Good Friday: A Superabundant Atonement (Part II)

This is Part II of guest blogger Matt Nagle’s response to Michael Taylor on the nature of the Atonement. You can find Part I here:
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III. Hell

Hans Memling, Hell (1845)

The real Achilles heel of penal substitution, however, is hell. Why? Well if hell is ultimately the just punishment that man deserves for sin, and if Christ was punished in our place, then it would seem to follow that He would need to be damned to hell to rightly endure our punishment. Taylor makes several points in answer to this critique, and after dancing around the issue of hell and God’s wrath, he writes that “those in hell suffer individually for their own sins. Christ did not suffer for his own sins, but rather for the sins of his people, none of whom will ever go to hell.

I suppose I see where he gets this point about none of Christ’s people going to hell, given that he is coming at it from a Calvinist point of view. However, the point of Joe Heschmeyer’s objection is that, hypothetically, we would all deserve hell if God had not forgiven us, which from all eternity He willed to be accomplished on the Cross, so it would seem to follow that (in a penal substitution model) Christ would need to suffer the hell fo the damned to redeem us. Thus, I don’t see how this initial response answer Heschmeyer’s objection.

Taylor then claims: “Any single soul in hell will only endure the wrath that God, in his justice, has decreed for him/her. But Christ suffered for the collective guilt of the elect, which means that Christ suffered infinitely *more* than any individual will ever suffer in hell.” The elect, without the mercy of God, wouldn’t be the elect. In other words, without God’s mercy the elect would go to hell; therefore to suffer the collective guilt of the elect would entail being damned to hell.

In regards to the notion of Christ being “damned in our place,” Taylor writes: “My own view is that in order to be damned in our place, Christ would have needed to go to hell in order to suffer there. Biblically, I don’t think there is enough evidence to say that he went to hell at all, much less that he suffered there.” The Catholic position does say He went to hell (see 1 Peter 3:18-20 and the Apostles’ Creed), but it needs to be clarified that it is not the hell of the damned but Sheol, the limbo of the just. For a scriptural proof of such a place see Luke 16:19-31, which speaks of the bosom of Abraham. Anyways, there is no evidence in Scripture or the Tradition (unless you count Hans Urs von Balthasar, and for the record I think he is dead wrong on this topic) to support a notion of Christ descending into the hell of the damned.

Now perhaps a proponent of penal substitution like Taylor will say Christ suffered the same as, if not more than, any soul in hell. Well Taylor himself answers that one:

That said, did Christ suffer the same intensity of wrath and an equally intense separation from God as any single soul in hell? I think a good case can be made for saying at least this much. But is this identical to damnation? My intuition is that it is not, and for the simple reason that hell is the absence of hope, but death is not. Christ, therefore, could still hope that he would be vindicated and knew that he would, given his multiple predictions of his resurrection.

I won’t beat a dead horse, with all due respect Taylor dances around the whole issue – if we deserved hell, then penal substitution would seem to necessitate Christ’s suffering the punishments of hell.

IV. Trinitarian Problems with Penal Substitution

Finally, let’s look at the Trinitarian issues surrounding penal substitution. Joe Heschmeyer writes, “Penal substitution introduces a rupture into the Trinity, in which there’s a divorce between the Father and the Son. That sort of rupture isn’t possible, if we properly understand the Trinity as eternal, simple and unchanging.” Taylor begins his response by writing that:

it simply is not the case that God the Father ever hated God the Son. PSA does not claim that God hated the Son; rather the object of his hatred was sin itself, which Jesus became. To be more specific, God hated our sin, not his Son. But he punished his Son because he hated our sin and because he loved us, not because he hated his Son.

While I certainly agree with Taylor that God the Father never hated the Son, punishment properly so called is exercised on a guilty party who is unwilling to offer satisfaction. If the “guilty” party is willing and motivated by charity, then it is satisfaction. I’ll cite St. Thomas to hammer this point one last time (ST, III, 48, 2, reply to objection 1):

The head and members are as one mystic person; and therefore Christ’s satisfaction belongs to all the faithful as being His members. Also, in so far as any two men are one in charity, the one can atone for the other as shall be shown later (XP, 13, 2). But the same reason does not hold good of confession and contrition, because atonement consists in an outward action, for which helps may be used, among which friends are to be computed.

Now the Redemption is interesting because this Jesus Christ true God and true man, absolutely sinless, who wishes to atone for our sins. For that to be the case we need Christ as Head of the mystical body, the Church and there needs to be a union of charity.

However, the crux of Taylor’s complaint is that Heschmeyer’s objection confuses the economic and the immanent Trinity. Taylor writes:

Joe Heschmeyer, citing, Bryan Cross said that God would be “divided against himself” if he were pouring out his wrath upon the Son. But this very same kind of objection could be leveled against any number of things the Son did that the Father did not do. Was God “divided against himself” when the Son died on the cross, but the Father and Spirit did not? Was God “divided against himself,” when the Son was born of a virgin, but the Father and the Spirit were not? To all these question we answer, “of course not.” This is because we understand the distinct roles and functions of each person of the Trinity and how the Incarnation makes it possible for the Son to do things the Father and the Spirit cannot do, but to do them in complete harmony with the will of the one, true God.

Time for some Catechism: “The whole divine economy is the common work of the three divine persons. For as the Trinity has only one and the same nature, so too does it have only one and the same operation…However, each divine person performs the common work according to his unique personal property” (CCC 258). Now it is true that the economic Trinity reveals the immanent Trinity to us, but it is also true that “the theologia [immanent Trinity] illuminates the whole oikonomia [economic Trinity]. God’s work reveals who He is in Himself; the mystery of his inmost being enlightens our understanding of all His works” [CCC 236].

So if I understand Heschmeyer and Cross’s objection, they are saying that because the distinctions of the Divine Persons of the Holy Trinity resides solely in the relationships which relate them to one another, the notion of God the Father pouring out His wrath on God the Son seems to be inconsistent with regards to the immanent Trinity. If (as Heschmeyer stated) in the inner life of God (of the Immanent Trinity) “the Father gives everything (but His Fatherhood) to the Son, as Lover and Beloved, Begetter and Begotten” then the notion of God pouring out His wrath and punishing His Son would introduce a contradiction into what we know of the inner life of the Trinity.

Now Taylor sees the Economic Trinity as having “distinct roles or functions, even as they perform those united in will and purpose. Thus God the Son can offer himself to God the Father, through God the Spirit.” I would agree the Son can offer Himself to God the Father, Through God the Holy Spirit – but punishment, or any sense of the Father’s wrath being poured out upon the Son is wholly inconsistent with the Immanent Trinity.

There are more objections Taylor raises but this is long enough, perhaps I’ll write another response to the remainder of the objection. I’ll conclude by saying that the Redemption is not simple, Taylor was right in that. It is a mystery and it does admit of many aspects. But unequivocally, penal substitution can’t be one because it is full of inconsistencies.

62 Comments

  1. I heard Michael Taylor say–and if this is an inaccurate paraphrase, please correct me–‘Jesus didn’t have to be damned because He is so awesome that Him being crucified for a few hours is a worse thing than the eternal damnation of the quantity of people that are to be the elect.’

    But then it would probably also hold that Christ stubbing His big toe is a worse thing than the eternal damnation of the quantity of people that are elect who are substituted as the objects of the Father’s wrath.

    Perhaps not.

    But regardless, it does stand (I think anyway) that if Christ had been scourged one more time, or they waited one more minute before piercing his side, then the wrath that he absorbed would be MORE than the sum total of wrath of damnation of the elect that end up getting substituted.

    I highly doubt that.

    Much more likely is that Christ’s loving sacrifice mollified the Father’s wrath in a super-abundant way where quantity is no issue.

    1. Daniel,

      I think the point Taylor was getting at (at least in his reply to Joe) is that (1) Christ suffered for the collective guilt of the elect individually on the Cross, and (2) since “Any single soul in hell will only endure the wrath that God, in his justice, has decreed for him/her”, then it follows that (3) Christ suffered infinitely more than any single soul in hell becuase He is suffering the wrath that God in His justice had decreed for every single member of the elect.

      However, I think the key here is this: in the Passion, the formal principle of merit is charity, whereas suffering is the material principle. St. Thomas says that what really makes satisfaction efficacious is charity [ST, III (supplement), 14, 1 ad 1 um]. So in short, you are right, quantity is not the issue.

    2. Daniel:

      You said>>I heard Michael Taylor say–and if this is an inaccurate paraphrase, please correct me–<<

      It is a very inaccurate paraphrase, which is why it’s probably better to quote someone.

      You said (not I): ‘Jesus didn’t have to be damned because He is so awesome that Him being crucified for a few hours is a worse thing than the eternal damnation of the quantity of people that are to be the elect.’

      [scratching head] Not sure how you possibly could have “heard” that from anything I wrote….In any event, to clarify: I don’t think Jesus was “damned” because damnation excludes the possibility of hope. Jesus did not die without hope. There are other reasons too, but I’ll save those for my blog when I respond to this post.

  2. What I see here is hes baseing his argument on the Protestant view of predestination. Basically that there are a set number of elect that God has chosen to be saved. If this is indeed his thinking then he must also believe that some are going to hell because God chose them to. But we all know God doesnt will anyone to hell.

    Is this a fair assessment of his theological thinking? Or am I off.

  3. Michael Taylor is a scholastic who’s reasoning is divorced from history. Michael Taylor truly believes that scripture is so clear that anyone can figure it out and if they can’t, all they need to do is study a little harder. The heart of Sola Scriptura is an epistemological girder that what is contained in scripture is so clear that it is impossible for man to come up with different interpretations. The problem is that Protestants can’t even agree on such key issues such as baptism, the Eucharist, Eccelsiology or what is the Bible itself. Sola Scriptura would be more believable in my opinion if the proponents forced people to only interpret the Bible in Greek. Proper exegesis starts with the Greek (or Latin, close enough :)) and not English. When you want to take a granular look at scipture you have to use the Greek.

    1. Daniel,

      I am no scholar. I have studied both Greek and Hebrew formally (two years of each) many moons ago. I can still read Greek passably. My Hebrews limps like a wet rag. But I can make heads or tails out of scholarly literature. Seminary did at least that much for me.

  4. “…the Protestant view of predestination. Basically that there are a set number of elect that God has chosen to be saved.”

    Well that’s the Catholic view too–I think even a Molinist would affirm that much.

    As far as what Mr. Taylor believes on double predestination, he seems for it:

    “As far as “Double Predestination” goes, this is the only predestination that scripture knows of, and in deed, the only kind that makes sense, if you think it through. ” http://fallibility.blogspot.com/2012/09/a-pre-debate-response-to-catholic-nick.html

  5. One more subtle point about the heresy of penal substitution and why it will most likely not die away anytime soon as most other heresies. The beauty of the Protestantism is that you get to feel like you’re Christian without having to be subservient or bound by anyone but your own interpretation of scripture. Penal substitution allowed man to go “free” from Rome without the need for a priest. Pism is very, very seductive and appeals to the heart of our sinful nature (i.e., pride, selfishness, etc.). Is there anything more destructive then believing a lie as truth? Most people have a yearning to be spiritual, but not a yearning to live the Christian life. I fall under the sword of my own words here folks. Living a Christian life is hard and even harder if you submit to Rome instead of yourself.

  6. Daniel- huh? Catholics believe in univeral salvation. The term predestination has a different mesning to Protestants than Catholics. This is why I used a clarifying adjective (protestant view) followed by a basic understanding. Perhaps Calvinist predestination would have been a better word choice.

  7. Catholics *do not* believe in universal salvation (von Balthasar notwithstanding), *do* believe in predestination, and *do not* believe in double predestination.

  8. Matt,

    I can’t find it, but maybe you can: Where does your Roman church officially teach that penal substitution is an error?

    If it hasn’t, then did your bishop give you, a seminarian using the name “Catholic,” permission to make your own dogmatic statements circumscribing what you personally feel that Christ’s atonement did not accomplish?

    And if you church hasn’t taught this officially, then isn’t your attack against penal substitution really an indictment of the failure of the “teaching church” to teach things that would seem to be of first importance and at the very heart of the Christian faith?

    Mack.

    1. Mack,

      1.) If what you want is for me to produce a statement that says “if anyone holds the theory of penal substitution anathema sit.” Then I haven’t see it. I would argue that what I presented about Christ’s satisfaction as a superabundant atonement is a teaching of the universal ordinary Magisterium of the Church as found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church §595-623.

      Moreover,I’m going to quote Dr. Bryan Cross, who answered this question more eloquently than I could, “In its method, Catholic theology differs in important respects from Protestant theology, in which a teaching or doctrine must be written down, and its denial explicitly condemned. The Church typically does not formally define a doctrine until it is challenged by some heresy. But that does not mean that the doctrine comes into existence at the time it is defined. Those doctrines that remain unchallenged often remain undefined, even to this day. The doctrine of Christ’s satisfactory sacrifice is like that; the Church has never had to define it, because there has never been a movement within the Church attempting to deny it. It is not that within the Tradition there were two acceptable and contrary positions on this question: one in which the Father never withdraws His love for the Son, and does not pour out on Christ His [i.e. the Father’s] full retribution for the sins of the elect, and another position in which the Father withdraws His love for the Son and pours out on Christ His [i.e. the Father’s] full retribution for the sins of the elect. The latter position has never been part of the Tradition. Only in the middle of the twentieth century can one begin to find certain Catholics, having been influenced by Protestantism, taking this position. The magisterium, however, has never taken this position or taught this doctrine. The doctrine taught by the magisterium, as seen very clearly even in the relevant section of the Catechism (and elsewhere), is that of sacrificial satisfaction, and the preservation of Christ’s beatific vision even during His Passion (cf. Novo millennio ineunte, 26-27). That vision would not be beatific if the Father were pouring out on Christ His [i.e. the Father’s] full wrath and rejection for the sins of the elect; Christ would be experiencing the primary torment of the damned. Therefore Catholics are to give the doctrine that Christ’s atonement is by sacrificial satisfaction “religious submission of mind and of will.”” [http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/04/catholic-and-reformed-conceptions-of-the-atonement/]

      That being said, to the other questions:

      2.) Did my bishop give me “permission to make [my] own dogmatic statements circumscribing what [I] personally feel that Christ’s atonement did not accomplish.” Well if I put it that way I would never get permission for anything would I? Let me say this, I am rehashing was is basically been the teaching of the ‘neo-scholastic school of Catholic heology’ in terms of the Passion – which the Magisterium has time and time again supported. In other words i’m not spouting off my personal feelings in regards to christ’s atonement, even less am I formulating my personal feelings into dogmatic statements

      3.) If my Church hasn’t taught this officialy, then isn’t my attack against penal substitution really an indictment of the failure of the “teaching Church” to teach things that woudl seem to be fo first importance and at the very heart of the Christian faith? The short answer is….No.

      Dr. Cross answers why the Church hasn’t condemned penal substiution – becuase She hasn’t had to: “Those doctrines that remain unchallenged often remain undefined, even to this day. The doctrine of Christ’s satisfactory sacrifice is like that; the Church has never had to define it, because there has never been a movement within the Church attempting to deny it.”

      Matt

    2. Matt:

      That answer is completely unacceptable.

      You, and Joe before you, have said so many heretic things in these posts that it goes beyond the pale of Christianity.

      For example, you claim that if Jesus took God’s wrath, then there is no Holy Trinity. Who is teaching you these monstrous ideas? You are a heretic.

      Now if this was official Roman Catholic teaching – which you brazenly imply – then it would be an excellent addition to our vast collection of evidence that indicates your religion to be thoroughly non-Christian cult and we could rescue any remain Christians out of it.

      But your religious overlords are too wily for that and have never officially taught that penal substitution is an error.

      Your claim that nobody thought that Jesus took God’s wrath until the 20th century and therefore nobody in the Vatican bothered to say anything against it is extremely absurd. And it is preposterous that a couple of Kansas seminarians can “mind read” what the Vatican would do if it was pressed to make a statement on the issue.

      So you are advancing bold heresies against the Blood of Christ, against his Cross, against the Justice of God, against the Redemption, against the Holy Trinity, and all the while doing so under the name “Catholic” – and while implying that you speak for the unspoken official sentiments of the Catholic religious hierarchy.

      And yet you admit your bishop has not given you permission to do it.

      I think you owe us a better explanation. Have you been taught these things privately at your school? Who is teaching them to you? Please explain.

      – Mack.

    3. Mack,

      I’ll respond individually to your “arrguments”

      1.) “For example, you claim that if Jesus took God’s wrath, then there is no Holy Trinity. Who is teaching you these monstrous ideas? You are a heretic.”

      I’m going to be really clear – I never said that. Either you have horribly misunderstood what I wrote or you are making stuff up. The argument is that penal substitution is inconsistent with the immanent Trinity, with the inner relations of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The appeal is that since we both hold these truths about the Holy Trinity, that someone holding to penal substitution will see the inconsistency.

      2.) “Now if this was official Roman Catholic teaching – which you brazenly imply – then it would be an excellent addition to our vast collection of evidence that indicates your religion to be thoroughly non-Christian cult and we could rescue any remain Christians out of it. But your religious overlords are too wily for that and have never officially taught that penal substitution is an error.”

      I quoted Dr. Bryan Cross as saying that “Catholics are to give the doctrine that Christ’s atonement is by sacrificial satisfaction ‘religious submission of mind and will.” Perhaps I should have clarified what that meant.

      The infallibility of the Magisterium is not restricted only to formal definitions of the Popes and Ecumenical Councils. Doctrines are taught in an infallible way without formal definitions in the exercise of the ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff and the bishops in union with him. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is an example of the ordinary and universal Magisterium. There are three grades of assent owed to the Magisterium, and I won’t go through them all, but the third level is a teaching of the ordinary magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, to which the faithful owe religious submission of mind and will. According to Dr. Cross (and I agree with him) Christ’s sacrificial satisfaction falls into the third category – so it is a teaching of the Magisterium, see what I quoted from the Catechism in the last post. But again, if what you are looking for is “if anyone holds penal substitution, anathema sit” you won’t find it. If you did, then Catholics would owe the teaching an even firmer level of assent than we currently do.

    4. Here is the rest of my reply

      3.) “Your claim that nobody thought that Jesus took God’s wrath until the 20th century and therefore nobody in the Vatican bothered to say anything against it is extremely absurd.”

      You badly misquoted Dr. Cross again. He was saying that penal substitution was never a part of the Catholic Tradition – not that “nobody thought that Jesus took God’s wrath” – he would be the first to list of the followers of Calvin and Luther who did. But the point was that in the Church no theologians have held this position until the mid-twentieth century when some Catholics who had been influenced by Protestantism began to incorporate elements of penal substitution into their theology – but I will say this, even then they aren’t supporting a full blown penal substitution but simply aspects of it.

      4.) “And it is preposterous that a couple of Kansas seminarians can “mind read” what the Vatican would do if it was pressed to make a statement on the issue.”

      The satisfaction teaching of atonement is the universal ordinary teaching of the Church as expressed in the Catechism. So neither Joe nor I actually have to mind read what they would say. Plus apparently being from Kansas handicaps us?

      5.) “So you are advancing bold heresies against the Blood of Christ, against his Cross, against the Justice of God, against the Redemption, against the Holy Trinity, and all the while doing so under the name “Catholic” – and while implying that you speak for the unspoken official sentiments of the Catholic religious hierarchy. And yet you admit your bishop has not given you permission to do it.”

      Alright I’ll answer your dumb ad hominem even though it is the sign of how weak your arguments are. I’m not advancing any heresy – what I wrote was in accord with the universal and ordinary magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. If you think I am you need to show me how what I wrote is heresy. Good luck. Do I speak for the hierarchy – no, I never said I did. I was upfront that I am a seminarian and I never implied I was speaking in the name of the Church or teaching in the sense that a Bishop or the Pope teaches.

      As far as “permission”, let me ask you something: do I need the bishop’s permission to defend the Faith? Or should I let people like you trample all over it? Can a Catholic be reduced to silence from the likes of you because he isn’t a bishop? The answer is no, Mack. Your ad hominem attacks tell me one thing: that you have no argument. Throughout your reply you distort what I wrote, you make up stuff and attribute them to me that I didn’t write, you imply either that I can’t discuss Church teaching because I’m not a bishop or that I’m somehow being disobedient by rehashing the teaching of the Church. Look if you want to talk about penal substitution vs. Sacrifice-satisfaction fine, I would love to but don’t waste my time with that stuff.

      Matt

    5. Matt,

      You’re not “defending the [Catholic] faith” — you are asserting a pet doctrine and then betting the existence of the Holy Trinity that you are right.

      Yet the catechism of the so-called “infallible teaching church” has not said that penal substitution is inconsistent with its statements on atonement.

      You won’t go with the catechism or with the Bible – you’re just starting another one of the thousands of Roman Catholic splinter groups in existence – each one claiming to have the “true” teachings. You want to argue about penal substitution because you are a schismatic heretic.

      The saved Bible believing Christians are not as confused as you are because we have a single authority that doesn’t need to up-date what it says every couple of years to keep up with the world political situation.

      “… the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6 KJV[OUCH! that’s inconsistent with the Trinity!]

      “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin.” 2 Cor. 5:21 KJV [OUCH! that’s unjust!]

      “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree” 1 Peter 2:24 KJV[NO! impossible!]

      “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;” 1 Cor. 15:3.[OUCH! re-write this quick!]

      “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:”Romans 8:4 KJV. [OUCH! it’s not true!]

      “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all,” Romans 8:32 KJV[OUCH! this can’t mean what it says!]

      “Christ …made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” Galatians 3:13 KJV [OUCH! it’s poetic! it’s an allegory!]

      “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.. for he shall bear their iniquities… he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many” Isaiah 53:10-12 KJV [OUCH! oh no! heaven’s no!!]

      What is really behind the attacks on penal substitution is a refusal #1 to admit the extent to which you deserve hell, and #2 the worthlessness of human effort to escape hell and earn heaven.

      By jettisoning justice and re-framing everything in positive terms, it appeals to unsaved religious do-gooders who imagine that they can add their two-cents of self-righteousness to “boost” what Christ accomplished – thereby affirming what they believed all along: that they can save themselves.

      – Mack.

    6. Wow, it seems that you read a lot more into this than I believe can really be found, plus are getting incredibly upset over this theological matter when it appears you don’t even believe the Catholic faith anyway. Nowhere did he imply that people can save themselves. This isn’t even a part of the issue at hand. It appears you assume that Nagle writes to dispel penal substitution for various reasons. (What is really behind the attacks on penal substitution is a refusal #1 to admit the extent to which you deserve hell, and #2 the worthlessness of human effort to escape hell and earn heaven.) But I think if you asked Mr. Nagle he would agree with you that unrepentant humanity deserves hell and that we are saved from this by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. It does not appear to me that you have any basis for your charges.

    7. mja15,

      Thank you and I do agree.

      Mack,

      So you are saying that since the Church has not explicitly condemned penal substitution, and since I am arguing that penal substitution is incompatible with thet Church’s theory of satisfaction sacrifice, then I’m a schismatic heretic and starting my own splinter group? Mack that is the definition of a non sequitor (it does not follow).

      But, let’s look at Isaiah . Dr. Cross (whom I quoted to you and you misquoted and ignored where convenient) writes on the passages you quoted from Isaiah 53:

      “This means that Christ carried in His body the sufferings that sin has brought into the world, and that Christ suffered in His soul over all the sins of the world, and their offense against God. He bore our iniquities not in the sense that God punished Him for what we did, but in the sense that He grieved over them all, in solidarity with us. That is what it means that the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He suffered the consequences of sin (i.e. suffering, grief, death), by entering into solidarity with us, entering into our fallen world, and allowing Himself to suffer in it with us, for us, even by our hands.”

      What about Galatians? Dr. Cross also writes:

      “How should we understand the curse, if God the Father is not pouring out His wrath on His Son? St. Augustine explains clearly in his reply to Faustus, that what it means that Christ was cursed is that Christ suffered death.7 Christ took our sin in the sense that He willingly bore its consequence, namely, death, because death is the consequence of sin and its curse. Death is not natural. But Christ took the likeness of sinful man in that He subjected Himself to death, even death on a cross for our sake.”

      I think you can understand the interpretation for the rest of the verses in the context of these two paragraphs. I don’t pretend to be a Scripture scholar – I don’t know Greek and I don’t know Hebrew. I know a little Latin. I do love the Bible, it is the inspired Word of God, and believe every word in it, (even those 7 books Martin Luther threw out of protestant Bibles), but you are being foolish if you don’t admit there are interpretations of Scripture, and it is very clear that you are reading those verses you quoted in light of a dogma formulated by Martin Luther and John Calvin years ago. Moreover, their followers broke away and started their own sects and denominations, which continued to divide and break apart until you get today until you literally (and in reality) get thousands of different sects and breakaway groups.

      So lets recap your reply: you hurled unjust and unfounded accusations at me, you copy and pasted several scripture quotes and then wrote OUCH and some lame attempt to straw man something I may (may not) have said, and then went on to try and tell me my motivation for doing this.

      In short you haven’t said anything to further that penal substitution is true or that what I wrote is false.

      Matt

    8. Matt:

      You claim penal substitution originates with protestants (funny how Isaiah was a protestant), but then borrow arguments against it that were formulated by infidels, Jews, and universalists – and not by your Church’s official catechism.

      You say you believe God’s words; well does God believe his own words? Does he intend to keep and do what he has said? Is he “adult” enough to bind himself by what he says? Or is he an irresponsible minor child and able to nullify his words once he regrets them?

      Psalm 138:2 KJV states, “thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name”. We call it integrity: doing right even when nobody is watching.

      God’s word for judges prohibits them from taking gifts, favouring anybody, or showing pity – they were only to do perfect judgment.

      “Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous. That which is altogether just shalt thou follow..” Deuteronomy 16:19-20.

      “…the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked.” Dt. 25:1

      “According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand, nor to the left.” Dt. 17:11

      God defines his own name with the statement: “…The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” Exodus 34:7 KJV.

      It sets two things in opposition – forgiveness, yet the explicit statement that God will not clear the guilty. That means there must be made the payment for sin.

      The Jews to this day ponder that paradox and have no idea what it means: how can God forgive if he refuses to clear the guilty?

      It is a dilemma that only God can solve. When God forgives, he must make the payment. Thus it is by Christ alone that sins are taken away:

      “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29 KJV

      But it is in sinful human flesh and by blood that the payment for sin was made – and that is why nobody in hell has hope for salvation, they no longer have bodies. You must get God’s forgiveness while you are alive – and the payment for the sins of the flesh were substitutionally borne by our like flesh which was carried by Christ to the cross.

      You have come into this topic of atonement like a bull in a china shop casting aspersions on God’s perfect righteousness and sullying the virtue of what the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished in vindicating God’s paradox of dealing in mercy and forgiveness with a weak and fallen world yet maintaining his own perfect holiness.

      Calvary you pervert into a hideous nonsensical “bribe” that is suppose to corrupt a doting judge to pity by an illogical act of suicide: it would be like a nutty environmentalist throwing herself into a bear pit to be torn to pieces by bears so that we would all have more pity on bears. That’s insanely stupid, and that you would characterize Calvary in such a way is absolutely obscene.

      – Mack.

    9. Mack,

      You write: “It sets two things in opposition – forgiveness, yet the explicit statement that God will not clear the guilty. That means there must be made the payment for sin”

      I never deny that justice demands payment for sin, nor do I deny that God punishes the wicked. Christ paid the debt we owed on the Cross. Jesus Christ was the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, but He wasn’t the scapegoat. Christ was the paschal Lamb, the Victim of the atoning sacrifice, and He was also the Eternal High Priest offering the Perfect Sacrifice in atonement for our sins. God the Son offered Himself, out of love and obedience, to God the Father in the Holy Spirit.

      That isn’t a bribe, nor is that an environmentalist throwing herself into a bear pit. It is a superabundant atonement.

      Nor did justice make any demands on God, as you imply. God could have simply forgiven us because He is omnipotent. He does whatever He wills. He can dispense with satisfaction becuase He is the offended party – see the first part of my article. But He rightly saw the best way to redeem us was the superabundant atonement of His only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

      Matt

    10. Matt:

      Incorrect.

      God cannot lie: “it was impossible for God to lie” Hebrews 6:18 KJV and “God, that cannot lie, promised” Titus 1:2.

      In fact the Bible says God gets judged by the objective truthfulness of his words:

      “God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” Romans 3:4

      Do you worship Allah, the Moslem lunar deity that does whatever he wants and changes his mind because he says he is omnipotent and can never be held accountable for anything he says?!?

      You have a woefully incomplete understanding of the Bible, God’s justice, and what salvation entails.

      – Mack.

    11. Mack,

      “Our God is in heaven and does whatever he wills.” [Psalm 115:3] Or as I’m sure you will insist on the King James Version: “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” [KJV 115:3]

      So where exactly did you get that I called God a liar?

    12. Matt,

      Yes God can do what he pleases, but it pleased him to set forth statements of judgment and justice, and then having done so, he cannot afterwards lie and break his words, or undo the thing that he has since spoken.

      Therefore God established standards and penalties and methods of judgment and he can’t ignore them – they must be fulfilled and satisfied rightly. It is impossible that they not be satisfied since it is impossible (the word used in Hebrews 6:28 KJV) for God to lie.

      The death of Christ satisfies the righteous judgment of God in wrath against sinful human flesh – permitting the saved soul of a man to change from his human body into being a son of God in a new body fashioned after Christ’s glorious resurrected body.

      That change is not possible unless sin in the flesh has been dealt with. Those who died in the Old Testament, though their souls were forgiven, would never be able to return from the realms of death (albeit “paradise”) – their bodies suffering the just penalty forever. But their remitted sins were built up and dealt with at the cross:

      “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;” Romans 3:25 KJV.

      They died in a forgiven state, but had to wait for redemption so Christ would carry their souls out of the realms of death in the heart of the earth and up to heaven. But those that “died in their sins” had no such hope (and still don’t) – they carried sin on their souls down to hell with them.

    13. Mack,

      Thank you for the clarification on your reference. I see two issues here: On the one hand there is a disagreement about God’s justice – let’s come back to that later and look instead at the second: was what happened on the Cross a case of penal substitution or satisfactory sacrifice?

      Let’s look at Ephesians 5:2 “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” [KJV]. Douay-Rheims: “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath delivered himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odour of sweetness. ”

      You mentioned in an earlier post that John the Baptist saw Jesus and said “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). This points to the sacrificial dimension of Jesus’ mission which was prefigured by the Passover lambs of Exodus. In John’s account of the Passion, we read “For these things took place that the Scripture might by fulfilled, ‘Not a bone of him shall be broken.'” (John 19:36). This is a reference to Exodus 12:46, showing that Jesus is the unblemished Paschal Lamb.

      “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as gold or silver, from your vain conversation of the tradition of your fathers: But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled.” [1 Peter 1:18-19 DR] 1 Peter ought to be read in light of Leviticus 17:10-11 “If any man whosoever of the house of Israel, and of the strangers that sojourn among them, eat blood, I will set my face against his soul, and will cut him off from among his people:Because the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you, that you may make atonement with it upon the altar for your souls, and the blood may be for an expiation of the soul.”

      Leviticus tells us that blood was forbidden because it alone had the sacred function of making atonement. I’m going to quote Nicholas from Nick’s Catholic blog: “What is important to note is that the blood makes atonement in virtue of it’s life-force, not in virtue of it being spilled. In other words, the focus here is not that something innocent took the death penalty, but rather that the value of life is of such a worth that it can make atonement for sin.” 1 Peter makes this especially clear, because the Blood of Christ, who is God would be of INFINITE value.

      Thus if Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, it seems the Biblical evidence supports not a substitutionary punishment of the Lamb who was slain but a satisfaction, an atonement.

      [In fact Nick has an excellent article on this: http://catholicnick.blogspot.com/2010/07/atonement-according-to-scripture-more.html ]

      Matt

    14. Matt,

      Of course there was no penal substitution in animals! “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” Hebrews 10:4 KJV

      The mode of Christ’s sacrifice was not dictated by animal sacrifices, but vice versa. The Jewish rites were established as shadows of the true. Yet unsaved Jews reject Christ’s sacrifice because it was not at the temple, was outside the city, was not performed by a Jewish priest, because Christ body was marred and beaten before his death, and so forth.

      Their darkened minds see all through the prism of Moses and imagine Christ must conform to the Jewish rituals of animal sacrifices – rather than seeing that Moses’ code only prefigured the true, it didn’t prescribe the true. You are making the same sort of error – wrongly trying to use the doctrines of OT sacrifices as if they are controlling on Christ’s sacrifice.

      No particular Old Testament sacrifice is able to demonstrate Christ’s sacrifice – yet aspects are seen in all of them. For example, the passover lamb remains dead and thus fails to demonstrate the resurrection. But when one animal was killed and another set free, it does picture a resurrection (eg., Leviticus 14:6-7 KJV; Leviticus 16:21 KJV). These incomplete snippets patch together to show aspects of Christ’s sacrifice.

      The debate is not whether Christ’s sacrifice had value, but that doesn’t solve the problem. The problem is God must put the sinner to death – and man is a sinner (and has Adam’s sinful flesh). God cannot be bribed by anything into changing from that position. The hammer of punishment must fall.

      This nonsense about Christ’s sacrifice adding any value to God is absurd. God lost nothing by man’s sin and he gains nothing by our reconciliation. That he gave up his beloved Son to die a shameful death is not any abundant value – but the infinitely the very opposite. That sinful man would kill his innocent beloved Son can’t evoke mercy, but rather justify God to even greater wrath (Luke 20:15-16 KJV).

      Nor does this “infinite value” thing have any meaning in relation to God’s character – would a man let his wife become a prostitute for “infinite value”?? It’s asinine to think God would become unjust if he was given “infinite value” in appeasement – as if he wouldn’t suffer “infinite loss” by evaporating his justice and being made a crook at the same time he took the bribe.

      The genius of God’s love and mercy is that as Christ he voluntarily assumes human flesh to take the punishment of death due human flesh. Now God remains just – he has punished human flesh. But Christ was sinless so his death was not for his own sin – therefore his death can be a sacrifice for others, and he is sinless so Christ rises again. Christ died to kill death. Now God is just and becomes the justifier of those that trust in Christ:

      “To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” Romans 3:26 KJV.

      – Mack.

    15. Mack,

      We agree on much. However, Christ’s sacrifice was offered by a Priest – the Eternal High Priest Jesus Christ [Hebrews 4:14]. Of course he isn’t a member of the Aaronic priesthood, but rather He is “a priest forever/ according to the order of Melchizedek” [Hebrews 5:6 quoting Psalm 110:4]. But nonetheless, Jesus is “a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of people” [Heb. 2:17].

      What does expiation mean? Now I told you I don’t know Greek, so I’m obviously leaning on a commentary, but the Greek for expiation is Hilasmos, which means either propitiation in reference to God or expiation in reference to sin. In every instance of its use (as well as the use of related words – see Luke 18:13, Rom. 3:25, 1 Jn. 2:2) in the Bible it refers to the wiping away of sin. The basis of this understanding comes from the Greek Septuagint where hilasmos is a term which refers to an expiatory sacrifice of atonement (see Num. 5:8, Ezek. 44:27, 2 Mac. 3:33).

      Why is that important? Well in 1 John 2:2 we read: “and he is the expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but also for the sins of the whole world.” The Greek word for expiation is hilasmos; which means that St. John the Evangelist interprets Christ’s death on the Cross as an act of sacrifice that takes away the sins of the world.

      So how did a sacrifice take away the sins of the world? By bribery? No, by satisfaction, and if you remember from my first blog post – there is some similarity between punishment and sacrifice, but with a few chief differences. For one thing in satisfaction, the person offering satisfaction (in the case of Christ atoning for the sins of another) does so willing, is united to the guilty party in charity, and the satisfaction must be accepted by the offender party – God.

      St. Thomas Aquinas writes: “He properly atones for an offense who offers something which the offended one loves equally, or even more than he detested the offense. But by suffering out of love and obedience, Christ gave more to God than was required to compensate for the offense of the whole human race. First of all, because of the exceeding charity from which He suffered; secondly, on account of the dignity of His life which He laid down in atonement, for it was the life of one who was God and man; thirdly, on account of the extent of the Passion, and the greatness of the grief endured, as stated above (Question 46, Article 6). And therefore Christ’s Passion was not only a sufficient but a superabundant atonement for the sins of the human race; according to 1 John 2:2: “He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”” [ST, III, 48, 2].

      Here is the deal. Punishment qua punishment is distinct from punishment qua satisfaction. Christ made satisfaction for our sins, and there are some similarities between punishment and satisfaction. However the differences are such that they make it a wholly different act. For example, for punishment to be properly punishment it has to be against the will of the person being punished – obviously Christ willingly laid down His life.

      to be continued…

    16. Now some clarifications: (1) You wrote: “God cannot be bribed by anything into changing from that position” – It seems as if you are implying that satisfaction is a bribe – it is not. You may have noticed that the translation of St. Thomas used the word atonement – in the Latin the word it translated as atonement is satisfacit – satisfaction (interesting fact: atonement is one of the few originally English theological words). In other words satisfaction/atonement is not bribery, but neither is it punishment.

      (2) You wrote “The hammer of punishment must fall.” Not if the offense has been satisfied/atoned for.

      (3) You wrote “This nonsense about Christ’s sacrifice adding any value to God is absurd. God lost nothing by man’s sin and he gains nothing by our reconciliation”- I never said Christ’s sacrifice added anything to God, but I said it made Perfect satisfaction for our sins. Nevertheless, I agree that God’s greatness is not subtracted from nor added to by man’s fall and subsequent reconciliation.

      (4) You wrote “That he gave up his beloved Son to die a shameful death is not any abundant value” – the superabundant value of the Victim of the sacrifice comes from the dignity of the Person (Jesus Christ true God and true man). I guess if you refuse to see the Cross as a sacrifice I could get where you would see that the Cross would simply incur God’s wrath. However, I think Scripture is pretty clear it is the Sacrifice par excellance and as such is not some heinous crime (well those responsible for putting Him to death were guilty of a grave crime but that is a whole separate matter altogether).

      (5) You wrote “The genius of God’s love and mercy is that as Christ he voluntarily assumes human flesh to take the punishment of death due human flesh” – believe it or not we could probably agree on that. By penalty or punishment, however, we would mean that Jesus assumed in His Body the sufferings sin had brought into the world, or as Dr. Cross wrote: “He suffered the consequences of sin (i.e. suffering, grief, death), by entering into solidarity with us, entering into our fallen world, and allowing Himself to suffer in it with us, for us, even by our hands.”

      Matt

    17. Matt,

      No, we don’t agree. You views of the atonement make you a rank heretic: You deny Jesus Christ’s direct payment for sin and deny God’s execution of justice.

      As for scriptural authority, you have none. And since the official teachings of Roman Catholicism don’t agree with you either, you are left quote mining Thomas Aquinas – while trying to “clarify” his statements that disagree with you – and citing various internet cranks who make elaborate and dishonest word-games to evade scripture so they can prop up their hare-brained theories about the atonement.

      So “punishment” and “wrath” are re-defined as consequences or results, so that God’s justice is perverted into something value-neutral and judgment-free. So sin no longer incurs wrath, it is likened to slipping from a cliff and falling which “results” in death in a judgment free fashion.

      And you have perverted God’s justice by comparing it to civil law – where a party can accept compensation; rather than criminal law – where a breach of the Public Law must be executed according to exact justice against rich and poor alike, no gifts or satisfaction being allowed. That punishment is not set according to what a person is willing to accept or unwilling to accept – that’s absolutely totally irrelevant. The punishment for sin is death, and your willing acceptance isn’t even considered one way or the other.

      And accepting of any gift, no matter how small, if it alters the judge’s opinion in the least, it is improper (which is why the King James uses the word “gift” not “bribe” – see Dt. 1619 KJV).

      This devilish attack on penal substitution is from the pit of hell. If God can merely be “satisfied” – rather than do justice and uphold his words – then (1) God is churlish, bitter, and selfish to send anybody to hell or to fail to release anybody from hell as long as they are a relatively “good person”; (2) since God is appeased by payment of gifts, it’s incumbent to try to add to Christ’s payment further value of one’s own; (3) since God is not bound to forgive, but merely inclined by satisfaction to forgive, anyone who greatly irritates God further is now detracting in value from the satisfaction Christ provided, and such a person would be “presumptuous” to assume God remains inclined to forgive him.

      This monstrously perverse rejection of penal substitution has been created for the sole purpose of damning people to hell. And that’s where you are headed unless you reject this heretical nonsense and believe the gospel properly:

      “I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you … how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” 1 Corinthians 15:1-3 KJV.

      – Mack.

    18. Mack,

      Actually the official teaching does agree with me – that Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross was a superabundant satisfactionf for our sins. Never once does the Church teach that Christ endured the Father’s wrath – so I’m right to criticize theories that wrongly portray the passion in that regard.

      (1) Universalism does NOT follow from a satisfactory view of atonement – in other words your erroneous assumption is that if satisfactory atonment is true then “God is churlish, bitter and selfish to send sanyone to hell…as long as they are a relatively ‘good person'” – I never said that garbage, nor did I imply it, nor does it follow from the argument.

      (2) You are the one who perverts the Redemption by your reduction to the absurd of the satisfaction theory by calling it a bribe and “appeasement of God by gifts”. What you call a birbe Scripture calls a sacrificial offering to God – if you want to deny that you must deny a good chunk of Scripture. Yet you have repeatedly refused to even acknowledge that the Old Testament typology prefigures Christ’s sacrifice in terms of priest/victim and that the New Testament not only shows how Christ’s Cross was a fulfillment of these Old Testament types but it further develops that theme.

      (3) Your argument in #3 is a non sequitor and simply absurd.

      Again I’ll say to you, if you want to have a serious discussion about this then fine. If you want to hurl ad hominems then don’t waste my time.

    19. 1) Penal Substitution requires Christ having an epic fail: He suffers temporary bodily death in our stead…and we suffer temporary bodily death anyway. Epic. Fail.

      2) As Matt pointed out, and Mack subsequently ignored–Psub makes Christ the scapegoat instead of the sin offering.

      And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins. And he shall put them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness. The goat shall bear all their iniquities on itself to a remote area, and he shall let the goat go free in the wilderness. (Lev 16:21-22)

      Where does he go? To friggin Azazel! (vs 8)

      PSUB has Christ being a sacrifice to Satan instead of the Father!

      3) The priest is the one who enacts the penalty on the sacrificial victim. If the Father enacts the penalty on Christ, then it makes the Father priest. On the contrary, Christ was the offerer (priest) of the offering (sacrificial victim), and we participate in the priesthood by invoking that victim as an offering to the Father.

      4)

      A) Christians are spared from the Father’s wrath: “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,” 1 Thes 5:9

      B) Paul participated in Christ’s suffering, being crucified with Christ: “I am crucified with Christ…” Gal 2:20

      C) Paul was a Christian.

      Therefore: The Crucifixion of Christ and Paul with Him in a mystical way cannot entail getting blasted with wrath from the Father.

      5)

      ‘See Leviticus 4:22-35, where the duties of the sinner (bringing and killing the animal) and the duties of the priest (making atonement) are distinct.

      With that in mind, consider Leviticus 10:17,

      16 Now Moses diligently inquired about the goat of the sin offering, and behold, it was burned up! And he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the surviving sons of Aaron, saying, 17 “Why have you not eaten the sin offering in the place of the sanctuary, since it is a thing most holy and has been given to you that you may bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord?

      This text is fascinating because it directly links the priest’s act of “making atonement for them” with that of “bearing their iniquity.” In other words, when a priest is said to “bear iniquity” of a sinner, it means the priest takes on the responsibility to “make atonement” for the sinner.’ [hat tip Catholic Nick]

    20. 6)

      “… the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6 KJV

      From Scripture alone (KJV only) show us that this means the Father laid on the Son the iniquity of us all rather than the Son in His capacity as priest laid on Himself (as our lamb) the iniquity of us all.

      “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin.” 2 Cor. 5:21 KJV

      You Sir are as smart as I am. You know Paul quotes freely from the Koine Greek of the LXX for rendering many OT passages. I bring it up because the Greek word here translated as “sin” in the KJV (hamartia) can also be translated as “sin offering” as in Number 6:14 in the LXX. Same in Hebrew. Chatta’ath can be used interchangeably for sin and for the sin offering.

      “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree” 1 Peter 2:24 KJV

      “Bare our sins” verbiage is why you are stuck with the scapegoat paradigm.

      “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;” 1 Cor. 15:3.

      To use an analogy, to pray for an enemy does not mean that you pray what they would be praying in their stead, but rather you pray on their behalf.

      “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:”Romans 8:4 KJV.

      Again, in Greek and Hebrew sin and sin offering are interchangeable words. The burden is on you to show that the translators for that Bible named after a gay Anglican monarch came up with the right one.

      “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all,” Romans 8:32 KJV

      There you go again.

      “Christ …made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” Galatians 3:13 KJV

      Keep going…how did He do it? By redeeming us, hardly the language of substitution. As if one redeems a pawn at a pawn shop by giving yourself to the broker in exchange for the watch, rather than paying out what is necessary to make satisfaction. (In the case of Christ, His currency being His superabundant redemptive suffering.)

      “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.. for he shall bear their iniquities… he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many” Isaiah 53:10-12 KJV

      And the coup de grâce: the very words you cut out with an ellipse. “…He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied…” (Isaiah 53:11) Game. Set. Match.

    21. Daniel,

      1. Wrong. Forgiven souls of OT saints would never have returned from paradise to live again, but since Calvary redemption occurred and their souls are freed from the realms of death by Christ (Matthew 16 passage re “the gates of hell” applies to Christ).

      There is more to explain but this is going so far over your head already that it would take me years to bring you up to speed. Try to digest what’s on your plate and ask me a follow up in about 7 years when you are ready for the next bite.

      2. Wrong. The doctrine of Christ’s sacrifice isn’t defined by either Passover or Yom Kippur or any other animal sacrifice, all of which were just types and figures. Doctrine is defined by passages directly on point. Figure that out (you haven’t yet) and afterwards go back and appreciate the types and figures.

      3. Wrong. A priest is a mediator between God and man. God establishes his word as supreme law, and the priest carries that out in obedience to God.

      4. Wrong. Since Christ took God’s wrath at Calvary, that extinguishes wrath against anybody who gets in him which is exactly what Paul was talking about in Galatians 2:20 KJV. Paul was in effect crucified when Christ was – so his debt got paid. See Romans 7:1-4 KJV which describes it like the soul (pictured as a married woman) leaving the present body (her dead husband) and being united with Christ (her new husband). This entails the circumcision operation described in Colossians 2:12-13 KJV, which see (and you’re way way over your head again).

      5. Wrong. Once again you’ve haphazardly selectively OT animal sacrifices thinking they somehow define doctrines for Christ’s atonement – which is backwards. Also you’ve cross referenced unrelated sacrifices together. And you’ve failed to read the passage in the King James Bible and thus conjured up the wild erroneous notion that the OT priests bore sins by eating the people’s sacrifices. You really have no idea what you are talking about.

      The sacrifice was killed by the priest and the animal symbolically bore the sins its blood being poured out and the fat burned in fire – symbolizing the wrath. That done, the priest then ate of an allowable portion of the flesh and this symbolized God’s acceptance, i.e., that atonement was achieved.

      6. Wrong. You are not permitted to change what the Bible says. You have to quote exactly or you risk being sent to hell.

      The fact that you blithely want to re-write and re-translate the Holy Bible to weaken verses that you know contradict your attacks against penal substitution shows that you are under the influence of Satan.

      That’s how “smart” you are – – under the inspiration of the devil you are re-writing the Bible and earning a place in the lake of fire. How brilliant. No, I’m not that “smart” – I’m so stupid I just believe exactly what it says in the King James Bible without changing any words. And since you’re the little wise guy, with satanic genius, you can carry the burden of convincing me I’m wrong. Good luck.

      And you not only think “sin” really means “sin offering,” but you also think “substituted” means the same as “redeemed,” and in Isaiah 53:11 you think that the Father was satisfied even though Christ’s soul was the one in travail. Friendly advice: Why don’t you go see an exorcist? it’d might help your reading comprehension skills.

      – Mack.

    22. 1) A substitution for a penalty– I would think– must at minimum involve one party undergoing a penalty so that the other party wouldn’t have to. We’ve identified who the parties are in your penal substitution scheme: Christ is the one, the elect are the other. But what penalty did Christ undergo that the elect do not have to also undergo that penalty? It’s not bodily death, because we undergo bodily death anyway. It’s not eternal damnation: because–while that might be something that we no longer face because of what Christ did–Christ didn’t undergo eternal damnation as our subsitute.

      2) I didn’t say defined. Rather it’s a typology. That the typology is radically different from what you claim happens when one bears the sin of another is up to you to explain.

      3) I don’t see how that’s an objection to what I said.

      4) ” Since Christ took God’s wrath at Calvary…” you haven’t established that yet. You are begging the question…”…that extinguishes wrath against anybody who gets in him…” I agree it was extinguished. I usually use the word mollified.

      5) And you’ve failed to read the passage in the King James Bible and thus conjured up the wild erroneous notion that the OT priests bore sins by eating the people’s sacrifices. You really have no idea what you are talking about. No, I said in Lev 16 in the Gay Anglican Monarch translation that the goat that ‘ shall bear upon him all their iniquities’ (vs 22) gets sent to עֲזָאזֵל ie Azazel (v. 8 in the Hebrew). That such a thing on the Day of Atonement has such incompatibile typology to your theory of Christ’s atonement, for which the old law was a type and figure, is a problem for you not me.

      6) I don’t think ‘substituted’ means the same as ‘redeemed’, and I explained why they aren’t interchangable. The Hebrew word for sin is interchangable with the word for sin offering, just like the Greek word. That’s a fact which even the Gay Anglican Monarch version translators were aware which is why they translated Ps 40:6 the way they did. “(Sacrifice H2077)( and offering H4503)( thou didst not desire H2654); (mine ears H241) (hast thou opened H3738): (burnt offering H5930) (and sin offering H2401) (hast thou not required H7592). I don’t know how you feel about Strong’s Lexicon or Gesenius’s Lexicon, but I included the Strong’s numbering so you can look it up yourself.

      Actually, I suspect that what a verse means is usually best determined by looking at what the words say in the original language and in the Greek translation (the LXX) quoted so often by Jesus and the apostles. Your obsession with the Gay Anglican Monarch translation of 1611 is on you to defend.

    23. King James was married, had a large family, punished sodomites, and instructed his sons to be true men – accusations against him which only arose decades after his death have always been considered baseless and absurd, motivated by jealous couriers and the haters of the monarchy.

      As for the LXX hoax, there is no manuscript in existence dated before Christ that contains any Greek Old Testament passage quoted in the New Testament. The bogus LXX theory is based on speculative letters and on the 5th column of heretic Origen’s 3rd century Hexapla. Origen re-wrote Hebrew passages in Greek to match how they were quoted by the New Testament.

      The Authorized Version is itself the authority on what scripture’s words mean in English – not Messrs Strong, Thayer, Liddell, or any other other uninspired lexicon compiler who guessed what Greek words mean.

      Mightily grew the word of God and prevailed – and that can be proven with well over a billion AV’s printed – only Chairman Mao runs a distant second, but his book wasn’t printed to meet a demand.

      That’s game, set, match, billions of people rushing the field, the stadium crumbling to dust in a magnitude eleven point O, and a gigantic meteor hitting the location with the force of a million and a half Hiroshima bombs. We have a winner – and he’s the final winner.

    24. Thomas Howard who died only a year after King James, said James fell in love with Robert Carr. King James himself describes their falling out, “And, fourthly (which is worst of all), and worse than any other thing that can be imagined, you have, in many of your mad fits, done what you can to persuade me that you mean not so much to hold me by love as by awe, and that you have me so far in your reverence, as that I dare not offend you, or resist your appetites. I leave out of this reckoning your long creeping back and withdrawing yourself from lying in my chamber, notwithstanding my many hundred times earnestly soliciting you to the contrary, accounting that but as a point of unkindness.”

      That’s not a red flag sir, but a rainbow one.

    25. RP – Beza’s reading (shall be) is obviously correct so why should you bother to doubt it? You can accept every single word in the King James Bible – or you can doubt every single word in every bible in existence: either one or the other, your choice.

      Daniel – Strange how you remain silent over the homo filled priesthood of Rome – you seem to like those homos quite a bit, I wonder why. No, King James was no homo – 400 years ago men were more manly and godly and therefore not ashamed to openly express brotherly love for each other. But your filthy unregenerate mind doesn’t get that and you probably slander King David as well: “I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.” 2 Samuel 1:26.

    26. Remain silent? I would have them exiled to a Siberian leper colony if I had my way (same for Masons and Marxists).

      Now as for the genitalia of King James facing ad populum juvenilia, I’m reminded of Sir Walter Raleigh’s quip about how England went from King Elizabeth to Queen James.

      Feel free to chip in RP on the merits of monarchy, but I’ve always been under the opinion that a queen does not a castle make.

      And Mack, it would appear that James’ s zealous prosecutions of sodomites landed only one conviction in over two decades, the most limp-wristed persecution in the history of the Crown.

    27. > RP – Beza’s reading (shall be) is obviously correct so why should you bother to doubt it?

      Are you being serious? In what way is it “obviously correct”?

      Can you please confirm the basic point, that there is not a single Greek manuscript in our possession which has the Greek equivalent to Beza’s rendition?

      Revelation 16:5 is a clear example of where fallible translator inserted something that he thought should be there…despite no manuscript evidence to back up that rendering. Please explain to me how what Beza did is being servant to the Word of God. If you follow the typical KJV-only narrative, where were the good Christians of Antioch, preserving this rendering?

      What is the standard for scholarship here? Can I just make stuff up with no evidence too?

      “I hate it when people make up stuff on the Internet” – Abraham Lincoln

      > You can accept every single word in the King James Bible – or you can doubt every single word in every bible in existence: either one or the other, your choice.

      That’s a false dilemma. I just don’t attribute infallibility to that particular translation because I see no motives for credibility to give it such an exalted status. There are numerous places where the translation is sub-optimal or, as in this case, a scholar’s unsupported opinion. T

      he KJV translators themselves didn’t think they were doing an infallible translation…so why would you?

  9. It seems to me that an understanding of this is not truly at the “very heart of the Christian faith.” It is incredibly technical, honestly unhelpfully so for most. You don’t need to understand the mechanics of how Jesus saves in order to know that he does. To use an analogy, I don’t need to understand how the stack, the heap, eip, ebp, esp, or eax, work in order to use my computer, in fact until recently I didn’t even know of their existence. In the same way, it doesn’t seem to matter that much the technical how of the Atonement what truly matters is to know that it happened and what that means for Salvation.

    1. Mja15,

      I agree that one doesn’t need to have a clear understanding of the mechanics of the Atonement to be saved. But wouldn’t you agree that a view that says that the Father pours out wrath upon the Son sits uncomfortably with the Christian doctrine of the Trinity?

      Penal substitution also raises other problems: for example, it’s hard to hold to both penal substitution and the immutability of God. So the doctrine ends up saying a lot about the God that we worship. If we truly love God, and want to spend eternity contemplating Him, it strikes me that we should care about that, even if we’re not going to go to Hell for misunderstanding. I’m uncomfortable with the pragmatic view that says we can disregard all knowledge of God that isn’t useful to us in our salvation, although it’s not clear to me that this is exactly what you’re advocating.

      I.X.,

      Joe

    2. I agree with you that this could be useful and I’m certainly not advocating that we drop those things which bring people closer to God, I’m just stating that sometimes the weeds aren’t that useful to ordinary people, and was just trying to show it doesn’t really strike me that this teaching is “at the very heart of Christian teaching.” Now I do have a question for Mr. Nagle, it seems that you and Taylor are really losing each other’s argument in definition. It seems to me that what Taylor would lump into “punishment,” you would subdivide into “satisfaction” and “punishment,” making the distinction that punishment is necessarily against the will. Now this is interesting, though I fail to see how you have proven this assertion. I read the Aquinas you cite and it simply appears that Aquinas assumes there to be a difference but again doesn’t really prove it. I think you’re argument against Taylor’s position would be greatly strengthened if you showed why punishment and satisfaction cannot be lumped together as Taylor appears to. Great articles, I greatly enjoy this blog.

    3. mja15,

      You raise an interesting question, one that I have thought of as well. There is a sense in which satisfaction is like punishment with the distinciton that in satisfaction the person is willingly undergoing satisfaction. I guess your question is whether or not St. Thomas is assuming a distinction between punishment and satisfaction that is not really there…Let me look at some sources and I’ll get back to you

      Matt

    4. mja15,

      I apologize for getting back to you. I know this isn’t really an answer to give you good sources, but there is a very good Catholic blogger who has written on this subject numerous times. Two articles I recommends are: http://catholicnick.blogspot.com/2010/07/atonement-according-to-scripture-more.html and http://catholicnick.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-biblical-teaching-on-bearing-sin.html .

      What I can say is that if we look at the Cross from the standpoint of sacrifice – what a sacrifice is – then I think the picture becomes clearer. Sacrifice is not substitutionary punishment. The Old Testament sacrifices were an external reminder of God’s sovereignty, as well as a signification of an internal disposition. But most of all (in the case of a sacrifice of say a pascal lamb) the blood was sacred. Leviticus 17:10-11 tells us that blood was forbidden because it alone had the sacred function of making atonement. This is from Nick’s Catholic blog: “What is important to note is that the blood makes atonement in virtue of it’s life-force, not in virtue of it being spilled. In other words, the focus here is not that something innocent took the death penalty, but rather that the value of life is of such a worth that it can make atonement for sin.” 1 Peter 1:18-19 makes this especially clear, because the Blood of Christ, who is God is of INFINITE value.

      So sacrifice is really not understood in terms of punishment, at least as far as I can tell. I’d encourage you to look at those to articles and let me know what you think.

      Matt

  10. It seems to me that the sacrifice of Christ begins with the agony in the garden and ends with the crucifixion and death, although I can see how his entire life might have been part of the sacrifice, and only on Calvary was it culminated. On the way to Calvary, the Lord says to the women “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over me; but weep for yourselves, and for your children.”. More over, He says on the cross “It is finished”. So too, all of these events are titles ‘the Sacrifice of the Cross” and never do we hear of a ‘sacrifice of the decension into Hell’. Another consideration is the place of contrition and compunction in all of this. If Jesus tells the women not to weep, it is because He is in no way suffering any degree of compunction or contrition. And these two states of soul are particularly associated with the effects of guilt, sin and spiritual death. The Lord taught “there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” when he described the future judgement of those who are not allowed to enter the wedding feast of the Lamb. Now Jesus was not weeping, signaling to us that in no way was he experiencing the contrition of sinners, as if He Himself was guilty, so He consequently wasn’t suffering this chief punishment of the damned.

    So I think this aspect of contrition should be analysed more closely in regards to this discussion on penal substitution. Penal substitution seems to go against the very parables and words of the Lord in the Gospel accounts, because one of the great pains of Hell is the anguish and ‘weeping and gnashing of the teeth’ for being rejected from the feast of Life, but which we have no indication in the words of Christ to indicate he suffered these in the very least degree. Moreover,ah he himself said… HE IS “THE LIFE”.

    1. Daniel,

      Death: “he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” Hebrews 2:9 KJV. (cf. “for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2:17 KJV).

    2. Christ was our substitute for the penalty of temporary bodily death…for which we nevertheless still experience temporary bodily death?

      Er…did I miss something?

    3. Jesus indeed might have tasted death, but overcame and conquered it by His very LIFE.

      John 14:6
      Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life.

      Romans 6:9
      Knowing that Christ rising again from the dead, dieth now no more, death shall no more have dominion over him.

      1 Corinthians 15:26
      And the enemy death shall be destroyed last: For he hath put all things under his feet.

      1 Corinthians 15:54
      And when this mortal hath put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory.

      Hebrews 2:14
      Therefore because the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner hath been partaker of the same: that, through death, he might destroy him who had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil:

      1 Peter 3:22
      Who is on the right hand of God, swallowing down death, that we might be made heirs of life everlasting: being gone into heaven, the angels and powers and virtues being made subject to him.

      Apocalypse (Revelation) 20:6
      Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection. In these the second death hath no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ; and shall reign with him a thousand years.

      – Awlms

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