Jesus was not just one more character in history, however important – rather, He was and is the founder of a new history, a new humanity, a new way of being human. He was the last and true Adam. But before this new humanity in Christ could be established and begin its task of filling the earth, the old way of being human had to die. Before the meek could inherit the earth, the proud had to be evicted and sent away empty. That is the meaning of the Cross, the whole point of it. The Cross is God’s merciful provision that executes autonomous pride and exalts humility. The first Adam received the fruit of death and disobedience from Eve in the garden of life: the true Adam bestowed the fruit of His life and resurrection on Mary Magdalene in the garden of death, a cemetery. The first Adam was put into the death of deep sleep and his wife was taken from his side; the true Adam died on the cross, a spear was thrust into His side, and His bride came forth in blood and water. The first Adam disobeyed at a tree; the true Adam obeyed on a Tree. And everything is necessarily different.
– Douglas WIlson, Is Christianity Good for the World?, p.67
I know a lot of people who would say, “I’m a 4-point (or a 4 ½-point) Calvinist.” The point that hangs them up is the “L” which stands for Limited Atonement. This point is the most disputed of the doctrines that comprise the TULIP, even amongst Calvinists. In this post I will attempt to give a brief synopsis of Limited Atonement, provide some alternative language that may be more helpful, present a logical defense of the doctrine, and point to some of its limitations — all in fewer than one thousand words. Here goes. Continue reading
Is it of any significance that in the Protoevangelion(Genesis 3:15) the promise was not of man’s deliverance but of the defeat of the evil one through the offspring of the woman? I suppose the latter involves the former, but no such promise is made directly to the man and woman in the same narrative…that is, unless you somehow count the making of garments of skins for their covering as a foreshadowing of that.
I had lunch with my friend David (always a great time) and we talked about the atonement for a few minutes. The question of a dominant motif came up, and David shared this observation connecting the atonement motifs with the offices of Christ, namely, Prophet, Priest and King. (Time is short so I’m not going to fill it out very much. Maybe discussion in the comments will do that.)
Moral Exemplar = Prophet
Penal Substitution = Priest
Christus Victor = King
To try to set one up as dominant, it seems, is to minimize the others, and quite unnecessarily at that. Very helpful, David. Very helpful.
I just finished The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views, and it finished reasonably well with Joel Green making a pretty good case for his kaleidoscopic view. Central to his thesis is that the atonement cannot be understood by merely one theme, but sees it as a multi-layered, multi-dimensional reality. Continue reading
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of glory of the children of God.
In working through the meaning of the atonement, a couple of things have occurred to me that are worth further consideration. Continue reading
Well, I got through Reichenbach’s contribution in The Nature of the Atonement: Four Views, and I must say that I gleaned more from him than I anticipated. His crankiness emerges from time to time, but maybe only because I’m looking for it. While I am unconvinced that his view should be viewed as the central or fundamental motif if the atonement, there were some brilliant reminders in his piece and he certainly added to the rich texture of it. Continue reading
Second up in the presenters in The Nature of the Atonement is Thomas Schreiner. All in all it puts forward a good representation of the Penal Substitution View of the atonement. While there weren’t many surprises for me (this is essentially the view I’ve lived with for as long as I knew there was such a thing as an atonement), it was a good read and didn’t say anything concerning the work of Christ on the cross that would raise my hackels (whatever those are). Continue reading