Sunday, February 18, 2018

4.7 Atonement in the New Testament

4.7.1 Christ's Death as Satisfaction
  • Historically, metaphors of Christ's death as a sacrifice probably came first. 
  • In Paul, we have, the image of Christ's death as a passover sacrifice (1 Cor. 5:7), as a sin offering (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 8:3), and as the Day of Atonement sacrifice (Rom. 3:25).
  • There are debates over the meaning of 2 Corinthians 5:21. Cf. N. T. Wright
  • There are debates over the meaning of hilasterion in Romans 3:25 (Is it propitiation, expiation, sacrifice of atonement, place of atonement?)
  • In Mark 10:45 we have Jesus death as a ransom.
  • Luke 22:20 looks at Christ's death as a new covenant inaugurating sacrifice.
  • Understanding Christ's death as a sacrifice is of course a metaphor. For us it is a dead metaphor but for them it was a very live metaphor.
  • The Maccabean literature might have provided an ideological precedent for this understanding (cf. 2 Macc. 7:38; 4 Macc. 17:22).
  • From a slightly different perspective, there is the sense of Christ's death satisfying God's justice (Rom. 3:25-26; 2 Cor. 5:21).
  • Of course Hebrews provides the fulchrum point for Christ's death as the definitive atonement/sacrifice for sins. See 4.6.1. Also explore the interpretation of David Moffitt with Christ's blood offering as an offering of life rather than death.
4.7.2 Christ as Representative Humanity
  • The idea of "substitutionary atonement" is another one of the major theories of atonement.
  • The idea of being "in Christ" is fundamental to Paul. We die with Christ; we rise with Christ (Gal. 2:20).
  • Hebrews 2:5-18 probably gives us insight into Paul's inner logic. Humanity was created for glory but "all have sinned and are lacking the glory of God." Christ became human and tasted death for everyone.
  • Christ as Last Adam is a fundamental theme in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15. As Last Adam he undoes for humanity what Adam did at the beginning.
4.7.3 Christ as Demonstration of God's Love
  • Romans 5:8 certainly views Christ's death as an expression of God's love.
  • Parable of the Prodigal Son is the fulchrum point here. Explore theologically any sense that God "had" to atone in a particular way.
  • Explore Joel Green and Mark Baker's analysis of penal substitution. Cf. Recovering the Scandal of the Cross.
4.7.4 Defeating the Devil (Christus Victor)
  • Jesus' exorcist ministry was a beginning of the arrival of the kingdom of God (Luke 11:20)
  • Hebrews 2:14 - The defeat of the Devil was a defeat of the one holding the power of death.
  • Colossians 1 - Christ's supremacy over all evil powers. Cf. Eph. 6:12.
4.7.5 Broadening Scope of Christ's Atonement
  • Restoring the Kingdom of Israel? (Acts 1:6)
  • Dead in Christ will rise (1 Cor. 15)
  • Hebrews - all old covenant sins atoned through Christ, not so clear about the future
  • We need to look into the debates of the first few centuries to find exhaustive atonement (Novatian and Donatist controversies).

Previous "chapters"
Chapter 1: What is Biblical Theology?
Chapter 2: Theology of God
Chapter 3: Creation and Consummation

4.1-3 Sin and the Fall

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