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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Answering a Question about the Atonement in Orthodoxy

Quote from: TruthSeeker
Are both the CLASSSIC and
JURIDICAL view of the atonement present in orthodoxy?

I understand
that orthodoxy emphases the "classical" view of the atonement .....that Christs
incarnation, life, death and resurrection is a victory over sin and
DEATH.....Christs death paid a ransom to death and in a way to it's prince,

This is great news for me as I heard some but not much of this
in my western churching(non catholic)

BUT surely the "juridical" view of
the atonement is also present in orthodoxy, because it surely is part of the
atonement .
There is "an element" of Christ paying the penalty for human
sin. After all Jesus was the lamb without spot that was foreshawdowed in old
testament times. The entire hebrew religious system was based on the idea of
blood atonement for sin and Jesus was the fulfillment.

So I am hoping
that orthodoxy has room for both views of the atonement and has not closed it's
mind to the juridical view.

Any other modal outside of the "Classical" one would have to be an augmentation (added on to it) of the classical modal, not a replacement of it. Also the "juridical" reformed protestant view is not really the view of the Old Testament. Or else Orthodox Jews today would believe it and teach it......but they don't.

The Old Testament Sacrificial System was more about the "Cleansing/Expiation/purging" of sin. The idea of an "appeasement" sacrifice was pagan. Not that we don't embrace some of the good ideas of pagan's just that, that idea wasn't a good one.

So the blood of Christ cleanses us from our sins (at Baptism) and it is at this moment that we are made "at one with" God. The Old Testament system couldn't really clean anything. It really couldn't forgive sins, it was a shadow of the real Sacrificial Lamb Jesus Christ. It was His death that really expiates(clean/purge) sin. It is His death that really unites us with God.

That's basically what the word simply means....being "at one with" ....all the extra stuff assiocated with it in some sectors of western christianity, changes the original meaning of the word.

So the Atonement is more about being "At one with", It's about "reconciliation". God is immutable, so He doesn't change His mind. HE is a God of Love, so the One who changed was mankind, not God. When Adam fell, God didn't change His mind to hate Adam. He still loved fallen Adam, or else He wouldn't of sent His Son to save Adam.

So God didn't change His mind. It was us who changed our minds, and we needed to change back in order to be "at one with" God. And it is God that made it possible by becoming Incarnate, living among us, and dying on the Cross so that our sins may be forgivin and washed clean in water Baptism. (because the blood of Christ is in the water, when we are Baptized, we are Baptized into His death, and as you know, Jesus died a bloody death)

I've been trying to understand the "classical" view for 10 years now, and I still don't understand it, in the way I do the protestant modals. But I have the rest of my life to figure it out. So I'm in no rush to figure it all out.

One day at a time

But as of right now, I am seeing that the Atonement killed two birds with one stone. Meaning it does multiple things.

And I am also seeing that one can't really separate His death from His Resurrection. The two go together. I may be wrong about this, because they both may have multiple solutions, but at this seems as if His death took care of the problem of sin, while His resurrection took care of the problem of death. So both sin and death were takin care of by His death and Resurrection.

And all of that was only possible because of His Incarnation. So, like I said.....I've been trying to figure this out for 10 years now, and I'm still not able to grasp it in the way I would like.

I say this because, both His death and resurrection can be used to talk about different issues....different topics...all related, but you can talk about it in reference to Jesus tying up the strong man, and setting the captives free, thus conquering death. Or you could talk about it in reference to the cleansing of sin, thus re-uniting us with the Father by being united to Christ's death in Baptism.

So it's mind bugling

Quote from: TruthSeeker
What about this then that I just
dug up from the orthodox information site.

"Though the idea of
substutionary Atonement is not wrong per se and can indeed be found in Orthodox
writings, the emphasis given to it by Protestants is completely

It depends on what you mean by the words "Substitutionary Atonement". The classical view has a moderate form of "substitution" in it. It is a substitution void of "apeasement". It is a substitution void of "God's wrath". It is a substitution void of "the penal theory".

When we are Baptized into His death, that is automatically a form of "substitution". When Jesus conquered death by death, that is automatically a form of "Substitution". It's just a different kind of substitution. Not the kind you are thinking of.

I know that it's hard to think differently. It's hard to look at this with different lenses. I've been trying to grasp it for 10 years now, and I still have a long way to go in understanding it.

And even when we do talk of God's wrath, it is seen in the light of His love. So it's more like a "loving less" type of thing....just like "cold water" is only cold because it has less heat in it. It's the same type of thing going on.

So maybe that's what he means by "balance"....I don't know, I'm just guessing at what he could be talking about. But he is right. You can find a little of it in our writtings. But how we understand it is different than how some sectors of the west might understand it.

It takes time.



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