Theologica Prolegomena with Dr. Leins "Atonement Theories"

Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, November 29, 2022 with No comments


     English is a Germanic language, and so in German, atonement, or at-one-ment.  My colleague CV will be discussing several different atonement theories throughout the ages. 

CV: there are two categories: Pre-Reformation and Post-Reformation. For our Pre-Reformation theory we will discuss the Ransom Theory, then Christus Victor, and then substitution.  In Post-Reformation, the penal substitution theory became prominent. There is another view which is more controversial which we will study later. 

RANSOM THEORY -- One of the oldest theories. There are several scriptures that support this theory.  

CHRISTUS VICTOR -- The idea that there is this dramatic, epic battle going on across the cosmos. In this battle, we have Christ as the protagonist and Satan as the antagonist. We were deceived, and the death and resurrection of Jesus is the crux point (Ephesians 6).

The greatest critique of this view is that it is incomplete. How does it bring us back to union with God? Some say the cosmic battle robs us of our responsibility. 

MORAL INFLUENCE THEORY -- Proposed by Peter of Abelard. The love of God is giving up his Son so Christ could show us what real love looks like. Peter says that Christ died as an example for us to live in service to one another. Instead of satisfying God's wrath, it was to show us how to love. 

MOSAIC OF THE ATONEMENT THEORY - A mosaic is when you have small pieces of art that are sealed together to make a larger, grand picture. Also, when you look at a diamond, you see different facets of the diamond based on the reflection. All of the theories make up a part of the bigger picture.

I find the Mosaic of the Atonement view to be the most convincing and is what I subscribe to.