandoned and I’ll continue to argue that he said he was. Your come back that he was only quoting scripture only to quote scripture leaves me shaking my head. Can you do any better than that? The more you insist that he wasn’t abandoned, the more you make him a liar or adding drama for it’s own sake. I think you have created your own dilemma - it certainly isn’t mine or my creation.

There is of course that to consider, too. Even if the Son felt like He had been abandoned by the Father, that doesn’t mean He necessarily was abandoned by the Father. But from the narrative contexts, including the contexts of the Psalm reference, I’m somewhat doubtful He was even expressing an impression that the Father had really abandoned Him. David might have worried initially about this, but from the standpoint of anyone in the 1st century, especially Jesus, it should have been apparent that God had not abandoned David after all–just as David is actually hoping and expecting in the Psalm! What’s the point of even quoting the Psalm, in circumstances which to some degree indicate the Psalm is being (unexpectedly, from a Jewish perspective up until then) fulfilled as a prophecy, if one is intending to deny the whole danged point to the Psalm!?

:mrgreen: :laughing: :smiling_imp: :mrgreen:

abandoned by the Father.

This is getting silly now. The same can be said then for His Father’s love. Why stop there? If that hermeneutic applies to his abandonment - then it applies to everything he said.

Personally I have always seen it as a speaking for all mankind (by proxy) while experiencing the sense of abandonment which every human who has ever been born has experienced - all at once.

This is getting silly now. The same can be said then for His Father’s love. Why stop there? If that hermeneutic applies to his abandonment - then it applies to everything he said.

I can appreciate that you are a very practical person ranran and like everything cut and dried but (since we do not understand all mysteries) if you take a one size fits all method of interpretation and try to apply it to everything and everyone you will be unsuccessful.

Of course someone like Bishop Spong would argue that the gospels aren’t reporting history at all - but are wrapping what Yashua’s followers experienced of God in him in known Jewish liturgy (ugly sentence I know). Spong would say (love him or loathe him :smiley: ) that Yashua expanded their ‘God’ consciousness into new directions which they put into words familiar to any synagogue attendee as this was where the first oral tellings of the experiences were relayed - passover, lamb of God, scapegoat etc…

Finite words trying to contain the infinite once again.

Well said preacher-man! :wink:

Neither John nor I claimed that God’s grace needs ‘earning’ - since the cross itself makes it’s appeal within that grace, not in spite of it.

Both of us were responding to your claim that - ‘we are not yet forgiven’. That seems to me to be a horrible place to start one’s faith. Frankly, I’m not sure it’s possible to leave that starting place since the only convincing proof of forgiveness is now completely subjective and subject to change. Am I forgiven now? Since his initial faith cannot answer that, neither can the sinner, with any confidence, trust a ‘faith’ that is also a work in changing God’s mind.

While it is true that we are not yet resurrected (which is proof of forgiveness in taking our sins away) it is not true to say that we are not yet forgiven since Christ took away our sins whether we believe it not. If faith is a type of sight, or granting clear sight: an awareness of our forgiveness - then a rest from our striving is also granted as one steps into heaven.

Fortunately, faith (pro or con) isn’t supposed to be based on mere feelings. There are times when I feel like God has abandoned me, too; when I am swamped with pain and I can’t see any reason to hope that I will be saved from my pain before my death. (And maybe not even afterward either, for a while.) But that doesn’t mean I am supposed to believe God has abandoned me.

Which, at the risk of sounding silly, I will repeat is practically the chief grounding point to Psalm 22. “For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither has He hidden His face from him; but when he cried to Him for help, He heard.”

Have you ever actually read Psalm 22? You don’t have to just take my word for it, you know. It’s publicly accessible; you probably have at least one copy in your house somewhere. I have no less than eight translations here at the office, at hand. Absolutely none of them involve, or even plausibly hint at involving, the idea that God actually did abandon David (the murderer and adulterer). If not David, then not Christ the Righteous One either.

I have no problem with that at all; so long as the faith of the Son in the Father is kept in the account, which (unless Christ was radically mistaken to have had such a faith–in which case neither should we be Christians!) is predicated on believing against any feelings tempting Him to the contrary that the Father had not abandoned the Son. No moreso than God had actually abandoned David, the sinner. Is the Messiah’s faith in the trustworthiness and loyalty of the Father supposed to be less than his father David’s? Is our faith in God supposed to be so infinitely less than David’s?

Much of the point to the self-sacrifice of Christ is expressed by the rebuke of Jesus reported in GosMatt 26:52-54: Then Jesus said to him [Simon Peter, who had cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest], “Put your sword back into its place; for all the ones who take up the sword shall perish by the sword! Or do you think that I cannot ask of My Father, and He will at once put at My command more than seventy-two thousand angels!? How would the Scriptures then be fulfilled, that it must happen this way?!”

Jesus, in one of the Gospel accounts that still contains the ‘lama sabachthani’, still believes God has not and will not abandon Him. It isn’t a question of Jesus not being able to appeal to the Father; it’s a question of Jesus being loyal to the Father and trusting that the Father is trustworthy in what He would have the Son to do.

Again, what part of the Final Discourse, where Jesus is reassuring the disciples ahead of time that no matter how bad things look the Father hasn’t abandoned Him (or them), involves Jesus teaching that they shouldn’t panic if the Father really does in fact totally abandon Jesus (and, by extension, them)? On the contrary, even if (per Zechariah) the Father strikes down the Son and scatters the flock (as in the parallel account at Matt 26:31), the disciples may leave Him alone as a result, “yet I am NOT alone, because the Father is with Me!!” (John 16:32)

So, hey; if it comes down to mere prooftexting, you have your choice now. You can either believe the Father was with Christ, or that the Father abandoned Christ. I recommend going with the option that actually fits the whole point to Psalm 22; but obviously there are theologians who prefer to go with the option that actually runs totally against the whole point to Psalm 22 (and against major scriptural testimony in favor of the Father remaining loyal to the Son, and against the trinitarian theology that some of them are supposed to be teaching by the way), by restricting to one or maybe two verses of Psalm 22 like they were the whole point.

Actually, even Bishop Spong argues (or at least claims) that the Gospels are reporting history every once in a while in various ways. He’s just verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry conveniently selective about which parts he’s willing to accept as being historical; and he isn’t always overly consistent about that, either. (For example. :wink: ) But that’s a whole other discussion.

Back to Ran:

I’m sure John wasn’t; I’m pretty sure he thought that I was claiming that God’s grace needs earning.

But then we’re back to “appeal for what?” Because I am certainly not the one teaching that the cross appeals to God for anything. Nor are the scriptures teaching this, as I went to a lot of effort to hunt up and demonstrate: it is not God, the Father or otherwise, Who is the object of the reconciliation through the blood of the cross in Col 1:19-20, for example. Rather, the whole fulness of the deity is the one doing the action of reconciliation, reconciling all things to Himself, through the blood of His cross; similarly for verse 22, Christ reconciles us in the body of the flesh through His death, in order to present us holy and flawless and unimpeachable in His sight. The phraseology is exactly the same as in Eph 5:25-27, where husbands are commanded to be loving their wives as Christ also loves the church, giving up Himself for our sake, that He should be making us holy, cleansing us in the bath of the water, that He should be presenting us to Himself not having spot or wrinkle or any such things but that we may be holy and flawless.

The analogy once again is all directed by God toward us: the husband (very romantically and erotically! :smiley: ) washes the wife in the bath, reconciling her to himself.

A good thing I don’t start my faith there, then; nor have I ever once recommended that anyone else start their faith there either.

I do recommend that people who have already arrived at faith in God, remember that while our forgiveness is in one sense complete, in another sense it isn’t yet–not so long as we remain impenitently insistent on our sinning. But I am only recommending what all scripture recommends we had better dang well remember. (Including, by the way, those first couple of chapters in Colossians that I keep mentioning and you keep ignoring as if they don’t exist. :wink: On one hand God has completed His reconciliation of us; but on the other hand the reconciliation is still continuing; and the grammatic implication is that if we don’t keep persisting in our faith, we’re going to be estranged and enemies of God in our wicked actions again. This is very far from being an unusual theme in the scriptures, even after the crucifixion and resurrection.)

Good!–I have never once recommended that sinners (or anyone else) trust their own ‘faith’ at all for their salvation (including as “a work in changing God’s mind”. It isn’t God’s mind that needs changing!)

I do sometimes recommend they trust Christ’s faith in the Father (which, not incidentally, can only be a faith that the Father does not abandon the Son after all), but I would rather they trust God Himself personally, as Father and Son and Holy Spirit. That involves trusting the faith of the Son in the Father, too; but that isn’t what we’re primarily supposed to be trusting either. We’re supposed to be trusting God. St. Paul glories in the cross, but he doesn’t place his religious trust in it! The faithfulness of the Son to the Father is of high importance, as is the faithfulness of the Father to the Son (without which there would have been no resurrection of the Son, to say the very least.) But as important as their acts of faithfulness and loyalty to each other foundationally are, and as important as it is for us to trust that they were and are and ever will be loyal to one another (the Father no more abandoning the Son than the Son ever, even temporarily, abandons the Father)–there is a trust for us to do which is even more important than trusting in the faithfulness of God: trusting in God Himself, personally. The Father trusts the Son personally; the Son trusts the Father personally (including not to abandon Him after all while dying on the cross!) We are invited and empowered to do the same, along with Them (through the union of the Holy Spirit, Who we are also supposed to personally trust).

And even when our trust in Them fails, when we abandon God whether because of sin or because of misunderstanding, Their faithfulness to us does not fail. Job’s faith in God becomes perverted by the end of the poem; but before then his cry is “Though He slays me, I will trust Him!” Trust Him to abandon him after all? Nope.

He also reassured the disciples ahead of time that the Father is in fact with Him even though the Father strikes Him down. If you won’t take the uniform testimony of the NT (as well as the actual text of Psalm 22) as evidence that the quote of Psalm 22:1 shouldn’t be understood as the Father actually abandoning the Son, even on the cross, then have fun chewing on two mutually exclusive prooftexts on the topic. Let me know which clear statement of Christ on the topic you eventually decide to reject! :mrgreen:

(I’m being facetious, of course; but my point, once again, is that we have scriptural grounds, as well as metaphysical ones insofar as we’re trinitarian theists, for expecting the cry from the cross not to be a declaration by Christ that the Father has abandoned Him.)

So Christ suffered the full penalty of what kind of death for us, so that we wouldn’t have to suffer that penalty? The full penalty of… simply dying? (News flash, we simply die anyway.) Dying in pain? (News flash.) Dying as a result of injustice? (News flash.) Did Christ suffer the full penalty of suffering a few hours and then dying to be raised by God to glorious new life later, so that we wouldn’t have to suffer the penalty of dying to be raised by God to glorious new life later? Can you be more specific? (And, by the way, if God is the God of the living and not of the dead, then was God Christ’s God when Christ suffered death instead of living for us? Did God stop being Christ’s God for a little while and then start again later? Was Jesus wrong to call Him “My God” while being abandoned by God on the cross?)

You’re talking around it again. Christ “suffered abandonment” for us–actual permanent abandonment by God? (Obviously not.) Temporary abandonment by God with God coming back to us later to help us out, which would have happened to sinners and did in fact happen to sinners, until Christ suffered that instead so we wouldn’t have to? And if death is no longer temporary abandonment by God for a little while, because Christ suffered that short abandonment for us, that means death used to be temporary abandonment by God?

Be specific. Spell it out. Christ suffered what full punishment of a sinner from God, or what full penalty of sin (if you’d rather try to get away from God punishing an innocent Christ in the theory of penal substitution–sin unjustly punished the innocent Christ instead of God justly punishing the innocent Christ, maybe), that sinners would have to suffer (and maybe did suffer before?) but that sinners don’t have to suffer anymore thanks to Christ suffering it for us instead.

I spelled out the three basic typical non-universalistic ‘punishments of sinners’ that non-universalists believe God does to at least some sinners. None of those were the penalty Christ paid? (Duh, obviously no none of them were.) So what was the sinner’s hopeless penalty that Christ paid instead in order to convince God (appease God, change God’s mind, petition God, propitiate God, appeal to God, atone God, however you want to say it) to give us hope instead of hopelessly condemning us?

Or, do you mean we’re being saved from a hopeful universalistic penalty after which God saves the sinner from sin after all?–is that what Christ suffered so that we won’t have to? We don’t have to worry about God ever hopefully punishing us anymore? Is that it?

Non-universalistic penal substitution theories are very damned clear (so to speak :mrgreen: ) about what penalty Christ was supposed to be saving us from. Well, they’re clear about it, until it comes time to spell out what Christ actually suffered in His penal substitution–which turns out, on examination, not to be at all what they’re claiming Christ saved us from. If your version of penal substitution is going to be better than theirs, you’ve got to spell out clearly what punishment Christ is saving us from.

(And then explain, as they tend not to do, why we should be primarily concerned about being saved from punishment by Christ instead of being primarily concerned about being saved from our sins by Christ. He was named “Jesus” after all, because He would save His people from… being punished by Him? Nope. From the Father punishing them? Nope. Being saved from punishment is in there, too–as is being released from a condition of already being punished–as is being saved from evildoers, as is being saved from natural tragedy, etc. etc., all the other things people typically want first to be saved from. But none of those are why Jesus was named “Jesus”. Penal substitution, though, primarily or even solely has to do with being saved from punishment: that’s why it’s called “penal” substitution.)

I did do better than that; I never once said that He was only quoting scripture only to quote scripture. I specifically said why He was quoting that scripture–and it wasn’t to add drama for its own sake.

When you’re ready to oppose what I’ve actually written on that topic, go for it. If you don’t want to oppose what I’ve actually written on that topic…

I agree that Christ bears our sins; though it’s pretty hard to find any reference in the NT to this. Paul certainly isn’t talking about it in Rom 6, which is where your reference to “the wages of sin is death” comes from. On the other hand, Paul does talk a lot in that chapter about how we’re baptized into the death of Christ so that, as we share the death of Christ, so shall we share the resurrection and the life of Christ.

Wasn’t the point of penal substitution, though, that Christ pays the full penalty so that we don’t have to? And what was that full penalty again?–temporary abandonment by God? Because in Romans it talks about us sharing death with Christ: what happens to Christ, happens to us. Not much spoken of there (or anywhere else in the OT or NT either one) about how we’re sharing Christ’s abandonment by the Father, even temporarily. :wink: (But then, neither is there anything in the NT about Christ being punished by God at all, much moreso being punished instead of us. So that’s hardly a problem. For theologians who reject penal substitution theory, I mean. :mrgreen: )

Romans does have the only place I can find (so far) where Christ is said to be bearing or carrying something that, in context, might be pretty clearly considered to be sin: Rom 15:3. But the reproach Christ carries, bearing the infirmities of the impotent, are the reproaches of those who reproach God. Not God’s reproaches of sinners. (Ditto for the Psalm St. Paul is quoting there, applying it to Christ: the reproaches of those who reproach God fall upon the speaking character of the Psalm, 69:9.)

Christ might be said to be carrying or bearing the sin of the world in John 1:29; but the actual word is “takes away”, which can also have the meaning of sending away or removing (just like in English). Which, not incidentally, would be much more in context of what John the Baptist had said concerning Christ back during the baptism (which seems to have happened before this scene in GosJohn): Christ is coming to send away sin, baptizing us in spirit and in fire, and winnowing away the chaff with the fan.

But even if the meaning is supposed to be “carry”, Christ is still carrying away the sin. He isn’t carrying the punishment of God; and there’s nothing about Him doing this so that we won’t have to.

What about carrying the yoke or the cross? Well, literally speaking, someone else has to come along and either help Christ carry that cross or else actually finishes carrying the cross to Cavalry for Christ!–but I suppose we should probably ignore that. Christ speaks several times, however, about the importance of us taking up our cross and following Him.

The saying about the yoke, on the other hand, from Matt 11:29-30, does in cultural context mean that the reason Christ offers His yoke is that, as the strong ox, He’s the one Who will end up doing the work. Still, we’re supposed to be yoked with Christ in the work He is doing (including the implication of the cross), which is what He is offering. He’s isn’t promising it won’t be a burden for us at all, either. (In fact, readers who don’t recognize the cultural context might figure it means that Christ is only putting some kind of yoke on us!!–the actual wording doesn’t specifically indicate that He’ll be pulling it with us.)

Anyway: the concept of Christ bearing our sin, in the New Testament, is connected to the notion of us abusing and killing Christ with our sin. Not to the notion of God punishing and abandoning Christ because of our sin (despite Christ being sinless Himself).

And now I have to go eat. :slight_smile: I really keep expecting you to pull out Isaiah, though, where the suffering servant is bruised for our transgressions etc. That would seem to be the biggest gun in favor of penal substitution per se, since (on the face of it anyway) it appears to be actually talking about a substitutionary punishment.

Come on. The Orthodox Church believes Christ was abandoned. They are not a bunch of renegades. Forget about Psalm 22 and go with the fact that Christ said he was abandoned. I hope you’re not saying that Greek fathers were not Christian or trinitarians because they believed that Christ was abandoned. Sheesh.

It’s interesting that Moltmann (not a lightweight) finds your argument essentially atheistic and better suited to the humanists. At any rate, I think the Greeks will tell you that if you accept the abandonment of Christ, you’ll have a much richer understanding of the Trinity than a lesser.

As in is written: 13:5 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”.

Yes, “the [size=150]whole fullness[/size] of the deity is the [size=150]one[/size] doing” Amen!

Thus, the the fullness of the Father, in Christ, suffered the cross. I tell ya, this “Christ and Cross” is veiled in much mystery! The intellect can never discern it, as only the “heart” can know it … the indwelling heart of the Father and the inward mind of Christ. The fullness of God even rests within us. We just haven’t realized it yet.

I love that by Weigelius and I have shared it often, illustrating the glory God has invested in man. My friend, allow me to share with you also, another favorite quote that often strikes the ire of those who believe that intellect and reason can open the mysteries of the Kingdom.

Jason, Jesus only spoke that, which He heard of the Father. Only by Jesus speaking to, through, and by the Father and vice versa, could we ever see the great truths of the Kingdom, where all is made ONE.

Surely the Father’s words through Christ, speaking of “abandonment” was the language of the last destruction. How can reason measure such Love, that [size=150]God would abandon Himself[/size] for our sake. On that rugged blood stained cross, did we not witness the very end of Himself and His love toward man. He gave to us, all of Himself. Oh, how this magnificent God of ours stooped in servitude, even to becoming nothing to Himself, that we might be entreated with His very All. Yes, Jesus gave His all for the very purpose Weigelius stated, “that Man should be God, and God, Man, neither without the other.” This unreasonable God of ours, is truly made up of the Nought as well as the All !

Lord, grant us such abandonment that we might experience the “NOUGHT of You”, to know “the ALL of You.” that we might be ONE.


PS. I am sorry to know of your pain Jason. Two months ago I found myself (supposedly) placed at the end of an oxygen line, 24/7, for the rest of life. Thus, I can empathize all the while, knowing there is healing in His wings as He carries us to Himself.