26 July 2005

On atonement

On atonement:

Thank-you to Amos, for your helpful, and thoughtful response. Powertobecome's reponse, over 26 pages in a word document is a riduculously monotonous read and smacks of evangelical lingo that I find largely uninteresting and unengaging. I will give it another shot, but I'm not promising anything. My brother sent me an article from a friend of his that I have found helpful:

"Sin aims at destruction and the deprivation of good. The forgiver suffers this violence in his/her person and exhausts its effects. Choosing to forgive is thus the choice to suffer, the choice to bear the evil of sin and thereby to stop its parasitic spreading by exhausting its violence in oneself. In enduring sin and exhausting its destructive effects, Christ in the cross submitted himself to evil’s ultimate consequence, death. Yet by bearing sin in himself, the death of Christ at the hands of evil is paradoxically the death of evil itself (Col. 2:15). Through love, sin is conquered and condemned (Rom. 8:3). Forgiveness is thus ‘an alternative form of power…[which] is found in Christ’s cross and resurrection…it is this power that breaks apart the cycles of violence and offers a re-turning of the announcement of God’s peace.’ I agree with Colin Gunton when he asserts that ‘the death of Jesus under the law reveals the way in which God puts right the lawlessness of the universe, not punitively but transformatively, by sheer grace.’ There is a metaphysical and expiatory power that love possesses through Christ (1 Cor. 13; Phil. 2:1-11); it is the power to purify sinners and ‘overcome evil with good’ (Rom. 12:21). " -James R. A. Merrick

Mr. Hunt wrote,

"So to clarify what I was trying to say before about the various metaphors: Christ's role as the blameless sacrificial lamb is inseparable from his place as head of the mystical body of belivers, and his office as high priest and mediator for the royal priesthood, and his household position as the son and heir.

All of this is a mystery, and I can't think of any more bible verses."

Mystery I guess is what I would like to talk about. Because this has beeen said now several times, "We don't know how Jesus covered all the sins of the sinful, we just know that he did." This is nice to say, but it doesn't address my problem which is this: Why is it just to punish an innocent person in the place of a gulity person? Justice is not mystery. Divorced from Jesus, is there any situation (historical/ contemporary, philsophical/ pragamatic) where this, for lack of a better word, makes sense? Or more importantly, fulfills a sense of justice?

Maybe this has a to do with my larger problem of wanting to see religious principles reflected in natural ways. What I mean to say is, when nature reflects spirit, we have a wonderful congruency between what we believe and what we know. I spoke about this with a friend last night as I looked at a tree, the wonder of a tree is natural and works as a beautiful reflection of a god, I believe. Pondering the tree while denying a higher power is difficult, I think.

So I seek this in my life because we can see god in life: that when evil is responded to with good, good results. When love is chosen over hate, harmony results. These are biblical principles worked out in nature.

I know if has been hip to talk smack about the Catholics since the reformation, but the Catholics have nailed mystery so well. Enough that I want to side with them more so than the Evangelicals. I accept mystery as long as mystery is not contrary to reason. I don't think the two oppose each other. It doesn't, however, help the understanding of why it is that Jesus' sacrifice covers our sin.

This is why I think I like Marrick's response more because to see suffering as the result of forgiveness is not that hard at all. I mean, you can see it all the freaking time: when a man cheats on his wife and she forgives him. The forgiveness causes the forgiver to bear the pain of the crime. Not the husband, who deserves the pain.

. . . . . . .

Yeah, so things on the blog have been heating up a little bit and I took my pants off to deal with the heat.

Let's make a couple of statements, rules to understanding the dude:

! Evil done, even in response to another evil, is still evil.
! To endure suffering in the face of evil rather than responding with evil, is virtue.
! To respond to evil with love is hard, but not impossible.
! To have a foreign policy of responding to evil with love might actually work.
! To believe that the fundmentalist Muslim movement is evil, but the fundamentalist Christian movement is good, is misguided.

So yeah, I think killing innocent people by mistake is evil, even if it is done with good intentions. And yes, I believe that people who kill innocent people by mistake should be held responsible for their actions, not shrugged off as an unfortunate byproduct of a war ridding the world of evil. Mr. Bush may quote the Bible in regard to our certain sitaution: the light has shined in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome. But we must remember that this light is the light of God's love, the hope of Jesus (who we follow as mystery), not America, not a war against anything. It is the love of Jesus.