1. Territories Unknown
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    29 Nov '11 16:37
    Can some one explain to me how God allowing his only begotten son to be tortured to death absolves believers of their sins? What is the connection? Is God not bright enough to have been able to figure out a less sadistic way to accomplish the same task?
    I didn't do so hot on the first go around, so I'll attempt to answer your questions in this thread.

    The physical torture of the Lord Jesus Christ decidedly did not cover or make restitution for our sin. Moreover, none of the events leading up to the penultimate moment of the transmission of the sins of the world onto His body could be considered as anything other proofs of His qualifications to receive the same. I use the term 'penultimate' because even the transmission of sin did not absolve man. We knew He was able to receive the sins by virtue of His behavior and lack of subjectivity prior to the insult of the cross, but there was no way of knowing whether or not He could bear the sins once there. Following the hours of darkness and upon His emergence on the other side of that transfer, we saw the double-proof of not only His qualification but of His capacity. In a sense beyond the word's ability to convey, it was a staggering feat.

    What fails most people's thinking is the grand design of God. Lucifer/Satan figured he had God beat when He committed to the creation of man, betting that if creatures of light could be swayed, how difficult could it be to sway creatures of dirt against their Creator? What was not factored into the thinking was the reality of God's plan to use the dirt like a caterpillar uses a cocoon, transferring the trespass upon Himself--- the only Person in the universe worthy or capable of handling it--- a type of God-not-being-God paradox, only to pick up the robe of deity once the task was complete.

    To be sure, pain was involved, but pain wasn't the issue.
  2. Standard memberRBHILL
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    29 Nov '11 16:45
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    [b]Can some one explain to me how God allowing his only begotten son to be tortured to death absolves believers of their sins? What is the connection? Is God not bright enough to have been able to figure out a less sadistic way to accomplish the same task?
    I didn't do so hot on the first go around, so I'll attempt to answer your questions in this thre ...[text shortened]... once the task was complete.

    To be sure, pain was involved, but pain wasn't the issue.[/b]
    I was the only way to save us. He chose to do it that way. He know best. If Jesus came of that Cross we would all be going to hell.
  3. Cape Town
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    29 Nov '11 17:30
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    We knew He was able to receive the sins ......
    So what are these 'sins' that are transmissible?
  4. Hmmm . . .
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    29 Nov '11 18:587 edits
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    [b]Can some one explain to me how God allowing his only begotten son to be tortured to death absolves believers of their sins? What is the connection? Is God not bright enough to have been able to figure out a less sadistic way to accomplish the same task?
    I didn't do so hot on the first go around, so I'll attempt to answer your questions in this thre once the task was complete.

    To be sure, pain was involved, but pain wasn't the issue.[/b]
    Theologically—and speaking strictly theologically (that is, assuming the validity of the mode of discourse, for the sake of argument), and within an “orthodox”, Chalcedonian Christian theology for the moment, with no intent to dismiss others—this specific argument really only works when it is God, as the Christ (ho Christos) incarnate particularly as Jesus, that undertakes the sacrifice. In a triune formulation, it is via the incarnation that God is able to absorb, as it were, the sins (errors, failures: hamartia) of humanity. In the triune formulation, it is really God who makes the sacrifice, that God, as Gregory Nanzianzen pointed out in the 4th century, prevented Abraham from committing—and thus finally puts and end to (or at least attempts to) that whole notion of sacrifice (though not sacrifice more generally as sanctification: i.e., rendering sacred).

    For those who may not have been privy to our discussions of such stuff in the past (along with such luminaries as lucifershammer, Nemesio, Epiphenehas, jaywill—and, of course, Kirk), I include the notes below to outline some of the strictures that apply to my venturing into such a theological discussion.
    ___________________________________________

    NOTES:

    1. It’s a long time since I ventured at all into Christian theology, but the brief reappearance of our old dear friend Kirk brought back memories...

    2. Non-Chalcedonian theologies, such as that argued by Robbie and Galveston, will, perforce, have different soteriologies—and, respectfully, I have no intention of arguing that one way or the other.

    3. As you know, I have always been critical of soteriologies that are not rooted firmly and unequivocally in soterias, as opposed to, say, a schema based on pardon versus punishment. One can point to both biblically, but I do not think they can be reconciled—call them competing metaphors; since I am not a sola scriptura advocate or a biblical inerrantist, I see no need to. (I think it is a mistake—one particularly, it seems, made by Protestants—to dismiss the oral tradition that continued, and continues, parallel with the written, “scriptural”, tradition.)

    I just see a soteriology that is a “soterias of soterias”, as I think Irenaeus put it, as the better—I might even say, “preemptive”—metaphor.

    4. The Nanzianzen reference works better when one realizes that, in the Hebrew, there are two distinct voices speaking to Abraham in the story: ha elohim and YHVH.

    5. I long ago argued for a Christology in which, although Jesus is the Christ, the Christ is not exclusively Jesus. In this, I somewhat follow St. Gregory of Nyssa (also 4th century). It really turns on the question of whether monogenous (generally translated as “only” or “only begotten” ) is best understood as “exclusive” or “unique”. I follow an Orthodox tradition that argues for the latter.

    This also goes back as far as Justin Martyr at least; for the early church, ho Christos is the logos as it is incarnated in humanity, with Jesus as the perfectly unique exemplar, and, as such, is called huios in the persoanlized trinitarian formula. (I'm being a bit simplistic here with regard to the whole trinitarian/Chalcedonian theology, I know.)

    6. This whole thing can, of course, be criticized on the assumption of theos as omniscient/omnipotent—but I do not make that assumption. Alternatively, one can say that God is bound by the bounds of history (and nature) as soon as God becomes creator—that is only one possible view, of course. As a nondualist, I would have a different take, but that is irrelevant to the issue that you raise here.
  5. Territories Unknown
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    29 Nov '11 19:16
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    So what are these 'sins' that are transmissible?
    It's less plural and more singular, really. People confuse the various ways of trespass (and these days, they are legion) with trespass in general. Just as in the Garden there was but one decision to make regarding the continuation of the harmonious relationship between God and man (not eating of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil), there is really but one decision now for a harmonious relationship between God and man. Contrary to the do's and don'ts of legalistic thinking, man either chooses to live by faith or he chooses to live by his own wits.
  6. Territories Unknown
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    29 Nov '11 19:26
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Theologically—and speaking strictly theologically (that is, assuming the validity of the mode of discourse, for the sake of argument), and within an “orthodox”, Chalcedonian Christian theology for the moment, with no intent to dismiss others—this specific argument really only works when it is God, as the Christ (ho Christos) incarnate particula ...[text shortened]... ualist, I would have a different take, but that is irrelevant to the issue that you raise here.
    "Gone from mystery into mystery
    Gone from daylight into night
    Another step deeper into darkness
    Closer to the light"

    Not that I would concede a non-dualistic viewpoint, but the apparent contrariety of Christianity is more sleight-of-hand than trompe-l'œil...

    As always, nice to hear from you again!
  7. Cape Town
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    29 Nov '11 19:37
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    It's less plural and more singular, really. People confuse the various ways of trespass (and these days, they are legion) with trespass in general. Just as in the Garden there was but one decision to make regarding the continuation of the harmonious relationship between God and man (not eating of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) ...[text shortened]... galistic thinking, man either chooses to live by faith or he chooses to live by his own wits.
    I didn't really understand a word of that.
    Please explain what is a 'sin', and how it gets transferred from one entity to another.
  8. Hmmm . . .
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    29 Nov '11 19:50
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    "Gone from mystery into mystery
    Gone from daylight into night
    Another step deeper into darkness
    Closer to the light"

    Not that I would concede a non-dualistic viewpoint, but the apparent contrariety of Christianity is more sleight-of-hand than trompe-l'œil...

    As always, nice to hear from you again!
    I always think that we err when we do not bring in the apophatic side of theology (which you hint at here) to balance the kataphatic theology that so much argument is spent on.

    By the way, I wanted to say that your “God-not-being-God paradox” might be the best short encapsulation of the whole formula of Chalcedon that I’ve seen—the Chalcedonian language being decidedly (and, for my money, deliberately) paradoxical.

    I only threw in that line about my non-dualism for those who might not realize that that is in fact where I come from—but I don’t think my expansion on your argument here depends on that; I am really leaving a non-dualistic formulation out of it.

    Always good to hear from you as well!
  9. Territories Unknown
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    29 Nov '11 23:03
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I didn't really understand a word of that.
    Please explain what is a 'sin', and how it gets transferred from one entity to another.
    'Sin' is missing the mark (traditionally), and--- in my opinion and for my tastes--- fails (ha!) to accurately convey the salient issue, i.e., man's divorce from God. We've had a long-standing image of failed efforts, of falling short in some perceived concept of bridging the gap when the reality is, we don't even try. The sin concept is for those few who have tried, and I take Romans 3 to be the great leveler for all stripes: those who try and those who couldn't give a sniff. Paul is saying we all fall short, we're all producing middle-of-the-period rags and our wedding whites are (at best) ashen gray.

    The transference is possible by virtue--- again--- of debt. Debt keeps us away from the riches of our designated inheritance and the same cannot be restored without the debt being removed. We have a tough time factoring the cost because we have no sense of the value of His righteousness. For our thinking, we figure why not just give everyone a mulligan and call it all good? It's nearly impossible for us to equate the insult to perfection that divorce represents, but the truth remains: there is hell to pay.

    Fortunately for all of us in need of mulligans, hell has been paid.
  10. Standard memberkaroly aczel
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    29 Nov '11 23:06
    Originally posted by RBHILL
    I was the only way to save us. He chose to do it that way. He know best. If Jesus came of that Cross we would all be going to hell.
    How absurd.
    and what would be the point of living at all?

    Sorry, but that statement makes no sense to me on any level whatsoever,sorry
  11. Hmmm . . .
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    30 Nov '11 01:326 edits
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    'Sin' is missing the mark (traditionally), and--- in my opinion and for my tastes--- fails (ha!) to accurately convey the salient issue, i.e., man's divorce from God. We've had a long-standing image of failed efforts, of falling short in some perceived concept of bridging the gap when the reality is, we don't even try. The sin concept is for those few wh e is hell to pay.

    Fortunately for all of us in need of mulligans, hell has been paid.
    Now I disagree. ๐Ÿ™‚ (Well, in relevant part: again, you and I have enough history that I have a pretty good idea what’s underneath the “shorthand” here. Assuming your theology and soteriology haven’t changed much since last we jousted&hellip๐Ÿ˜‰

    Yes, the “traditional” (actually, the actual) meaning of ‘amartia is salient. And the “divorce” is from ourselves (our “original nature” ), so to speak, as much as from the divine source. [And still no non-dualism necessitated by my choice of words.] Resurrection, as Nyssa knew, is “the restoration of our nature to its original condition”.

    God is not some intolerant perfectionist,a priori intolerant of all but his own perfection. How foolish it would be for such a god to create anything other than him/herself! And then to condemn it for being less than perfect?! If only God is perfect, then either the “creation” is a real manifestation of God (the non-dualism that you disagree with), or creation is imperfect—the very fact that, according to the story, the first humans could miss the mark stands testimony to that.* (By the way, I am aware of no place that scripture says that, in the so-called “fall”, the image (ikon) of God in humanity (as a collective) was destroyed.)

    [Have you discerned that, in your scenario, it is essentially God—despite the protestations I imagine following on shortly—that is the one who is the de facto divorcer? And the one whose agape cannot fully love any that are less than divinely perfect?** Such a god is incapable of really loving anything other than god-self—and so cannot be the God who is agape; and certainly not a god who is both agape and creator.]

    Once again, your refusal to see sin as something standing in need of healing (soterias)—rather than in need of condemnation by a (necessarily?) intolerant god—renders your view a pseudo-soteriology that, unfortunately, seems to have infected much of Western Christendom, especially latter-day Protestantism. [It's possible that I mis-read you here; and, if so, I will haply stand corrected.]

    The fact that much of modern Christianity (at least since Luther; though the Roman Church following Augustine too tightly may have developed an overly juridical notion of sin and salvation) has lost all that does not make it less salient.

    [Is this where you and I both end up jumping up and down and pulling our hair, saying: "Why can't he get it yet?!"]

    ________________________________________________

    * And I think it has been well-established on here that “free will” and the “necessary capacity to err [sin]” do not in any way entail one another logically. Otherwise, the fact that my “free will” to fly by flapping my arms does not enable me to actually do so, would also imply the necessity of my “capacity to err”. And if one wants to push a quasi-mathematical notion of perfection (see note below), then such a perfection could hardly include the capacity to err to imperfection. So this whole “perfection versus imperfection” theology fails at the get-go—at least for a creator-god who claims to fins his/her creation “good”, and claims not to hate it emphatically from the beginning.

    ** Some theologies seem to have made too much of the Hebrew and Greek words often translated as “perfect”—or, rather, have made too much of that translation—and end up with a god who seems rather like the Pythagoreans who could not admit of an irrational number, because it would violate the “perfection” of the mathematical cosmos.

    ___________________________________________

    By the way, whether from a juridical or from a soteriological (soterias, generally translated as "salvation", does mean healing) point of view, I would agree with the "hell has been paid" comment--without any further weaseling away from it at all. The cure is simply effected, universally. Otherwise, you have to answer the old trilemma:

    1. God saves (everyone);
    2. God fails to save (at least some); or
    3. God does not will/desire to save everyone.

    Shifting the failure in 2. to humanity does nothing more than to say that we, in our weakness, ignorance or perversity, can cause God to fail. (This would be true even in the open-ended scenario proffered by Lewis in The Great Divorce.) If you're willing to bind God's omnipotence there, then, of course, you escape the trilemma.

    I should say that "hell", in this case, takes on a different (but nonetheless biblically cogent) meaning than may be conventionally understood.
  12. Territories Unknown
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    30 Nov '11 21:37
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Now I disagree. ๐Ÿ™‚ (Well, in relevant part: again, you and I have enough history that I have a pretty good idea what’s underneath the “shorthand” here. Assuming your theology and soteriology haven’t changed much since last we jousted&hellip๐Ÿ˜‰

    Yes, the “traditional” (actually, the actual) meaning of ‘amartia is salient. And the “divorce” is from our ...[text shortened]... t (but nonetheless biblically cogent) meaning than may be conventionally understood.
    Good stuff.

    Still chewing...
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    30 Nov '11 22:18
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    [b]Can some one explain to me how God allowing his only begotten son to be tortured to death absolves believers of their sins? What is the connection? Is God not bright enough to have been able to figure out a less sadistic way to accomplish the same task?
    I didn't do so hot on the first go around, so I'll attempt to answer your questions in this thre ...[text shortened]... once the task was complete.

    To be sure, pain was involved, but pain wasn't the issue.[/b]
    I for one have no idea what you are trying to say. I mean, WTF?

    I once asked jaywill if he had any reasons that would shed any plausibility on the "doctrine of the scapegoat" (DoS) as I like to refer to it (this is what Blackburn calls it in his book Being Good). Of course jaywill had none to offer, and he basically admitted as much. (And, in fact, there are none.) He implied that he thinks only God can comprehend such things. I found that somewhat refreshing.

    I guess my point is, it would be better if you just chalked it up to some divine mystery of some sort. It's just painfully obvious that the DoS walks and talks like complete nonsense; at least be honest about it.
  14. Hmmm . . .
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    01 Dec '11 01:26
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    I for one have no idea what you are trying to say. I mean, WTF?

    I once asked jaywill if he had any reasons that would shed any plausibility on the "doctrine of the scapegoat" (DoS) as I like to refer to it (this is what Blackburn calls it in his book Being Good). Of course jaywill had none to offer, and he basically admitted as much. (And, in ...[text shortened]... lly obvious that the DoS walks and talks like complete nonsense; at least be honest about it.
    Just to be perfectly pedantic, the scapegoat was the one set free (although his chances in the wild may not have been great); the paschal lamb—a different story—is the “sacrificial lamb”. Both are referred to in the NT, I think, and they may get conflated by some Christians—but they are two different allegories.* Jesus of Galilee might be seen as one or the other but not both, except in a Christian soteriology that is terribly confused—using the two metaphors really requires two alternative soteriologies, both of which I think are found in the NT by different writers.

    [There may be some ancient, and forgotten, dialectic on this in the gospels where there are two Jesuses—and Jesus “son of the father” (Jesus BarAbbas) gets set free, while the other Jesus gets crucified (in Matthew, BarAbbas is called “a notorious prisoner”; in John he is called “a bandit”: Mark and Luke don’t say). I wonder if there aren’t aspects of that whole allegorical tale that have been lost over the centuries.]

    You and I undoubtedly agree on the “need for sacrifice” stuff (though I point out above that the word has another—actually its original—meaning). I’ll also just note that all but one (to my memory; perhaps there were two) of the animal sacrifices in the OT were eaten: butchering animals and cooking them (“burnt sacrifice” ) for food was a religious affair, however primitive. Today it still is for orthodox Jews and Muslims, and perhaps for remaining hunter-gatherer-horticulturalist bands. That is not intended as an apologetic—especially to one who is an ethical vegetarian (I spent a year being nearly vegan until quite recently; I still recall our prior discussion on the matter). Also, grains, oils and other foods were “sacrificed”, suggesting that the original understanding of that word (“rendering sacred” ) was at the root of communal food-sharing generally, and embedded as such in the mythos.

    I am only trying to make sure that facts in argument are, so far as we can know, facts—or at least that the mythos is, again so far as we can, rendered on its own terms. ๐Ÿ™‚

    ________________________________________________

    Not that it matters here, but, as I generally take a sort of “literary-critical” approach (without dismissing, say, historical criticism, or form criticism, etc.), I see allegory, symbol, metaphor, myth and story in most of this stuff. And I do all that somewhat contemplatively.
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    01 Dec '11 01:51
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Just to be perfectly pedantic, the scapegoat was the one set free (although his chances in the wild may not have been great); the paschal lamb—a different story—is the “sacrificial lamb”. Both are referred to in the NT, I think, and they may get conflated by some Christians—but they are two different allegories.* Jesus of Galilee might be seen as one or t ...[text shortened]... ol, metaphor, myth and story in most of this stuff. And I do all that somewhat contemplatively.
    I do believe you're right.

    I do not think Blackburn's use of 'scapegoat' depends much, or at all, on any of these nuances (his use is somewhat co-opted), and I would not expect the phrase "doctrine of the scapegoat" to be well-received. It certainly irritated jaywill somewhat when I used it.
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