May 21, 2009

Substitutionary Atonement and the Analogy to the Courtroom

Posted in Answering Apologists, Atheism, Law tagged , , , , , , , , at 11:05 am by Andrew

The Christian doctrine of substitutionary atonement is often explained by an analogy to the courtroom: sinners stand before a judge (God) and are properly adjudicated guilty and deserve punishment, but that fine can in turn be paid by someone else (Christ). I imagine most of us have heard this analogy. (If you haven’t, or if you want to delve into it more deeply, you might enjoy this article by J.I. Packer, “The Logic of Penal Substitution.”) In any event, I think I’m representing this view fairly, and I’m sure my commenters will correct me if not.

If so, then I have to say that from the perspective of a lawyer, the analogy makes absolutely no sense. The law can be thought of as roughly dividing into two spheres, civil and criminal. Civil law focuses on recompensing the victim; if I steal $100 from you, you sue me for the $100 in order to be rendered whole. That kind of debt can be paid by someone else, but only because civil contract law is wholly unconcerned with the rightness or wrongness of the actor. To put it another way: our civil law setup is such that we neither encourage nor discourage people from breaking contracts; we just require that if you do break a contract, you (or someone else) has to render the contractee whole. Even if you break a contract maliciously, civil law doesn’t really care and doesn’t impose any kind of penalty on you to stop you from breaking contracts again in the future. It isn’t “justice” in the colloquial sense of the word (and in the sense that Christians are invoking the concept when they draw the penal analogy).

Criminal law, on the other hand, has an entirely different focus. It is concerned with the goodness or rightness of the actor, and it is wholly unconcerned with recompensing the victim; that’s usually what we think of with the word “justice.” Thus, criminal convictions impose a public penalty in order to punish the wrongdoer and deter him and others from committing the same offense against society in the future.

It would make no sense in the criminal scheme to allow someone else to serve out a convicted criminal’s sentence (or pay his fine, or whatever). The point isn’t to get the money; it’s to impose a hardship on someone who’s a danger to society and deter others from following in his shoes. So that’s why the penal substitution analogy doesn’t work; if a penalty can be paid by someone else and you can go scot free, it isn’t “justice” — at least, not in the way we humans understand it.

This is so readily apparent to anyone (even nonlawyers) who think about it that it surprises me that the analogy and argument continue to be so popular (e.g. Todd Friel and the Way of the Master crowd).

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59 Comments »

  1. Shamelessly Atheist said,

    “This is so readily apparent to anyone (even nonlawyers) who think about it that it surprises me that the analogy and argument continue to be so popular (e.g. Todd Friel and the Way of the Master crowd).”

    Why so surprised? Confirmation bias is a powerful beast. A person falling off a cliff will grasp at mere blades of grass, knowing full well the futility of the act. And Todd Friel et al aren’t exactly mental heavyweights…

    • Andrew said,

      What I meant by that is the WOTM evangelizing technique — which is ostensibly aimed at nonbelievers and ‘backslidden’ Christians (what they call “false converts”) and is increasingly popular in the megachurch market.

      In other words, these people are reaching out to Average Jane and Joes with this sort of argument as part of their core spiel. I still find that puzzling, no matter how much of a mental midget you think Todd Friel is.

      • Shamelessly Atheist said,

        Heh. One has to wonder if Friel is being honestly obtuse. I once heard him debating the Infidel Guy where he brought out Jesus’ mention in Tacitus admitting he knew that it is highly likely a later insertion. They’re not the most honest bananas in the bunch, are they?

        • Nathaniel said,

          I once heard him debating the Infidel Guy where he brought out Jesus’ mention in Tacitus admitting he knew that it is highly likely a later insertion.

          If he actually did that, it was truly dumb of him. There is absolutely no reason to think that Annals 15.44 is not genuine.

          Or is SA misremembering the conversation and confusing Tacitus with Josephus? Still out to lunch, but at least there’s a historical story to be told about that one. But why would Friel falling in with the conspiracy theory ravings of the Jesus mythers?

        • Andrew said,

          Actually, Nathaniel, there is significant debate over the authenticity of the Annals 15.44; on the one hand, you have Gordon Stein and others who claim that the passage is virtually identical to Sulpicius Severus while on the other hand you have textual analysis from another Tacitus fragment suggesting that the Annals passage is legitimate but doesn’t mean “Christians.”

          Of course, even taken at face value, Tacitus’s account simply attests to the fact that there were Christians, which is somewhat non-controversial.

        • Nathaniel said,

          Andrew,

          Oh Lord, you’re down the rabbit hole again. Gordon Stein may have known a lot about physiology, which was the area in which he had a Ph. D., but he was no historian, and his discussion of Annals 15.44 is shamefully incompetent. Why the supposition that someone quoted Tacitus nearly three hundred years after his death should be thought to cast doubt on the authenticity of this passage is, shall we say, not obvious. Stein’s argument from silence is as ridiculous as such arguments generally are in history, particularly ancient history. This would be a precarious mode of reasoning even if it were not the case that the great majority of the works that we know were written in the 2nd century have been lost.

          Laupot’s piece is highly speculative — one might well say “fanciful” — with respect to fragment 2, and it is still worse with respect to the supposed coordination of this with Annals 15.44. Even Richard Carrier, who is certainly no friend of Christianity, thinks Laupot’s arguments are multiply flawed.

          But hey, incompetent crackpots get a free pass if they’re attacking Christianity, right? Then it counts as “significant debate.”

          Time cubes, anyone?

        • Andrew said,

          Nathaniel:

          You said that “[t]here is absolutely no reason to think that Annals 15.44 is not genuine.” That’s not true. You can claim that the arguments to the contrary are not persuasive or scholarly, but it’s misleading to claim (as I interpreted your response to SA) that they don’t exist. That’s all.

          Personally, I don’t think any of this makes a serious difference, since the passage attests only that there were Christians in the 2d century AD, which as far as I know is not a subject of serious debate.

        • Nathaniel said,

          Andrew,

          The fact that some incompetent people tried to argue against Annals 15.44 does not contradict my statement, by which I stand, that there is absolutely no reason to think that the passage is not genuine. If you try to argue the contrary, you’re also going to have to say that there is “reason” to think that the world was created in 4004 B.C. Think twice before you open that box.

          Incidentally, Tacitus says there was a “great multitude” of Christians in Rome at the time of the fire, which took place in the mid 60s, not in the second century, as you say here.

  2. Cameron said,

    I loosely cover the topic of penal substitutionary atonement on my blog here:
    http://restorethegospel.wordpress.com/2007/09/04/does-your-church-disregard-the-gospel-of-scripture/

    If you scroll down to the green you will see my commentary on Gal 3:6-14 which I tie into the Old Testament. In fact, God reveals penal substitutionary atonement (PSA) first with the nation of Israel with the sacrificial system of animals. Animals get slaughtered on behalf of Israel’s sins. It is a system which points towards Christ, the actual and eternal sacrifice for sin as Hebrews clearly says.

    This type of substitution doesn’t deal mostly with civil laws being broken, hence why it doesn’t make sense to you and is counter intuitive. It is a way of dealing with justice for sins committed against God Himself – as all wrong doing is ultimately against Him. PSA deals with our moral dilemma against God. Rom 5 actually didactically lays out how all were lost in Adam, as he is the one whom all humanity springs forth from, and in a similar yet reverse way, many are saved through Christ, the second Adam, as He is the one who lived perfectly righteous for many, bared God’s wrath perfectly for many, and rose for many.

    So from God’s angle, Jesus without sin in place of those who couldn’t, died the death in place of many who deserved it, and rose to prove it all was satisfactory – as many will then rise with Him.

    Even with something like the death penalty, the criminal may not exactly suffer in the same exact way that they caused their victim to suffer, yet we consider their comfortable death by lethal injection to be “satisfactory”. But Christ suffers perfectly to the very degree that God would demand for all lawlessness. How it is that someone could do this in place of another is something I’m not fully sure on, nevertheless, this just shows my ignorance of a satisfactory substitution.

    • Andrew said,

      Cameron: In writing this post, I was trying to confine my discussion to only the analogy often used in pop apologetics, and not the underlying theology. If you want to go there, all I can say is that I honestly cannot fathom why the omnipotent creator of the universe would need blood sacrifice to slake his thirst for “justice” for sins committed against him.

  3. Gaga said,

    >But Christ suffers perfectly to the very degree that >God would demand for all lawlessness.

    I don’t want to seem callous, but what jesus was forced to go through was a walk in the park in comparison to what happens every day to some of us lowly humans… I suppose that being the son of god and all that jazz got him a preferential treatment.

    Add to that that he didn’t actually die and the whole sacrifice seems quite petty to me.

    To keep with the court analogy, it’s like substituting a 15 years sentence to jail with a 15$ fine.

  4. jackd said,

    Andrew, I think the short answer to your basic question is that people in general misunderstand law as badly as they misunderstand religion.

    The courtroom analogy becomes even more problematic when you point out that the Judge and the Substitute are supposed to be the same person.

  5. Cameron said,

    Well Andrew I’m glad you think it’s not a totally correct analogy.

    And as far as God demanding blood sacrifice… It’s not so much that God demands a blood sacrifice as much as it does that God’s own eternal wrath is placed upon the God-Man Jesus Christ in place of sinners. In other words, my sins from my birthday to my deathday will be vicariously crushed in Jesus Christ, along with countless others. But a blood sacrifice goes hand in hand with this type of vindication of wrath.

  6. Cameron said,

    Gaga,

    If those are your conclusions then you certaintly didn’t derive them from Scripture. Maybe you wrote stuff down and threw a dart at them blindfolded and came to your conclusions that way. 1. Jesus took the very wrath of God upon Him, Isaiah 53:9 says “it pleased Yahweh to crush Him”. 2. Jesus sweat drops of blood before and prayed “Father let this cup pass from me” before the crucifixion because of this very reason, not because He was afraid of Roman soldiers beating Him up. Jesus even taught His disciples not to fear what man can do to the body but fear God who can destroy both body and soul forever in gahena (hell). And the “cup” is Biblical symbolism for God’s own wrath, hence the OT referring to the “cup of God’s wrath”. 3. Jesus was both fully God and human. This was fleshed out at the Counsel of Chalcedon in the 5th century. Thus, it was Christ’s human nature which fully died, not His God or Divine nature, as that would be impossible.

    • Gaga said,

      look, jesus, as far as I can tell, had one day of pain. Intense as it might have been, that kinda pales in comparison to, say, death by starvation or terminal cancer. Those things happens every day on earth.
      If you want to think that his pain was oh so special, or that in the thirty-ish hours he was dead he got some extra punishment, fine. I haven’t seen that anywhere in the gospels, but then I’m not an apologist.
      But look at it this way: even if that was indeed the case, and he suffered more than any human on earth, what are thirty or forty hours of pain for an eternal being?
      I rest my case. Substitution doesn’t make sense per se and, even if it did, jesus looks like a poor substitution.

      • Dave said,

        Jesus’ death on the cross was actually a lot quicker than other crucifixions, which often left criminals on their crosses for several days of unbearable agony. Jesus died surprisingly quickly, which is why the Roman guards didn’t break his legs (this was often done to speed up the process).

        If Jesus’ human death was all that he suffered then you’re right, it seems a poor substitution. But look in the gospel accounts of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane – he’s in such mental agony over the thought of the cross that he’s sweating blood. Compare this to early Christian martyrs who went to their crosses singing hymns of joy – doesn’t quite equate does it?

        The key to the level of Jesus’ suffering is found in Luke 22:42, where he says: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done”. The cup is not a cup of suffering but of wrath. Jesus was not fearing the physical torture of the cross, rather it was the cup that Jesus was terrified of drinking from. The cup was filled with the full wrath of God – the anger of a holy God against human sin that should by right be poured out on every one of us for eternity in hell. Jesus took that upon himself and the Father with whom he had enjoyed perfect relationship with from eternity past abandoned him on the cross. Christ’s suffering goes way deeper than physical suffering (horrendous though it was), it was a profound spiritual suffering – experiencing the full anger of his Father to whom he had done no wrong.

        Once you understand the profundity of the Cross you start to see that Penal Substitution makes perfect sense for us. The great mystery is why God would love us so much that he would put himself through that much torment, anguish, pain and suffering on our behalf.

  7. Gaga said,

    I’m sorry, as I have said I’m not an apologist. Anyway:
    I still don’t see how you can conclude that thing about the terrible sufference from the available data (i.e. the gospels)
    Even accepting that it was indeed the case, he is an eternal being, he has plenty of time to get over it… It still seems no biggie to me. But then, maybe I’m just callous.
    >Once you understand the profundity of the Cross you >start to see that Penal Substitution makes perfect >sense for us.
    well, not to me. That god should decide to kill himself (more like knocking himself out for a couple of days) to avoid pouring his wrath on his own creatures still baffles me (See also the original post and comment from jackd)
    >the anger of a holy God against human sin that >should by right be poured out on every one of us for >eternity in hell.
    ehi wait a minute, no hell, anymore? yay.

    • Dave said,

      That’s right – no Hell for any that turn to Christ.

      • Andrew said,

        I asked Cameron above, and he didn’t answer it, so I’ll ask you:

        Why does your god need blood?

  8. Cinderella said,

    Andrew,

    let me answer it still. God does not need blood, but chooses to make atonement for sinners bloody because that is how He treats sin. When Christ returns and crushes His enemies, which weren’t crushed vicariously through Himself on the cross, their blood will poor as high as a horses bridle (Revelation). God does not need them to bleed but does so anyways because it is a display of His vengence and how He views sin. The same for Christ as a sin substitute. Bottom line, however, Jesus Christ took God’s very own wrath upon Himself.

    Gaga,

    Jesus didn’t get extra punishment when He died. He went to hades when He died, not gahena. The former is a holding place of those whom have already died, and the latter is the place of God’s wrath. No context in Scripture ever says that Jesus went to gahena when He died. And Gaga, it doesn’t matter the duration of suffering for Christ. It is the DEGREE of punishment that matters. He was a unique sacrifice and as the God-Man He took upon Himself God’s eternal wrath for countless sinners. Many will suffer for only their own sins in Hell, but Christ took countless upon just Himself. You have a very un-biblical, anti-Christ, and jacked up view of Christ, the Bible, and the gospel.

    • So God needs blood because he’s a vengeful? That doesn’t particularly answer it. Indeed, it is a bit circular. You’ve said that God “chooses to make atonement for sinners bloody because that is how He treats sin.” I can’t quite tell if you mean that God has no choice about how to treat sin, in which case you need to explain that, or you mean God chose to do it this way just because. Neither of them speak very kindly.

      The bottom line is that penal substitution is a doctrine that an all-powerful God created a systems of laws which would require Him to sacrifice Himself to Himself and still result in the suffering of many. Or you know, he could have just not made the system like that in the first place.

      • Cameron said,

        Joshua, I would go with the latter, from what I can tell in Scripture. God is concerned with His justice, because He is good and doesn’t overlook sin. To say otherwise wouldn’t in fact speak very kindly of God because that would make Him more like, umm, Satan.

        In your second paragraph, just to correct, God didn’t invent laws. The law is a reflection of His own eternal character and eternal relationship within Himself. That is what defines what is good, thus anything against that is bad. And many suffer because their sin is crushed in them, not in Christ. Those whose sin was crushed in Christ have a 100% satisfactory pardon.

        • I’m confused then. So God is omnipotent but can’t just wave a metaphorical hand but rather needs to do this whole thing with blood why?

          Moreover, overlooking or forgiving sin wouldn’t make him satanic. It would make him merciful. At least judging by other Biblical verses (such as Exodus 34:5-6 and Micha 7:18-20) one seems to get a more forgiving entity.

          Moreover, if God is a perfect and omnipotent being why cannot he not change his relationship with himself(whatever that means. It strikes me as word salad in the first place). If this deity moreover can construct loopholes allowing him to “crush” sin in his son, why can’t He construct a loophole that gets rid of everyone’s sin?

          At minimum, it is clear that the above claims about sin are connected to some of metaphysical system that has little or no resemblance to classic courtroom analogy.

        • Cameron said,

          Joshua,

          The Biblical position has never been that God gives us atonement by mere fiat. That is not he orthodox position, but is actually the Unitarian position. The blood is a sign of God’s covenant promise for salvation in Christ. Heb 9:18-22 teaches this and also that there is forgiveness of sins because of there being shed blood.

          I believe there is forgiveness of sins with shed blood, but also because of Christ’s perfect life being credited to us (Rom 5:18-19).

          Further, Rom 5:8-9 connects being justified by Christ’s blood to being rescued from God’s wrath.

          Thus, the full Biblical picture takes into account God’s covenant promises being signed with Christ’s blood, and there being forgiveness of sin simultaneously while that covenant promise is being made possible by Christ’s substitutionary death. It’s all part of the big picture, and the whole counsel of God’s Word must be taken into account. Not man-centered opinions and preferences.

          With reference to Exodus and Micah, God is forgiving, but He is also perfectly just. He’s not either/or, but both/and. Yet, His grace is not deserved by sinners. He would still be loving if He killed all humans, but He would still be perfectly loving to Himself. My overall point was that if God did not uphold His justice, thus His love for Himself, then He would not be God but would be Satan because Satan doesn’t care for perfect justice, he wants to be able to sin and get off the hook.

          And your argument from God’s omnipotence fails because it fails to realize that God’s omnipotence is in accordance to His own eternal nature and will, and His eternal nature and will is immutable, thus He can’t change His “relationship with Himself”.

          If God were able to create a loophole for sin it wouldn’t matter b/c He has already chosen Jesus Christ to be that loophole regardless, so it’s pointless to as such “what if” questions. Further, God can’t create a loophole to take care of sin because that would go against the whole teaching of Rom 5 which explains how Christ comes in the form of man, or a federal head representing man, in order to be a perfect wrath substitute for man.

          Without an eternal, personal, all-good being, aka Yahweh, you can’t even have an epistemological starting point to account for “rights” and “wrong” to be realities, hence even have a courtroom be a reality where rights and wrongs are considered. So your argument fails in that regard.

        • Theodore A. Jones said,

          The sin of murder, which crucifying Jesus Christ was, has not nor cannot ever be a direct benefit. All of the statutory limits of the Sinai code were violated by crucifying Jesus.

  9. Cameron said,

    Cinderella is me. Sorry, I keep forgetting to log my gf out.

  10. Ron Henzel said,

    I’ve posted my own thoughts about the atonement of Christ in an article at http://midwestoutreach.org/blogs/the-lamb-that-was-slain.

  11. Cameron I can’t reply to your latest remark because the reply depth is too high and (apparently makes the software unhappy). So I’ll reply here:

    The statement that something is the “Biblical position” isn’t a defense of the issue other than to say “well, yeah my holy book said it this way.” That’s not an argument for it being correct. So almost your entire argument falls apart.

    The bottom line is that you are now agreeing that your deity created a loophole. But you claim that God didn’t bother creating a loophole that would work for everyone. Simply pointing to Biblical verses that support that claim doesn’t help matters. It is in essence an acknowledgment of the deep logical and moral problems with such actions if the defense has to come down to simply saying that God said so.

    Substitutionary atonement fails. It is arbitrary and the general courtroom analogy only serves to emphasize the degree of problems not defend it in any substantive way.

  12. Cameron said,

    Joshua,

    No my argument doesn’t fall apart because you have no other special revelation to consult about matters of the atonement, only Scripture. The theology comes from it, not you and me. And I am the only one quoting Scripture and attempting to interpret it so far in this discussion. It’s fine for you to disagree with me, but you’ll have to provide a counter argument based on Scripture, not Joshua. Further, Scripture says that these things are spiritually discerned so an unbeliever isn’t going to grasp spiritual truths such as these. Their mind and heart will remain hostile to God and His truths (Rom 1:18-20, 6:6-8).

    Yes, God didn’t save everyone. But those who were crushed in Christ will be perfectly saved. Those who were not crushed vicariously in Christ will have their sin eternally crushed in them instead.

    Substitutionary atonement makes perfect sense when the camera is zoomed out, hence the OT sacrificial system. For thousands of years the Jews had a very clear understanding of this concept. But when we try to zoom the camera lens in and pear into how a God-Man substitute can appease the wrath of God for sinful men, that’s when it gets blurry, simply because we can’t exhaustively explain it. We can come to certain conclusions, however.

    You say substitutionary atonement fails only because it does not correlate to human courtroom justice. But many things in Scripture don’t do this. A horizontal crime (crimes against people) can be appeased by finite ways, i.e. spend so much time in prison, death penalty, etc. But a vertical crime (crimes against God, aka sin) requires eternal punishment. Therefore, it is YOUR reasoning that fails because it is conveniently only limited to finite examples, by which you assert an eternal being needs to mimic.

    Further, God doesn’t mimic His justice after courtroom justice. God mimics His perfect and eternal justice after Himself, by knowing Himself and knowing all things. It is courtroom justice, if it is to be real justice, which must seek to mimic God’s justice.

    But no one can mimic substitutionary death for sin, because that requires infinite wrath upon a substitute who perfectly represents both God and Man.

    • Nonsense. The criticism lodged was about the theological sensibility and moral validity of the system. That’s inherently a criticism external to the system. To use the obvious example, if some ultra-Orthodox Jew claims that anyone who breaks the Sabbath will burn in hell for eternity and I say to him “that’s not moral” he can’t defend the claim by pointing out “well the Talmud says so” Similarly, a Muslim in a similar situation can’t just defend it by pointing to the Koran.

      That’s aside from the fact that these are your personal interpretations more than anything else.

      Meanwhile saying that these things can only be discerned spiritually is functionally identical to saying that you can’t actually defend them on logical grounds. Good to know.

    • Theodore A. Jones said,

      According to Jesus Christ universal guilt in regard to sin is the remaining fact AFTER his murder by crucifixion. See Jn. 16:8 Murdering him did not resolve anything. Substitutionary atonement, penal substitutionary atonement, and every variant of the concept is poppycock and He said so even before he was murdered by crucifixion.

  13. Cameron said,

    Joshua,

    you’re irrationalizing something that 1. is first and foremost trans-rational, and 2. not exhaustively explained. You have given no argument as to why sub-atonement is irrational except that it goes against what is considered “logical” and “moral” to Joshua.

    First of all, I can externally critique your worldview by which you assume there is such a thing as “logic” and “morality”. How does your worldview account for these? Logic (classical 3 laws of logic) assumes an eternal mind, and a real morality assumes an eternal, personal, all-good standard. Your own system would be invalid unless you can account for these criterion, which you need to do in order to take morality and logic seriously so that you may consistently judge sub-atonement. In other words, you must borrow tools from God, before you can attempt to use them against Him.

    Second, you’re specific argument so far is that it’s arbitrary and it doesn’t apply to courtroom justice. Actually, fiat is arbitrary. Courtroom justice is not anything close to fiat (b/c we’re created in God’s image and want to uphold justice like God does). With sub-atonement, justice is being upheld, thus is very much like courtroom justice, because a penalty for wrong doing is being inflicted. It is moral justice because if a sin is an infinite offense (because it’s against an infinitely holy being who is eternal) then the punishment is infinite. Further, if the sinner is sinful by nature, then they will compound their crimes onto infinity as they continue in existence, thus demands more justice, hence eternal punishment.

    But why could Christ transfer His perfect life to us, and be a substitute for our sin? That’s the part that we can’t exhaustively explain, nevertheless, we know that’s the conclusion. But just because we can’t explain it exhaustively doesn’t make it irrational. That’s like saying, since we can’t exhaustively explain how particles at the sub-atomic level may simultaneously be there and not be there, or may have up-spin and down-spin, they don’t exist. Does that kind of argumentation really work?

    You say I have offered personal interpretations. Of course they are. But the real quest in terms of interpretation is, is it a good interpretation. It’s fine with me if you want to argue from your “rationality” and not Scripture, unless you start saying sub-atonement isn’t Biblical or something like that.

    Sincerely,

    Cameron

    • Andrew said,

      Logic (classical 3 laws of logic) assumes an eternal mind, and a real morality assumes an eternal, personal, all-good standard.

      No, no they don’t. If you care to actually make an argument that either of those propositions are true, I’d love to hear it, but these straw man apologetics have been debunked across this site, repeatedly.

      Your presuppositionalist arguments are debunked here.

      With respect to the morality argument, I’ve refined my prior discussion (here, on a thread that you’ve previously seen!), and made it an embedded page on the right.

  14. Cameron said,

    Andrew,

    So far, I still have the last word on your presup 4 thread and your morality thread, and have been waiting for a long time for a reply. So far, to me, I’m winning those arguments. I will look forward to discussing them further there, however.

    Further, I can easily rip holes in any possible justification you have for logic and morality apart from God. Thus, if you say I can’t make my assertions, then I hold your feet to the same fire and say you can’t make those claims either. For the sake of consistentcy and fairness that is.

    • Andrew said,

      Repeating the same claims without responding to mine does not qualify in my book as “winning those arguments,” but I’ll let others judge. For the sixteenth time, though; what’s your response to this?

      I think the more parsimonious explanation for the “laws” of logic is that they are the product of human brains and are a convention we accept for discussion and debate. The fact that we see people who are unable to grasp the “laws” of logic is pretty strong evidence that those laws emanate from an earthly and not an otherworldly source.

  15. Cameron,

    if you are claiming something is “trans-rational” then you are essentially saying “sorry. I can’t explain it” but instead using a lot of words.

    Moreover, even if I took for granted that your claim that “Logic (classical 3 laws of logic) assumes an eternal mind, and a real morality assumes an eternal, personal, all-good standard.” it wouldn’t be relevant. For example, an Orthodox Jew might agree with that claim but have a very different idea what those standards are.

    Moreover, even if one bought into your ridiculous Bibliocentric epistemology, you’d run into serious problems in that the Bible itself doesn’t describe sacrifices the way you do. For example, many sacrifices have no element of atonement in them at all. The additional sacrifices on the three major pilgrimage holidays have no atonement element as one can easily see from just reading the descriptor of the portions. You are attempting to shoehorn a belief system quite badly. So yeah, from a look at Tanach, substitionary atonement isn’t very Biblical.

    Your comparison to quantum mechanics is quite poor since there’s one obvious massive difference: Anyone (given enough resources) can test the physical results. If your religion was testable. Say you had a universe where whenever I say “substitutionary atonement is immoral” got hit by a lightning bolt you might have an argument. Otherwise, your comparison stinks.

    Moreover, your extreme suppositionalism is also faulty. You seem to be arguing that if one has a less than perfect system one has to throw one’s hands up in the air and call it a day. That’s simply a strawman of how reasoning and logic work. Humans don’t do that.

    I’m curious incidentally what would happen if you found say a a proponent of an alternative religion, say Discordianism. If you pointed out that the religion was self-contradictory or had other serious problems (such as the commandment to eat hot dogs on Friday) would you find as an acceptable response

    “you’re irrationalizing something that 1. is first and foremost trans-rational, and 2. not exhaustively explained. You have given no argument as to why hot-dog Friday is irrational except that it goes against what is considered “logical” and “moral” to Cameron.”

    I suspect you’d be less than happy with that response.

  16. Cameron said,

    Andrew,

    I HAVE responded to your statement. I will let others judge as well. The laws of logic can’t be a product of the human brain, because absolute meanings (identities) must be the case before we arrive, if, when we arrive, are going to be able to use them. In other words, something absolute, can’t be finite. The laws of logic are absolute. I would modify what you said and state, the laws of logic require a mind. And since they are absolute, that means they first require an eternal mind.

    Lastly, I have no idea what you mean by “people are unable to grasp the laws of logic”. Every sentient being (humans) may potentially use logic. It is the precondition to thinking or knowing anything.

    Joshua,

    Within my worldview, Biblical truths, such as sub-atonement, aren’t first justified by rationality, but are accepted b/c they are primarily trans-rational truths. This does not mean they are irrational, however. But I’m saying they don’t derive from bare human rationality, b/c human rationality is extremely limited to God’s. That was my point in saying it’s trans-rational.

    I would actually point out to the Jew their inconsistency in believing in a different standard, since they deny God’s Triunity. Without Triunity, you can’t have morality. So your example there doesn’t work. And it is very relevant to point out that you must borrow tools from God before you can try and use them against Him, because that means that if you give an argument against God you are indirectly arguing for Him. If that’s the case, that’s where you would need to take a vacation and re-think things.

    It’s your assertion that my Bibliocentric epistemology is “ridiculous”, but you haven’t told me exactly why, and I’m waiting for you to tell me what YOURS is so I can put it under the microscope of scrutiny and see if it’s better than mine.

    Lol, I fully agree that OT sacrifices don’t have efficacious atonement in them! I would have even told you that since I do believe the Bible (as this is all laid out didactically in Hebrews). Sub-atonement is very Biblical. It’s just that in the OT, the sacrificial system was a shadow which was to point to Christ, and Christ was the fulfillment and reality of it. It’s the Jews who over-emphasized their tradition who thought the OT sacrificial system was efficacious, not the Apostles who clarified this in Hebrews.

    Anyone (given enough resources) can test the physical results.

    I can say this about sub-atonement! In fact, one way we will all test it is when we die. But what if we DON’T have enough resources for quantum physics? Then we’re screwed. All your doing here is appealing to a hypothetical promissory note that we may someday have enough resources. I’m saying the same with sub-atonement, as God may help us understand it more as He already understands it.

    Say you had a universe where whenever I say “substitutionary atonement is immoral” got hit by a lightning bolt you might have an argument. Otherwise, your comparison stinks.

    No, b/c then you’d have to prove that lightning bolts indicated rebuke, while it may just be a painful way of indicating a high five. This is just begging the question. And my comparison wasn’t intended to just be a comparison, but to point out the flaw in your own argument. Just because we can’t explain something exhaustively doesn’t mean its irrational or non-existent!

    You seem to be arguing

    This is how it “seems” to you, but that’s not what I’m arguing.

    With your final point, I can give you an actual example. When a Mormon believes that there is an infinite causal chain of gods creating other gods. This is illogical b/c you would first need an infinite amount of gods to be created before we arrived. Yet this is impossible b/c infinity can’t come to pass by definition of taking forever. If they told me “well it’s trans-rational and we can’t exhaustively explain it”, I would say, “but what we do understand is irrational”.

    We can’t say that with sub-atonement though. B/c what we DO know of it, hence infinite justice being carried out, is rational. An infinite crime requires and infinite punishment, and people who commit crimes which continue into infinity require infinite punishment (however you want to look at it).

    However, how the elect’s personal sin may be vicariously punished in a God-Man substitute is the part that we can’t make much of a “rational” judgment on, even with our knowledge of courtroom justice. The reason being is because our knowledge of justice is very subjective and our knowledge of the details of Christ’s atonement is limited (so far). But in the Mormon example, it is a very objective refutation, because it is by using simple math that it can be refuted.

  17. Cameron said,

    Andrew and Joshua, I’m still wanting to discuss this so please respond. I’m sorry I made my reply so long, but it is going to have to be long if I am going to address all the issues raised.

    Sincerely,

    Cameron

  18. Cameron, not every single person spends all day long on the internet. In addition to the rest of us having jobs, we might like to read what someone has to say and think about it for a while before responding. 48 hours of waiting is not that large. People also aren’t that happy when arguments appear to become off-topic, n-branched for large n, stupid, inane, examples outright not listening, or repeated use of word-salad. I was intending to respond in detail to your remark tonight but now I think I’ll be petty and get actual work done. Maybe I’ll respond tomorrow. Who knows? Guess what: You can set it up so that you get an email reminder when there is a follow up comment. Huh. Imagine that.

  19. Cameron said,

    Joshua, you’re awesome!

  20. Ok.

    Within my worldview, Biblical truths, such as sub-atonement, aren’t first justified by rationality, but are accepted b/c they are primarily trans-rational truths. This does not mean they are irrational, however. But I’m saying they don’t derive from bare human rationality, b/c human rationality is extremely limited to God’s. That was my point in saying it’s trans-rational.

    Still word salad. I have yet to see what the heck you mean by transrational. Moreover, it isn’t relevant where you claim the “truths” are initially coming from in any way as to whether a given analogy is a really bad analogy or whether basic normal human thinking shows the profoundly immoral implications of your conclusions.

    This is of course, aside from the not so tiny issue that these transrational claims (whatever that means) stem from your personal interpretation of the texts in question. So you are ultimately, relying at the start on logic and reason.

    I would actually point out to the Jew their inconsistency in believing in a different standard, since they deny God’s Triunity. Without Triunity, you can’t have morality.

    Um, what? It is one thing to try to argue that morality has trouble with a deity, but you are trying to claim that if your deity isn’t a trinity you can’t have morality. I really need to hear the logic behind this. To be blunt, it sounds more like the classic ability people often have to simply imagine that other systems other than their own might have a chance at working out ok. Considering moreover that not even all Christians are Trinitarians you’ve got quite a bit of work cut out for you.


    It’s your assertion that my Bibliocentric epistemology is “ridiculous”, but you haven’t told me exactly why, and I’m waiting for you to tell me what YOURS is so I can put it under the microscope of scrutiny and see if it’s better than mine.

    I don’t have any deep epistemological construct worth considering. Moreover, what underlying methods I use isn’t terribly relevant. Humans share enough common methods of data gathering that we all use because they clearly work. Thus, no one needs to think about the epistemological questions raised by vision when he sees a staircase: he just walks up it. Humans use a grab-bag of logic, certain very basic intuitions about physics, certain classes of observational data. We all are ok with those and as long as any claims made only rest on the common grab-bag then the precise philosophy justifying them (even the presence of a precise philosophy) isn’t terribly relevant.

    Lol, I fully agree that OT sacrifices don’t have efficacious atonement in them! I would have even told you that since I do believe the Bible (as this is all laid out didactically in Hebrews). Sub-atonement is very Biblical. It’s just that in the OT, the sacrificial system was a shadow which was to point to Christ, and Christ was the fulfillment and reality of it. It’s the Jews who over-emphasized their tradition who thought the OT sacrificial system was efficacious, not the Apostles who clarified this in Hebrews.

    This response is fascinating in that you seem so set in your worldview that you are unable to read what I wrote without interpreting in your narrow lens. Here’s what I wrote: “For example, many sacrifices have no element of atonement in them at all. The additional sacrifices on the three major pilgrimage holidays have no atonement element as one can easily see from just reading the descriptor of the portions.” That’s making any claim about efficacious or non-efficacious atonement. The point is that these sacrifices have zero to do with atonement whatsoever, Look at for example Number 29. Certain offerings such as in verse 5 are sin offerings. Others aren’t. The offerings aren’t connected to atonement for sins. It isn’t an issue of if they are efficacious.


    I can say this about sub-atonement! In fact, one way we will all test it is when we die.

    That’s not the same thing at all since we’re making a comparison about our information here. The comparison you made was to quantum physics here and now.


    But what if we DON’T have enough resources for quantum physics? Then we’re screwed.

    Well no. Because then we’d still have all the evidence in favor of it that you’ve actually seen. Used a computer? You’ve benefited from transistors which use quantum mechanics and lots of other fancy stuff that uses quantum mechanics. In fact, if someone proposed a hideously complicated, self-contradictory idea that wasn’t ever testable without dying that describe the nature of atoms, they’d be laughed out for perfectly good reasons. Your analogy to quantum mechanics is a really bad one.

    No, b/c then you’d have to prove that lightning bolts indicated rebuke, while it may just be a painful way of indicating a high five.

    At this point you seem to arguing for the sake arguing rather than trying to listen. Instead we have the lightning bolt come down and a voice booming out from heaves “Josh, you’re wrong.”

    Just because we can’t explain something exhaustively doesn’t mean its irrational or non-existent!

    True but almost completely irrelevant because you are making a moral claim. The problem raised is essentially one of basic morality. If the best defense one has against a claim about morality is “well, yeah you have what sounds like a really good argument for why my statement makes about as much moral sense as advocating eating dough-fried babies but that doesn’t mean you are right” There’s a serious problem. Yes, it is possible that all the apparent evidence can argue for X when in fact not X is the case. But the fact is, that makes X pretty unlikely. If the best argument one has is to reply on the fact that every so often the evidence is wrong then you are essentially conceding the argument.


    When a Mormon believes that there is an infinite causal chain of gods creating other gods. This is illogical b/c you would first need an infinite amount of gods to be created before we arrived. Yet this is impossible b/c infinity can’t come to pass by definition of taking forever. If they told me “well it’s trans-rational and we can’t exhaustively explain it”, I would say, “but what we do understand is irrational”.

    Wow. This is so wrong at so many different levels I don’t know where to begin. First of all, there’s no logical problem with the Mormon belief. There’s no logical contradiction. Yes, an infinite amount of time could have passed. Presumably then at any time t in the past there are already infinitely many deities going back. At any given time when we move from t to say t+1 we had some finite number of deities in. There’s no contradiction there. Not fitting Cameron’s intuition is not at all the same thing. Your logic is almost identical to that I once heard of someone trying to claim that there could only be finitely many negative integers because otherwise one would “never get to 0.”


    We can’t say that with sub-atonement though. B/c what we DO know of it, hence infinite justice being carried out, is rational. An infinite crime requires and infinite punishment, and people who commit crimes which continue into infinity require infinite punishment (however you want to look at it).

    Except that none of those premises have any intrinsic reasonability. I don’t know it means for a crime to be infinite. I don’t know why crime even requires punishments in any deep sense (seriously, why do you think we punish crime? To be vindictive snots?) I don’t know why an “infinite” crime (whatever that would mean) would require an infinite punishment. (There’s still the matter that no matter how bad something is, they’ve committed a finite number of actions. So the only infinite element seems to be that you’ve made God so limited that he has to take infinite offense at what little mortals decide to do)

    However, how the elect’s personal sin may be vicariously punished in a God-Man substitute is the part that we can’t make much of a “rational” judgment on, even with our knowledge of courtroom justice
    Does this mean that you are agreeing that the court room analogy is a really bad one and can be thrown out and not used again?

    But in the Mormon example, it is a very objective refutation, because it is by using simple math that it can be refuted.

    Except your simple math is nonsense. It is so bad it almost makes me want to convert to Mormonism in reaction. Please, don’t ever try to use this sort of logic with a mathematician again. It makes our heads hurt.

  21. Cameron said,

    Andrew,

    I’m still waiting to discuss those things with you. 🙂

    Joshua,

    Here’s my book 😀

    Let me just say this, sub-aton is a truth revealed from God, and any truth revealed from God may be a pradox, but cannot be irrational. I’m totally fine with you trying to show that sub-aton is irrational, but all you’ve said is that it’s immoral, which doesn’t demonstrate that it’s irrational but that YOUR irrational since you have no bases to consistently say something is immoral. And if you have no bases, then why is it still immoral? Oops, that requires a bases.

    profoundly immoral implications of your conclusions.

    Again, you have no bases to say something is immoral unless you can demonstrate that your worldview accounts for it. I like consistency, don’t you? So show me your consistent worldview in accounting for real rights and real wrongs. If you can’t account for it then just be consistent and say “all is permissible and there is only the illusion of things being right”.

    So you are ultimately, relying at the start on logic and reason.

    No, I’m ultimately assuming an eternal mind (Yahweh’s) to account for logic, so that is my starting point. Further, my starting point to know anything for certain is that that which is certain must make itself known to me, otherwise I have no bases to trust anything I know. And if Christ is the Truth (that which is certain), which He said He was, then I can’t know unless He makes Himself known to me first. So Christ is my epistemological starting point, and bases to truly now anything.

    And the “reasoning” I use, in terms of interpreting Scripture, is a simple hermeneutic which is consistent with how I interpret all of Scripture. You haven’t shown me how my hermeneutic is wrong, thus why my interpretation is wrong. In fact you haven’t even offered a counter interpretation, so I don’t know why you’re bringing my interpretation back into this.

    but you are trying to claim that if your deity isn’t a trinity you can’t have morality. I really need to hear the logic behind this.

    I’m happy to back up my claims. To have a real morality, where there is really a standard we ought to uphold so that not all is permissible, you need an eternal all-good standard. The eternal all-good standard can only be accounted for by having an eternal all-good sentient relationship, hence why selfishly putting knives in people is wrong and being selfless to others is good. Yet we can put knives in defrosted chicken because it’s not a sentient being. Only the Trinity accounts for an eternal all-good relationship because within His own being there is eternal love and selflessness between the persons.

    Considering moreover that not even all Christians are Trinitarians you’ve got quite a bit of work cut out for you.

    You mean Unitarians, JW’s, and Mormons? Those aren’t “orthodox” Christians. And you can’t separate real Christianity from Scripture. I can give you NT proofs that Christ is Yahweh if you want. You’d have to twist Scripture to believe otherwise.

    I don’t have any deep epistemological construct worth considering. Moreover, what underlying methods I use isn’t terribly relevant.

    Wow. What if my answer for being a Christian was as pathetic as yours in accounting for morality or logic, which you don’t even attempt to do? If you don’t believe my worldview then I have way more reason to not accept your beliefs, especially that sub-aton is irrational. You say it is not a “terribly relevant” problem. You need an epistemological starting point in order to justify that it’s not terribly relevant! Or to say that sub-aton is irrational for that matter. Otherwise, on what bases do we trust our rationality and consider it to be more then illusions or chemical processes to our biological makeup? None. Then you want to say “but we still just use logic”. Ok, I know you’re created in God’s image. But that’s my worldview!

    The point is that these sacrifices have zero to do with atonement whatsoever

    I see what you’re saying. But they ARE connected. Do you know that the NT Greek word ‘hilastarion’ is ‘propitiation’ and ‘atonement’ which is short hand for ‘sub-aton’ because it means that wrath justifies? ‘Hilastarion’ really just means “carrying out justice in order to justify”, Rom 3:26. The LXX translates the OT phrase ‘mercy seat’, where the priest would enter the holy of holies and sprinkle blood of a sacrificed animal, as ‘hilastarion’ because the Jewish scholars back then understood that the two concepts were the same. Num 29:11 used the Hebrew ‘kippur’ which translates into the LXX as ‘hilasterian’, (compare with Rom 3:24).

    You’re only argument is that “certain” offerings aren’t sin offerings? Who cares. Some ARE. If some are then my argument that the OT demonstrates sub-aton stands correct. The other offerings were about connecting back with God and worshipping Him due to forgiveness via a guilt and sin offering, not fiat. Hence why the curtain which separated the high priest from the holy of holies was split from top to bottom after the crusifixion, because Christ who is the true High Priest (bridge builder) separates the dividing wall of our sin to a holy God. That’s the gospel.

    That’s not the same thing at all since we’re making a comparison about our information here. The comparison you made was to quantum physics here and now.

    No, I’m not making a comparison about our information. That was your filter. My point is that even though we CAN test quantum physics, we are STILL left with seemingly contradictory conclusions, hence particles simultaneously having up-spin and down-spin, etc. I’m not talking about proving that sub-aton to be a reality like sub atomic particles are via testing finite matter. Sub-aton is a meta-physical reality anyways. In my worldview it’s a reality because Scripture says so, but that’s a whole other debate. I’m saying that quantum physics seems even more contradictory, even while testing it, then sub-aton does, only while theorizing it. It’s an un-warranted leap in logic to say that sub-atonement is illogical b/c it doesn’t exist in a math formula for your mathematician brain to grasp like 1+1=2.

    At this point you seem to arguing for the sake arguing rather than trying to listen. Instead we have the lightning bolt come down and a voice booming out from heaves “Josh, you’re wrong.”

    No, I’m just arguing. Telling me that I’m arguing for the sake of arguing is your avoidance of my argument. Still, that voice might be a lesser deity, or one who lies all the time. You’d still need an ultimate standard to consult to prove that that was God and what it was saying was correct.

    True but almost completely irrelevant because you are making a moral claim. The problem raised is essentially one of basic morality.

    What? Morality to you so far is “all is permissible” since you have no epistemological bases to have real rights and wrongs which we ought to listen to. Otherwise, we’re just arbitrarily saying things are right, which doesn’t make sense since “right” is non-existent or just an illusion. Your proving my worldview when you assume that morality is a reality.

    And with sub-aton, it’s not so much that I’m making a “moral” claim as I am making a justice claim, while the two are very related. Justice assumes that a moral standard ought to be upheld and has been violated. I’ve explained theoretically and Biblically already why a vertical offense against God is infinite thus requires a punishment of infinite degree. In other words, a sin against God is a crime serious enough to have everlasting consequences. The punishment fits the crime. That’s rational. Even earthly justice doesn’t have that down patt. Even if you don’t’ like that, it’s a theoretical conclusion, and there is nothing irrational about that. Just because you don’t’ like it doesn’t mean it’s irrational.

    Lastly, I won’t let you say God is theoretically being immoral when you can’t even explain to me why anything is really immoral in the first place. Otherwise you’re saying “I don’t’ know what “blaah” is but I know God isn’t being “blaah”.”

    Yes, an infinite amount of time could have passed.

    An infinite amount of time cannot pass, because infinity takes forever, thus will never pass before we get to the present. Infinity can’t even be reached in theory, let alone in space and time. In other words, if the Universe is infinitely old, then we could never arrive becasue an infinite amount of time would have to have passed by now, and an infinte amount of time can’t pass. We can only be in process of infinity. It can never be reached. Mormonism fails historically, doctrinally, scientifically, and won’t save your soul. Only Christ Jesus will if He so chooses.

  22. Theodore A. Jones said,

    “It is NOT those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who OBEY the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13 The proponents of substitutionary atonement ignore the fact that the law of God was changed after Jesus’ crucifixion by having a word added to it. It is only by the faith of obeying this added law that an individual is granted the grace to escape the penalty of death. The crucifixion of Jesus, a man’s death caused by bloodshed, was the satisfactory sacrifice to atone for this change of the law. If he had not been crucified the law would never have been changed and there would be no possibility for any man to escape death. Salvation is predicated upon the Way you obey God after Jesus’ crucifixion or every one would have been saved only by his crucifixion.

  23. Cameron said,

    Theodore,

    You raise a common misconception of the OT which Paul clearly addresses in Gal 2-3. The OT law was not an old way to salvation, and then Christ somehow made an easier way. THAT’S the profound misconception many have. Have you read Rom 3, 7 and Gal 2-3? The law had the very opposite effect of salvation. The law kills us because it demands that we uphold it perfectly, nothing less (cf. James 2:10, Deut 27:26, Gal 3:10). All have always been justified through faith, hence Rom 4:5.

    You posted Rom 2:13 on my blog and I’ll point out what I already pointed out there. 1. the word “righteous” in this passage is future tense. 2. The context is escatalogical, or is about Christ judging and rewarding in accordance to our deeds or lack of. Therefore, our righteousness has implications of our rewards. That entirely different then say our works make us righteous. In Rom 3:28 Paul says we are saved apart from the law, and according to Deut 6:4-6 and Matt 22 the law encompasses every possible moral action in thought, word, and deed. Thus, we are justified apart from all of that, through faith.

    Faith itself is granted by God as well, thus we can declare that we are justified entirely by grace (Rom 4:16). Rom 4:5 says God justifies the one who is ‘asaebes’ or “condemning God” and that faith is given unto (eis) righteousness, NOT because of righteousness. “Eis” is a preposition. It is saying that the former is given so that the latter may necessarily fallow. All is God’s work of justifying.

    Eph 2:8 says “you are saved by grace (masc noun) through faith (fem noun) and that (neut) not of yourself, but it is the gift of God so that no one can boast.” In Greek you usually know which noun the pronoun is referring to by that which matches the gender. Yet the pronoun “that” is neuter thus is referring to the entire process of salvation, which includes the faith and the grace. It’s all by God so that no one can boast.

  24. Cameron said,

    A coupe other things Theodore,

    1. In Romans, Paul speaks of a justification that is present tense all throughout Romans 3-4, as opposed to future tense in Rom 2:13.

    2. With Rom 2:13, Paul is explaining what one is to do with the law to determine if they’re justified (cf. James 2). It’s not enough to know the law but to do it. Also look at the beginning of the verse “it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God…”. Do you really think Jews believed that salvation came through only “hearing” the law? Of course not. The context is “knowing” if you’re justified.

    3. The law referred to in all of Romans is more than likely the moral law, NOT the civil and ceremonial laws (which are ultimately judged in accordance to the moral law anyways). This is why in Rom 2:14 even the Gentiles do the requirements of the law (the moral law that is), as they never built temples to Yahweh!

    4. There was no change in the law in regards to justification. It has always remained the same in that regard as Rom 4:2-5 demonstrates that Abraham was justified in this way. The law changed in regard to it’s method in upholding the law after justification. Hence Rom 6:14 says “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” Sin is now controlled by the Spirit in the new covenant, not predominantly by the OT law (or the strict code).

    You’re conflating the laws use for salvation (which it never was intended for, but the very opposite reason), and the laws use for controlling sin (which in the NT is ultimately controlled by the Spirit).

  25. Theodore A. Jones said,

    See Heb. 7:12b “a change also of the law.” A new covenant is not a possibility without a new law. Neither me nor Paul is referring to OT law in Rom. 2:13 nor is he referring to OT law in Rom. 5:20. “The law was added so that the trespass (of Jesus’ crucifixion) might increase.” If your mind were controlled by the Spirit of God and that spirit had guided you into the truth about Jesus’ crucifixion you would not have to be made aware of these things. Since the crucifixion of Jesus is the sin of murder caused by bloodshed it is not possible for his crucifixion to have been a direct benefit as OT ceremonial law would have allowed. The sacrifice of any animal causing it to loose its life by bloodshed is not a sin. However any human male’s life taken by bloodshed for any reason ALWAYS carries the residual burden of having to give God a direct account. The crucifixion of Jesus carries this exact same residual burden, but it is ONLY by Jesus’ crucifixion and a modification of God’s law by an addition which has made it that the unilateral burden to give an account directly to God or disobey a law of God for which there is no resolution. This is why Jesus has explained to you that the issue of guilt relative to a sin is the unilateral residual to be resolved AFTER his crucifixion. Jn. !6:8. So no matter what you might think the crucifixion of Jesus, God’s only begotten son, was not in place of your hide by any imaginative stretch.

  26. Cameron said,

    Theodore,

    poor cold water down your back so it will shock you out of your zombie replies.

    I know that Paul is not mainly referring to the civil and ceremonial laws in Romans, but mostly the moral law (because it is eternal – and all civil and ceremonial laws are judged according to it anyways). I already stated this! Did you even read what I wrote or are you stuck in zombie mode?

    Heb 7:12 says there is a change in law after a new priest, NOT a change in how one is justified! cf. Heb 8:5 “They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven.” The OT law which was only typological of Christ, and was only temporal for the Jewish people not the entire church age. The reality of what it pointed to is Jews and Gentiles being primarily governed by God in Spirit, not the written code. This is the new covenant and is eternal.

    The law was not added so the trespass alone of Jesus’ crucifixion would increase. It’s acknowledgment of all moral sin increasing, and Jesus crucifixion is included in that, not exclusive to that. Otherwise, I’m still waiting for your Biblical proof of this.

    I love you just imported the phrase (of Jesus’ crucifixion) into Rom 5:20! Show me where that is in the verse of even in the entire surrounding context! Rom 5:8-10, and 6:4-11 teaches entirely contrary to what you’re saying. It says our “hides” were crucified with Christ. I’ll let you read it instead of spoon feed you.

    So no matter what you might think the crucifixion of Jesus, God’s only begotten son, was not in place of your hide by any imaginative stretch.

    Sorry Theodore, I’m going to go with Scripture, not Theodore’s word on this one! You’re argument is with Scripture, NOT me.

    May the clarity of Scripture stab your soul instead of fall along the groves in your zombie brain that you have made for yourself.

  27. Theodore A. Jones said,

    See 1 Cor. 2:6-8 for a stab into your brain if a brain exist. I suspect the thrust will not meet with gray matter but only air. Since the doctrine and practice of substitutionary atonement are features of the OT this rules the doctrine out as a true explanation of why Jesus was crucified. Paul clearly explains that it was not possible to understand why Jesus was going to be crucified. For the true reason for Jesus crucifixion was a secret of God’s and was not revealed until after Jesus had been crucified. The fact of the matter is that only a few people ever find the small narrow gate into God’s kingdom which has been perfected by Jesus’ crucifixion. Actually Jesus by his crucifixion completed the will of his father for each man i.e. God’s set purpose for men.
    “And for Your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from EACH man too I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.” I do not think you can exclude yourself from the class of EACH man too without making a direct argument against God’s set purpose. Can you?

  28. Cameron said,

    Theodore,

    I’m not sure what your argument is. With regard to 1 Cor 2:6-8, yes the idea that Yahweh, the Jew’s own promised Messiah, would be the Savior of the world via His own sacrifice in the person of Jesus was indeed a mystery until after His resurrection. Verse 8 is saying (from man’s perspective) no one would have crucified Christ had they known He was really their Messiah. From God’s perspective, it was God’s plan all along (Acts 2:23).

    “Since the doctrine and practice of substitutionary atonement are features of the OT this rules the doctrine out as a true explanation of why Jesus was crucified.”

    Theodore, have you even read the Bible? Your statement here completely goes against what is taught in Hebrews and Galatians.

    Heb 10:1-4;11 “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, 4because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.”

    Gal 3:21-25 “Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

    23Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ[h] that we might be justified by faith. 25Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.”

    The OT law was NEVER efficacious in atoning for sin. It was a shadow of the reality which is in Christ. Only, only, only He is the true and efficacious sacrifice for sin. He also must, must, MUST be the true sacrifice for sin because of the fact that the OT sacrificial system was temporal and only a shadow of the reality. In fact, it had the very opposite effect of atonement. It was a reminder of how ugly sin really is to God.

    Again, you’re trying to say something that Scripture teaches the opposite of. It’s not that the OT sacrificial system was a temporal way to God, and then Jesus made an easier way. No, all have always been justified the same way, namely through faith, and always on behalf of the atonement of Christ only.

    Rom 4:1-3 “What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

    Rom 3:25-26 “God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”

    I see that you also are conceding on Rom 2:13 after I clarified that “justification” in the passage is future tense, thus escatalogical, and the context is about God determining who’s justified, not how one obtains justification. You wont be able to throw that verse around like you have been since you understand this now.

    And keep in mind, your assertions are not truth. They are just assertions about the truth. Your argument is still with Scripture, NOT me.

  29. Theodore A. Jones said,

    As I said the stab would not be able to hit gray matter.

  30. Cameron said,

    Theodore, you can’t stab someone with Scripture when you throwing it around like feces and taking verses way out of context and importing your own brand new meanings. I’ve already let Scripture speak for itself above, so I’m going to assume you’re conceding to the arguments I’ve raised until you offer a stronger Biblical argument.

  31. Theodore A. Jones said,

    Never will I conceed that any conclusions you have proposed about what the crucifixion of Jesus has accomplished cannot be other than not true.

  32. Cameron said,

    And how do you know what is true about the crucifixion Theodore? By what Theodore says or what God says? I’m personally going to go with God, and will every time. If you did concede, it wouldn’t be because of me, but only because of Scripture. Your argument has always and will always be with it, not me. My arguments were simple. I just quoted Scripture in context. I didn’t write the Bible so you’ll have to take it up with God. Sorry.

  33. Theodore A. Jones said,

    “The word of God is true, but it is a little here and a little there.” Take context and stick it up your ass. If the doctrine of substitutionary atonement has been perfected by Jesus crucifixion then why does he say? “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies” and this table sits right down in front of every “Christian” church house built upon the foundation of substitutionary atonement. For God’s purpose of this table being in your presence is for a snare and a trap. These facts, jack ass, you cannot get around.
    And how do you explain that in churches built on the foundation of substitutionary atonement no person displays any spiritual gift unless he bought it from someone who sold it to him. Foolish men put the new wine of life into the old wine skin of substitutionary atonement and the lack of spiritual gifs is proof that this doctrine is false. Your person certainly does not go with God for it is only a few that ever find the small narrow gate into God’s kingdom. But the crowd following substitutionary atonement is not a few, is it? Which is why God commands “Do not follow the crowd in doing evil” and why it is written “Do not go beyond what is written” either. Never will I concede that any conclusions you have proposed about what the crucifixion of Jesus has accomplished are other than false.

  34. Theodore A. Jones said,

    Come on Cameroon! I don’t want to wait fifty two hours for your rebut.

  35. Cameron said,

    Theodore,

    you said “take context”. I’m glad you agree with me that context is important! Am I taking you in context there?

    And the context of Mat 7 and the narrow gate is more about false teachers and how easy it is to follow them, not how many people will be saved in the end. Heb 11:12 is more in the context of how many will be saved. “And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.”

    Being said, it’s OK to look at the majority of what Christians have believed over the years, not what secular majority opinion believes (which keeps changing). The majority of Christians have held to what Scripture says. Your argument is still with it because you haven’t delt with ANY of the passages I’ve laid out. I have dealt with virtually all of YOURS however. Thus, you may not be conceding to Scripture in your heart, but you certainly ARE conceding intellectually since you keep scraping the bottom of the barrel for arguments and proof texts instead of dealing in debth with the actual texts.

  36. Theodore A. Jones said,

    What, Cameroon? The majority of pseudomorphic “Christians” have held to this? “It is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom.2:13
    A law has been added Cameroon. You need to catch up with things.

  37. We’re a gaggle of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community.

    Your website provided us with helpful info to work on. You have done an impressive job and our whole community
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  38. Pastor Bate Emmanuel said,

    I think Jesus died ‘as’ me, and not for me. Substitution means he took my place and became me.


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