Author Topic: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...  (Read 155394 times)

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Offline ignatius

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #405 on: January 05, 2009, 06:11:03 PM »

Certainly. Calvinists believe that Christ literally experienced the identical punishment that we deserve as sinners. Because we are are deserving of both death and hell, then that is exactly what Christ experienced. Some of the reformers even argued that Christ experienced the pains and damnation of Hell between his death and resurrection. Catholics, on the other hand, do not take such a legalistic approach. Yes, man had separated himself from God by sin but Christ did not experience damnation for us vicariously. Rather, Christ did something different, something above the law. He became one of us and as one of us took humanity with him back to God. It was in our pride that we elevated ourselves and believed that we could walk away from God and exhault our will above his. Because we, in are broken and fallen state, could not perfectly submit our will to God again, the Logos took on our flesh and did so as one of us. The second Adam undid what the first did. He submitted his will perfectly and completely to God the Father, so much so, that he did it to the point of death. There was no flaw in the submission of will because he was sinless. The spotless lamb sacrificed his entire will, again to the point of death (not my will but yours be done). As the perfect representative of humanity, Jesus offered back to the Father the perfect sacrifice of submission that reestablished our relationship with him.

So how did this develop from St. Athanasius' On the Incarnation? Have you ever read On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius?
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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #406 on: January 05, 2009, 06:15:59 PM »
Could you define what you mean Substitutionary Atonement or Penal Satisfaction to mean?

"Substitutionary Atonement" means that basically, Christ died "in our place" (ie "was substituted for us") in order to make "Atonement" (whatever that means, since the meaning has changed over time). While the various meanings of "Atonement" is problematic, the idea that Christ died "in our place" or "instead of us" is wrong. He died for us, not instead of us.

"Penal Satisfaction" basically means that a debt (or penalty) is owed to God for sin, (somewhat like a parking fine) which needs to be paid so that the sin can be forgiven. The idea is that Christ paid the fine for us (because we were unable to).

Okay, understanding, which I don't, could you unpack my post:

One of the big questions we have to ask ourselves is... In What Sense is Christ "Made to Be Sin for Us"?

Christ knew no sin, but he was made sin for us. This occurred by the imputation of our sin to him. We might argue the key text is 2 Corinthians 5:21 "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." It was central to the Father's justification teaching.

Christ was not a sinner, but a victim for sinners, according to St. Cyril of Alexandria: "Whe do not say that Christ became a sinner, far from it, but being righteous (or rather righteousness, because he did not know sin at all), the Father made him a victim for the sins of the world" (Letter 41.10). ~FC 76:174: ACCS NT 7:252

Christ knew no sin either inwardly or outwardly, either in intention or action. Yet he was voluntarily made to be sin for us by the imputation of our sin to him.

John Chrysostom explained: "God allowed his Son to suffer as if a condemned sinner, so that we might be delivered from the penalty of our sins. This is God's righteousness, that we are not justified by works (for then they would have to be perfect, which is impossible), but by grace, in which case all our sin is removed" (Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians 11:5). ~NPNF 1 12:334; ACCS NT 7:252

The Fathers teach that Christ was made an offering for our sins. "It was only because all flesh was subject to sin that he was made sin for us. In view of the fact that he was made an offering for sins, it is not wrong for him to be said to have been made 'sin,' because in the law the sacrifice which was offered for sins used to be called a 'sin.' After his death on the cross Christ descended to hell, because it was death, working through sin, which gave hell its power. Christ defeated death by his death, and brought such benefit to sinners that now death cannot hold those who are marked with the sign of the cross" (Ambrosiaster, Commentary on Paul's Epistles). ~CSEL 81:238; ACCS NT 7:252

I deeply appreciate the holistic teaching which the Orthodox offer as a deeper understanding of the Gospel message but we must recognize that the heart of the gospel idea of uprighting (i.e. justification) cannot be penetrated without pursuing 'carefully' the metaphor of a courtroom verdict. Many crucial biblical terms describing our salvation come directly out of the setting of the court. Justification is such a term. It belongs with other judicial terms like judge, pardon, sentence, and verdict. These are somtimes called forensic or juridical metaphors and they are throughout the New Testament. I have to believe that there was a reason the Holy Spirit allowed these terms to be present in the Sacred Text.

I'm just not getting the distinction. Thanks.
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #407 on: January 05, 2009, 06:41:17 PM »
One of the big questions we have to ask ourselves is... In What Sense is Christ "Made to Be Sin for Us"?
I've answered it on this thread. Some people just don't like my answer.

If you frequent Orthodox lists such as Orthodox-Forum you will find that it is (usually recent) Protestants converts who sometimes try to push atonement theories onto the Orthodox and get quite upset by the Orthodox resistance and lack of interest.   Atonement has been such a major plank in their former understanding of salvation that, even though they have entered Orthodoxy, they find it hard to contemplate life without some doctrine of the atonement.
Yep.
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Offline Jakub

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #408 on: January 06, 2009, 12:18:56 AM »
Atonement...


1 Exodus 30

10 And Aaron shall pray upon the horns thereof once a year, with the blood of that which was offered for sin, and shall make atonement upon it in your generations. It shall be most holy to the Lord.

2 Leviticus 5

13 Praying for him and making atonement: but the part that is left, he himself shall have for a gift.

3 Leviticus 6

30 For the victim that is slain for sin, the blood of which is carried into the tabernacle of the testimony to make atonement in the sanctuary, shall not be eaten, but shall be burnt with fire.

4 Leviticus 16

27 But the calf and the buck goat, that were sacrificed for sin, and whose blood was carried into the sanctuary, to accomplish the atonement, they shall carry forth without the camp, and shall burn with fire, their skins and their flesh, and their dung:

5 Leviticus 16

32 And the priest that is anointed, and whose hands are consecrated to do the office of the priesthood in his father's stead, shall make atonement; and he shall be vested with the linen robe and the holy vestments,

6 Leviticus 17

11 Because the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you, that you may make atonement with it upon the altar for your souls, and the blood may be for an expiation of the soul.

7 Leviticus 23

27 Upon the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the day of atonement, it shall be most solemn, and shall be called holy: and you shall afflict your souls on that day, and shall offer a holocaust to the Lord.

8 Numbers 25

13 And the covenant of the priesthood for ever shall be both to him and his seed, because he hath been zealous for his God, and hath made atonement for the wickedness of the children of Israel.

9 Numbers 28

22 And one buck goat for sin, to make atonement for you,

10 2 Kings 21

3 David therefore said to the Gabaonites: What shall I do for you? and what shall be the atonement for you, that you may bless the inheritance of the Lord?

11 2 Esdras 10

33 For the leaves of proposition, and for the continual sacrifice, and for a continual holocaust on the sabbaths, on the new moons, on the set feasts, and for the holy things, and for the sin offering: that atonement might be made for Israel, and for every use of the house of our God.

12 Isaias 43

3 For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I have given Egypt for thy atonement, Ethiopia and Saba for thee.

13 Ezechiel 45

15 And one ram out of a flock of two hundred, of those that Israel feedeth for sacrifice, and for holocausts, and for peace offerings, to make atonement for them, saith the Lord God.

14 Malachias 2

13 And this again have you done, you have covered the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and bellowing, so that I have no more a regard to sacrifice, neither do I accept any atonement at your hands.

14 occurrences.

But of course it's the Douay Rheims Old Testament...

 
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Offline Jakub

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #409 on: January 06, 2009, 12:39:44 AM »
And this...

1. Leviticus
The Book of Leviticus, from the English Translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible Online. Lancelot C. L. Brenton 1851
... the Lord. 4 And he shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt-offering as a thing acceptable for him, to make atonement for him. 5 And they shall slay the calf before the Lord; and the sons of Aaron the priests shall bring the ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 102  -  24 Oct 2008  -  195k
2. Numbers
The Book of Numbers, from the English Translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible Online. Lancelot C. L. Brenton 1851
... to make satisfaction for his trespass to him, the trespass-offering paid to the Lord shall be for the priest, besides the ram of atonement, by which he shall make atonement with it for him. 9 And every first-fruits in all the sanctified things among the children ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 36  -  24 Oct 2008  -  272k
3. Jezekiel
The Book of Jezekiel, from the English Translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible Online. Lancelot C. L. Brenton 1851
... horns of the altar, and upon the four corners of the propitiatory, and upon the base round about, and they shall make atonement for it. 21 And they shall take the calf of the sin-offering, and it shall be consumed by fire in the separate ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 20  -  24 Oct 2008  -  304k
4. Exodus
The Book of Exodus, from the English Translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible Online. Lancelot C. L. Brenton 1851
... fire, nor a sacrifice; and thou shalt not pour a drink-offering upon it. 10 And once in the year Aaron shall make atonement on its horns, he shall purge it with the blood of purification for their generations: it is most holy to the Lord ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 8  -  24 Oct 2008  -  250k
5. Sirach
The Book of Sirach, from the English Translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible Online. Lancelot C. L. Brenton 1851
... father honour over the children, and hath confirmed the authority of the mother over the sons. 3 Whoso honoureth his father maketh an atonement for his sins: 4 And he that honoureth his mother is as one that layeth up treasure. 5 Whoso honoureth his father ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 4  -  24 Oct 2008  -  253k
6. Chronicles I
The Book of First Chronicles, from the English Translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible Online. Lancelot C. L. Brenton 1851
... the altar of whole-burnt-offerings, and on the altar of incense, for all the ministry in the holy of holies, and to make atonement for Israel, according to all things that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded. 50 And these are the sons of Aaron ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 4  -  24 Oct 2008  -  180k
7. Ambacum
The Book of Ambacum, from the English Translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible Online. Lancelot C. L. Brenton 1851
... mound, and take possession of it. 11 Then shall he change his spirit, and he shall pass through, and make an atonement, saying, This strength belongs to my god. 12 Art not thou from the beginning, O Lord God, my Holy ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 3  -  24 Oct 2008  -  20k
8. Nehemiah
The Book of Nehemiah, from the English Translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible Online. Lancelot C. L. Brenton 1851
... of the sabbaths, of the new moon, for the feast, and for the holy things, and the sin-offerings, to make atonement for Israel, and for the works of the house of our God. 34 And we cast lots for the office of wood-bearing ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 3  -  24 Oct 2008  -  88k
9. Kings II
The Book of Second Kings, from the English Translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible Online. Lancelot C. L. Brenton 1851
... Israel and Juda.) 3 And David said to the Gabaonites, What shall I do to you? and wherewithal shall I make atonement, that ye may bless the inheritance of the Lord? 4 And the Gabaonites said to him, We have no question about ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 2  -  24 Oct 2008  -  165k
10. Kings I
The Book of First Kings, from the English Translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible Online. Lancelot C. L. Brenton 1851
... away empty, but by all means render to it an offering for the plague; and then shall ye be healed, and an atonement shall be made for you: should not his hand be thus stayed from off you? 4 And they say, What is ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 2  -  24 Oct 2008  -  187k
11. Daniel
The Book of Daniel, from the English Translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible Online. Lancelot C. L. Brenton 1851
... holy city, for sin to be ended, and to seal up transgressions, and to blot out the iniquities, and to make atonement for iniquities, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal the vision and the prophet, and to anoint the Most ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 2  -  24 Oct 2008  -  123k
12. Chronicles II
The Book of Second Chronicles, from the English Translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible Online. Lancelot C. L. Brenton 1851
... hands upon them. 24 And the priests slew them, and offered their blood as a propitiation on the altar; and they made atonement for all Israel: for the king said, The whole-burnt-offering, and the sin-offering are for all Israel. 25 And he stationed ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 2  -  27 Nov 2008  -  206k
13. Psalms
The Book of Psalms, from the English Translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible Online. Lancelot C. L. Brenton 1851
... And they provoked him with their devices; 29 and destruction, was multiplied among them. 30 Then Phinees stood up, and made atonement: and the plague ceased. 31 And it was counted to him for righteousness, to all generations for ever. 32 They ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 2  -  24 Oct 2008  -  429k
14. II Maccabees
The Book of Two Maccabees, from the English Translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible Online. Lancelot C. L. Brenton 1851
... to Heliodorus by the Jews, offered a sacrifice for the health of the man. 33 Now as the high priest was making an atonement, the same young men in the same clothing appeared and stood beside Heliodorus, saying, Give Onias the high priest great thanks ...
Terms matched: 1  -  Score: 2  -  24 Oct 2008  -  134k
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #410 on: January 06, 2009, 12:51:30 AM »
Jakub,
The word translated as "atonement" here is "ilasmos", it means
"reconciliation/to make acceptable"
So if that's what you mean by "atonement" (the word invented in the 16th century) then fine. In fact, that was the original meaning of the word (literally "at one-ment", i.e., to cause two things to be "at one" or "in harmony").
But here's how the Webster Dictionary defines "atonement" today:

Quote
atone·ment
Pronunciation:
    \ə-ˈtōn-mənt\
Function:
    noun
Date:
    1513

1: obsolete : reconciliation
2: the reconciliation of God and humankind through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ
3: reparation for an offense or injury : satisfaction
4Christian Science : the exemplifying of human oneness with God

(Source)

See the problem? The original meaning of the word "atonement" which was invented to translate "ilasmos" into English is now obsolete, and it now means "reparation for an offense or injury : satisfaction"

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Offline Jakub

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #411 on: January 06, 2009, 01:40:08 AM »
"reparation for an offense or injury"... my view also

An old timer is a man who's had a lot of interesting experiences -- some of them true.

Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #412 on: January 06, 2009, 01:52:41 AM »
Is anybody able to provide any cogent and scholarly Orthodox work which supports the teaching of substitutionary atonement as the consensus teaching of the Fathers and which is able to show that it has been a consistent teaching through the history of the Church? 

As noted by the Protestant scholar Jones *, in Orthodoxy  "discussions of substitutionary atonement and propitiation are virtually absent from their published explanations of salvation."  This is an undeniable fact - the Orthodox have really no interest in substitutionary atonement, and won't be drawn onto a doctrine whiuch has been absent from the tradition of the Church since the beginning.

The make or break point for this doctrine is  - somebody would need to provide convincing evidence that the Orthodox have taught substitutionary atonement throught the centuries.

Many thanks.

http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/frag_salv.aspx



Is this even the point?  Is someone actually trying to assert that substitutionary atonement theory is the definitive teaching of the Church, or that the teaching is merely a permitted theologumen based on a reading of the Gospel and Epistles?  If we're arguing that it is merely a permitted concept, then you would have to argue against it NOT that it's not the consensus teaching of the Church but that the Church has formally condemned the teaching as heresy.
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #413 on: January 06, 2009, 04:33:46 AM »
"reparation for an offense or injury"... my view also
I know. And I know this is the current Roman Catholic and Protestant understanding of "atonement". It's just not the view of the Eastern Fathers of the Orthodox Church, nor does it stand up to Biblical analysis, nor does it stand up to linguistics.
The Biblical word "ilasmos" does not mean "reparation for an offense or injury". It's meaning is more along the lines of "to reconcile"/"to make peace"/"to make acceptable (to God through sanctification)". The King James originally translated the word "ilasmos" as "reconciliation". For example, Hebrews 2:17 in the original Koine reads:
Quote
"οθεν ωφειλεν κατα παντα τοις αδελφοις ομοιωθηναι ινα ελεημων γενηται και πιστος αρχιερευς τα προς τον θεον εις το ιλασκεσθαι τας αμαρτιας του λαου"
Whatever "ilasmos" means, the words in bold above ("eis to ilaskesthai tas amartias tou laou"), mean something along the lines of "that He might ilasmos-ize the sins (literally "missings of the mark"/"failures") of the people."

The King James originally translated this verse as:
Quote
"Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people."
The New King James translates this as:
Quote
"Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people."
The New International Version translates it as:
Quote
"For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people."
See the evolution? Originally the word "atonement" coined by William Tyndale to translate "ilasmos" meant "to reconcile", "to cause two things to be at one" (literally "at one-ment"). The original KJV had the same meaning by translating the word "ilasmos" as "reconciliation". As time passed, this original meaning of "at one-ment", meaning "reconciliation" began to change, so that its original meaning is now obsolete as noted in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary of the English Language:
Quote
atone·ment
Pronunciation:
    \ə-ˈtōn-mənt\
Function:
    noun
Date:
    1513

1: obsolete : reconciliation

2: the reconciliation of God and humankind through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ
3: reparation for an offense or injury : satisfaction
4Christian Science : the exemplifying of human oneness with God
(Source)
So, the original meaning of the word "atonement" came to mean what it does today: "reparation for an offense or injury : satisfaction"
But this isn't what the word "atonement" was originally coined to mean when it was invented to translate the Biblical word "ilasmos".

« Last Edit: January 06, 2009, 07:32:01 AM by ozgeorge »
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Offline ignatius

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #414 on: January 06, 2009, 05:21:08 PM »
One of the big questions we have to ask ourselves is... In What Sense is Christ "Made to Be Sin for Us"?
I've answered it on this thread. Some people just don't like my answer.

Could you just give me the post # then and I'll find it myself? Thanks.
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Offline Jakub

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #415 on: January 06, 2009, 09:59:03 PM »
From the Rheims...


17 Wherefore it behoved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might become a merciful and faithful priest before God, that he might be a propitiation for the sins of the people.

I understand your point...
An old timer is a man who's had a lot of interesting experiences -- some of them true.

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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #416 on: January 07, 2009, 07:00:03 PM »
I understand your point...

Seriously, you have no idea how much that means to me Jakub. Thank you.
I honestly don't care if people disagree with me and can explain why they do, but to have what I say understood and to have the fact that I'm understood shown by means of a recapitulation means more to me than being right.
Again, thanks.
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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #417 on: January 11, 2009, 12:19:21 AM »
I may have this wrong so bear with me...

What you are saying is that the empahsis of the Orthodox position is of the game itself, that Christ is breaking us away from our hand with the devil but not only that, defeats the devil at his own game. The oppsite of course, and perhaps what you are arguing against is the emphasis ont he debt we owe in the frst place rather then our involvement in the game.
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Offline ignatius

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #418 on: January 16, 2009, 10:56:46 AM »
I may have this wrong so bear with me...

What you are saying is that the empahsis of the Orthodox position is of the game itself, that Christ is breaking us away from our hand with the devil but not only that, defeats the devil at his own game. The oppsite of course, and perhaps what you are arguing against is the emphasis ont he debt we owe in the frst place rather then our involvement in the game.

I believe what Orthodoxy is ultimately saying is that the 'true' belief is simply 'deeper' than such a crude theory.
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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #419 on: January 16, 2009, 04:44:33 PM »
My whole point is that atonement need not be equated with "penal satisfaction."  Please show me where the two must be synonymous, if I am indeed mistaken.  Atonement, rather, has always been a "making up for that which is lacking," as it were, a supplement to our shortcomings so that we can partake of the presence of God -- not because God couldn't stand for us to be in His presence or because He needs it, but because He's set it up this way for us to be cleansed from sin and death through Life and Love.  Expiation instead of propitiation, in other words.
David, the original meaning of "atonement" is none of what you have described, and I actually have no problem with the original meaning of the word, however I do have a problem with how the word has come to be understood. Look in any dictionary and the first definition of "atonement" is "expiation" ie, "amends made for an injury or a wrong". This is evident from the the use of the verb "to atone".
The original meaning of the word "atonement" was actually "harmonising". As I understand, it was first used in the 16th century, and it has an English etymology, literally: "at one-ment" (to cause two or more things to be "at one"). This is an excellent description of our reconciliation to God. However this is not what the word "atonement" means now (as any dictionary will describe). It now means "  Amends or reparation made for an injury or wrong; expiation."  Where did this "alternate" meaning for a word which originally meant "harmonising" come from?

So, after many days and much thinking about your points, I think I have two things to ask. 

Are you you, in fact, saying that the word atonement is not so much what you have an issue with as much as what it has come to be interpreted to mean?  Because if this is the case, I think we're much closer than you may be giving me credit for (and, in fact, we may be on the same page).  I in no way think that "substitutionary atonement" means that Christ was making "amends or reparation" to the Father or anyone else.  So I agree that the current, largely western definition of the word is wrong.  Ιλασμος is most definitely better translated as "reconciliation," hence my words above that Christ is "making up for that which is lacking" in our fallen nature, thus harmonizing it with His Father.  I know you don't like the "making up for that which is lacking" language, but bear with me, please.  What I mean is this: The very fact that our human nature was not harmonized -- or ιλασμος-ized, as you put it -- with God is itself what I mean when I refer to "what was lacking," seeing as we speak of αμαρτια as an ontological "missing of the mark," or "shortcoming" instead of a legal transgression of a moral code that somehow needed to be rectified.  This being the case, Christ thus recapitulated our human nature by dying and rising again with it, for our benefit, because our own deaths would have been insufficient to recapitulate anything, in and of themselves.  Thus, a substitution for us moribund creatures in order to reconcile and "harmonize" (or "atone") said creatures with the Father.

Secondly, is it really necessary to insist that a word be jettisoned or pushed aside because of a prominent, contemporary definition?  If the word for ιλασμος -- "atonement" -- has undergone a change in commonly accepted meaning today, how much more should we hold suspect the word for, say, αναμνησιν -- commonly translated as "memory" or "remembrance" in Lk. 22:19?  Merriam Webster defines the words thus:

Quote from: Merriam Webster
    mem·o·ry
Pronunciation:
    \ˈmem-rē, ˈme-mə-\
Function:
    noun
Inflected Form(s):
    plural mem·o·ries
Etymology:
    Middle English memorie, from Anglo-French memoire, memorie, from Latin memoria, from memor mindful; akin to Old English gemimor well-known, Greek mermēra care, Sanskrit smarati he remembers
Date:
    14th century

1 a: the power or process of reproducing or recalling what has been learned and retained especially through associative mechanisms b: the store of things learned and retained from an organism's activity or experience as evidenced by modification of structure or behavior or by recall and recognition2 a: commemorative remembrance <erected a statue in memory of the hero> b: the fact or condition of being remembered <days of recent memory>3 a: a particular act of recall or recollection b: an image or impression of one that is remembered <fond memories of her youth> c: the time within which past events can be or are remembered <within the memory of living men>4 a: a device (as a chip) or a component of a device in which information especially for a computer can be inserted and stored and from which it may be extracted when wanted ; especially : ram b: capacity for storing information <512 megabytes of memory>5: a capacity for showing effects as the result of past treatment or for returning to a former condition —used especially of a material (as metal or plastic)


re·mem·brance
Pronunciation:
    \ri-ˈmem-brən(t)s also -bə-rən(t)s\
Function:
    noun
Date:
    14th century

1: the state of bearing in mind2 a: the ability to remember : memory b: the period over which one's memory extends3: an act of recalling to mind4: a memory of a person, thing, or event5 a: something that serves to keep in or bring to mind : reminder b: commemoration , memorial c: a greeting or gift recalling or expressing friendship or affection

There's not even a hint of an archaic or obsolete definition here that refers to what the Orthodox see αναμνησιν to mean: namely, a participation in something that was performed.  Yet, during the Anaphora, after the priest has chanted our Lord's command to "Take, eat..." and "Drink, ye, all of this..." and the faithful have given the "Amen," he still chants quietly that we have in remembrance this saving commandment -- along with the Second Coming, among other things, which hasn't even happened yet, chronologically speaking -- so we can't say that we just "call to mind" these things but rather that, in uniting with the ministry of the Cherubim and Seraphim we are witnesses and participants of the things we re-member, or call together again.

Nevertheless, we still use the word "remembrance" to translate αναμνησιν, in spite of the commonly held definition by most Protestants.  I fail to see why your similar reasoning should hold water with regards to ιλασμος and "atonement."

I disagree with your definition of "atoning", and therefore I disagree with your understanding of what Christ's Blood has done for us. Yes, His Blood is the only source of Life for us, but It was not shed to make up what was lacking in our fallen state.

Back to this.  I would, I think, posit that the lack evidenced in human nature post-lapse (as attested to by St. Athanasius above) was rather the consequence instead of the principal motivation behind Christ's harrowing of hell.  Consider: Christ's primary objective was to "beat the deceiver at his own game," as it were, and tear down its gates.  Well and good.  Through His divine condescension and price which He paid for us -- His blood, according to St. Paul -- He was able to do us, for His blood was spilled, He gave all He was and is for us (as per your apt mentioning of sacrifice in an agrarian society), and Hades, having grabbed for a man, found God.  Wonderful.  By spilling out His Life He was thus able to die and destroy Hades.

What, then, is the result for us?  He rises, glorified and incorruptible, in the body, and it is in this glorification and incorruptibility that we are meant to share.  By His becoming the Firstfruits of the Resurrection, He has, in His own body, restored the Life that was lacking and will share that Life with us.  How are we to have His Life on the last Day?  By eating His Body and drinking His Blood, as well as taking up our own crosses and becoming Bread for the world even as He did (keeping His commandments, in other words).

So, then, by consuming the elements that were given for us and by participating in the life to which they call us, we have the Life in us (a seed of immortality, as it were) which was lacking in our fallen state.

And just one more thing David: where in the Eastern Orthodox Liturgy is the word "atonement" used?
Better yet, where does the word appear before Tyndale, 1524?
Even better yet, why is this even important?
Because Scripture and Tradition existed for one and a half milennia before the word "atonement" was invented by a Protestant Reformer.

Ah, but...Scripture and Tradition existed for hundreds of years before any English words appeared on the scene, no?  And when "atonement" was invented it was originally understood correctly, no?  The final argument here -- that we were just fine without it for a long time -- doesn't hold water.

Regardless, with regard to your original question, the word ιλασμος, as perfectly acceptable and biblical a word though it may be, is nowhere in the Divine Liturgy, either in Greek or in English, as far as I can tell.  It is, however, found in Vespers, when we quote the psalmist as saying, "ἐὰν ἀνομίας παρατηρήσῃ κύριε κύριε τίς ὑποστήσεται / ὅτι παρὰ σοὶ ὁ ἱλασμός ἐστιν."  You probably won't like this, George, but the OCA Diocese of the South translation of v. 4 is "with Thee there is propitiation."  Regardless, there it is, in our services: there is atonement with our God, for He does not mark iniquities.

And, further, even if the word atonement were nowhere represented in our divine services, I would fail to see why it therefore could not be used.  Where is the word "patience" or υπομονη, in the same?  Are we all called to be impatient because this, sole criterion is not met?  Surely not, as the word is very commonly used throughout the Holy Scriptures, as is ιλασμος.

Thank you for your υπομονη  ;) in awaiting (and, no doubt, reading) this lengthy and tardy reply.
Priest in the Orthodox Church in America - ordained on March 18, 2012

Oh Taste and See (my defunct blog)

From Protestant to Orthodox (my conversion story)

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #420 on: January 16, 2009, 05:52:17 PM »
Prodromas, I thought your question better answered here on this concurrent thread, so I moved it there.

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Offline lubeltri

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #421 on: January 16, 2009, 09:33:12 PM »
From the Rheims...


17 Wherefore it behoved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might become a merciful and faithful priest before God, that he might be a propitiation for the sins of the people.

That's the Bishop Challoner edition (18th century).

The original translation of the verse (Douay, 1582---29 years before the Authorized Version/King James) is thus:

Whereupon he ought in all things to be like unto his brethren: that he might become a merciful and faithful high Priest before God, that he might repropitiate the sins of the people.

-

I just consulted the Oxford English Dictionary. Here's the entry:

repropitiate, v. (and pa. pple.)

rare.

To make propitiation for (a thing or person) again; to restore to favour.

1582 N.T. (Rhem.) Heb. ii. 17 That he might repropitiate the sinnes of the people.

1617 BP. ANDREWES 96 Serm., Holy Ghost x. (1629) 708 Accepted to repropitiation, that is ἱλασμός, to as good grace, and favour as ever. Ibid., [Absalom was] repropitiate, when he was admitted to the king's presence and kissed him.


--------

Interestingly, the word propitiation first comes into English at the end of the 14th century in John Wycliffe's English Bible:

Leviticus 25:9: Thou schalt sowne with a clarioun in the seuenthe monethe, in the tenthe dai of the monethe, in the tyme of propiciacioun, that is, merci, in al youre lond.

It had the meaning of "mercy."

Here's Hebrews 2:17 in the Wycliffe Bible:

Wherfor he ouyte to be likned to britheren bi alle thingis, that he schulde be maad merciful and a feithful bischop to God, that he schulde be merciful to the trespassis of the puple.


Offline MCE

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #422 on: May 01, 2009, 01:20:02 PM »
the word atonement doesn't have to be present, for the concept it expresses to be present.
consider the word "Trinity," not in the Bible and even the term homoiousios, which was also not Biblical per se, but the latter despite this objection by some Fathers, was incl. in the Creed, because it most correctly and concisely expressed the ideas taught in the Scripture and the earlier Fathers.

Likewise, arguing over the word atonement is not really helpful.

Rather, is there evidence of a payment of debt, of righting a wrong, of balancing the scales of justice so to speak, in Scripture and in The Fathers, regarding Christ's death on the Cross?

And is there a focus on the Cross, all else revolving around it?

The answer to both questions is YES.

As for harrowing hell, Christ being God could have done this at any time without Incarnating.

ONLY the ability to die was gained, not the ability to go anywhere. David says in one of the psalms, "though I make my bed in hell, there will Your Spirit find me"
(pardon any imprecision of words, I don't have the text in front of me).

The real reason Orthodox don't believe the penal satisfaction theory, is twofold.
First, they have been hammered for generations since the 1800s, that is it not Orthodox.

Secondly, the version presented is usually a twisted version.

Third, the flesh doesn't like the idea of divine justice. This may indeed show a lack of repentance as one Orthodox person suggested.

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #423 on: May 01, 2009, 01:51:06 PM »
consider the word "Trinity," not in the Bible and even the term homoiousios, which was also not Biblical per se, but the latter despite this objection by some Fathers, was incl. in the Creed, because it most correctly and concisely expressed the ideas taught in the Scripture and the earlier Fathers.
CORRECTION:  I believe the word you want here is homoousios, which means "of the same essence".  Your inclusion of that one iota has grave consequences to our theology in that it changes the meaning of the word to "of like or similar essence", which ends up making our Trinitarian theology polytheistic.
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Offline MCE

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #424 on: May 01, 2009, 01:52:54 PM »
ozgeorge:
Jakub,
The word translated as "atonement" here is "ilasmos", it means
"reconciliation/to make acceptable"
So if that's what you mean by "atonement" (the word invented in the 16th century) then fine. In fact, that was the original meaning of the word (literally "at one-ment", i.e., to cause two things to be "at one" or "in harmony").
But here's how the Webster Dictionary defines "atonement" today:

Quote

atone·ment
Pronunciation:
    \ə-ˈtōn-mənt\
Function:
    noun
Date:
    1513

1: obsolete : reconciliation
2: the reconciliation of God and humankind through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ
3: reparation for an offense or injury : satisfaction
4Christian Science : the exemplifying of human oneness with God

(Source)

See the problem? The original meaning of the word "atonement" which was invented to translate "ilasmos" into English is now obsolete, and it now means "reparation for an offense or injury : satisfaction"

But there is no conflict here. Can you not see, that the making of propitiation or whatever you now define atonement as meaning, is merely the MEANS by which we are made acceptable, brought back into fellowship with God, reconciled to God? In this argument about eliasmos vs. modern
def. of atonement, there is merely a shift of focus from the entire process detail and results included, to the issue of what the detail or details were that resulted in the effect. Making things right is a term that includes means
and results.

Offline MCE

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #425 on: May 01, 2009, 01:56:41 PM »
The iota, yes, you are quite correct, I apologize for the error. I forgot which of the two similar words was the right one, it should have been homoousios, without that iota.

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #426 on: May 01, 2009, 08:07:37 PM »
ozgeorge:
Jakub,
The word translated as "atonement" here is "ilasmos", it means
"reconciliation/to make acceptable"
So if that's what you mean by "atonement" (the word invented in the 16th century) then fine. In fact, that was the original meaning of the word (literally "at one-ment", i.e., to cause two things to be "at one" or "in harmony").
But here's how the Webster Dictionary defines "atonement" today:

Quote

atone·ment
Pronunciation:
    \ə-ˈtōn-mənt\
Function:
    noun
Date:
    1513

1: obsolete : reconciliation
2: the reconciliation of God and humankind through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ
3: reparation for an offense or injury : satisfaction
4Christian Science : the exemplifying of human oneness with God

(Source)

See the problem? The original meaning of the word "atonement" which was invented to translate "ilasmos" into English is now obsolete, and it now means "reparation for an offense or injury : satisfaction"

But there is no conflict here. Can you not see, that the making of propitiation or whatever you now define atonement as meaning, is merely the MEANS by which we are made acceptable, brought back into fellowship with God, reconciled to God? In this argument about eliasmos vs. modern
def. of atonement, there is merely a shift of focus from the entire process detail and results included, to the issue of what the detail or details were that resulted in the effect. Making things right is a term that includes means
and results.
MCE, just a hint for you to do with as you like...  Using the "Quote" link at the top of every post is a much more efficient way to quote someone else's post than the copy-and-paste method you appear to be using.  The "Quote" function does the "copy-and-paste" automatically, and it makes your final post much easier to read with its clear separation of quoted text from original text.  Just a thought... :)
« Last Edit: May 01, 2009, 08:08:15 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline MCE

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #427 on: May 01, 2009, 08:41:43 PM »
thanks, i couldn't figure out why everybody else's quotes were in a gray box, and mine were indistinguishable from the rest of my post.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #428 on: December 27, 2009, 02:56:11 AM »
I came across this last night when reading St. Athanasius of Alexandria's De Incarnatione Verbi Dei:

Quote
Thus, taking a body like our own, because all our bodies were liable to the corruption of death, He surrendered His body to death in place of all, and offered it to the Father. - Chapter 1, Section 8.

The last bit through me for a loop.  Aren't we supposed to understand the "offering" aspect of Christ to ransom Satan and death, and not see the sacrifice as an offering to the Father?  Or is it just that it is not to appease God the Father's wrath?  Is it completely Orthodox to say that Christ offered his body as a sacrifice to the Father?

The liturgical prayers read thus during the Anaphora:

Quote
Thine own of Thine own we offer unto Thee on behalf of all and for all.

Does this teach us that Christ's sacrifice is being offered to God the Father at each liturgy?  If the offering is made for our sins to God the Father, then why does God demand this sacrifice?

I'm sure that Christ being offered as a sacrifice for our sins is apparent throughout the New Testament, but do the Holy Scriptures clearly state that Christ was offered as a sacrifice to the Father?

Forgive me if I am missing something obvious here, but it's very difficult for me to understand the differences between the Western notions of "atonement" and the Eastern notions of "reconciliation" in the proper sense.  Does Christ "reconcile" us to the Father by offering Himself to the Father for our sins, but just not to appease the Father's anger?  Is the notion of appeasing the Father's anger or offense the main difference?
« Last Edit: December 27, 2009, 02:58:08 AM by Alveus Lacuna »

Offline MCE

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #429 on: December 27, 2009, 04:05:33 AM »
I came across this last night when reading St. Athanasius of Alexandria's De Incarnatione Verbi Dei:

Quote
Thus, taking a body like our own, because all our bodies were liable to the corruption of death, He surrendered His body to death in place of all, and offered it to the Father. - Chapter 1, Section 8.

The last bit through me for a loop.  Aren't we supposed to understand the "offering" aspect of Christ to ransom Satan and death, and not see the sacrifice as an offering to the Father?  Or is it just that it is not to appease God the Father's wrath?  Is it completely Orthodox to say that Christ offered his body as a sacrifice to the Father?

REPLY: NOW you are getting the picture. A false notion rejecting
this core truth you are discovering, has been promulgated from
19th Century Russia to much of the Orthodox world. That invention
itself was the product of men who, though churchmen, were
personally steeped in liberal philosophies. (specifically, Khomiakov,
who created an Orthodox version of German Idealism, and Met.
Anthony Khrapovitsky, see
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/substitutionary_atonement_in_orthodoxy

Naturally by now, you will have heard it from priests who heard
it from priests. But track it all back far enough, and you have
Khomiakov and Khrapovitsky.

Ever hear of the Council of Blachernae-Constantinople of AD 1156?
In response to a misunderstanding, that Christ was sacrificed to
The Father ALONE, the specification was made that Christ's
sacrifice, to The Father, was received not only by The Father but
by The Son and The Holy Spirit.

And the idea that Christ paid a ransom to satan was correctly
denounced as a monstrous idea by St. Gregory Nazianzen, who
said that The Father received the sacrifice of Christ as part of
the divine economy. (I might add, that ransom or redemption
can also be accomplished by brute force rescue from one who
holds someone prisoner. And, Christ beat up and crippled the
devil and his forces in hell while still dead before The Resurrection.
And, to make Christ out to have paid off satan, is to blasphemously
suggest that Christ made a sacrifice to the devil and was therefore
a devil worshipper, an apostate, a sacrificer to a demon and to
a false god, things explicitly PROHIBITED. No, it was the
sacrifice to God that annulled our debt for which reason we were
excluded to the tundra so to speak, from which Christ came and
took the dead back who were willing to go with Him. In the West
this is known in art as The Harrowing of Hell.)

The liturgical prayers read thus during the Anaphora:

Quote
Thine own of Thine own we offer unto Thee on behalf of all and for all.

Does this teach us that Christ's sacrifice is being offered to God the Father at each liturgy? 

REPLY: It is not a re-sacrifice over and over, but a making present
now, plugging into Eternity, what occurred once and for all back
then. But yes, you got the idea. And you are eating Christ's flesh
and blood, not the mystical body the church extension of Him.

If the offering is made for our sins to God the Father, then why does God demand this sacrifice?

I'm sure that Christ being offered as a sacrifice for our sins is apparent throughout the New Testament, but do the Holy Scriptures clearly state that Christ was offered as a sacrifice to the Father?

REPLY: I think the detailed discussion of Christ's High Priesthood
in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and references to our redemption
in context of the whole Torah and sacrificial system, makes this
pretty obvious, except that YHVH, not so clearly revealed as
Trinity, was the recipient in the OT system, and of course included
preincarnate Christ or YHVH God the Son. Naturally, once Christ
stepped in to clean up the mess man had made, but couldn't
fix, He is priest, victim, sacrifice, and recipient also.



Forgive me if I am missing something obvious here, but it's very difficult for me to understand the differences between the Western notions of "atonement" and the Eastern notions of "reconciliation" in the proper sense.  Does Christ "reconcile" us to the Father by offering Himself to the Father for our sins, but just not to appease the Father's anger?  Is the notion of appeasing the Father's anger or offense the main difference?

The whole Trinity was upset with us, the whole Trinity loves us,
the atonement, the appeasing and also the satisfaction of justice
so that God The Father AND the rest of the Trinity can deal with
us according to love, without compromising their integrity and
self consistency, is an act of supreme love for us and for the rest
of creation.

And the alleged conflict between East and West on this is non
existent. All the features (except for the blasphemous idea of
sacrifice to the devil, which was an invention of the in general
repudiated Origen who, with several heretical notions of his, was
anathematized at the 5th Ecumenical Council (2 Constantinople)
and was rejected long ago, and any modern revival of such a
notion strikes me as the likely result of some slick deception by
some satanist/luciferian philosopher muttering to whoever
started this idea's revival. Gregory of Nyssa seems to have held
some Origenic ideas which were anathematized, and I might
add that I have heard, from a ROCOR priest who was originally
RC, that before the fall Adam and Eve didn't have gross material
physical bodies like we do now, and that is among the ideas
rejected by the 5th Ecumenical Council, which didn't deal with
this idea about Adam and Eve but about stars and other material
things).

Sorry if I sort of ramble, but these are often complex things.

The idea that you can't refer to the Fathers because they aren't
infallible and much hasn't been translated is silly. All you have
to do is check anything with Scripture (as St. Bishop Cyril
of Jerusalem in his catechetical lectures said to do) and with
the dogmatic definitions and anathemas in the Ecumenical
Councils and the Synodikon of Anathemas.

Mary Christine Erikson (OCA, baptismal name Justina)

Offline MCE

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #430 on: December 27, 2009, 04:06:50 AM »
oops, I seem to have somehow mishandled the reply with
quote. in the grey box, where REPLY appears, that is my
answer to the quote and somehow it all got put together.
Sorry.

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #431 on: December 27, 2009, 04:22:04 AM »
The whole Trinity was upset with us, the whole Trinity loves us,
the atonement, the appeasing and also the satisfaction of justice
so that God The Father AND the rest of the Trinity can deal with
us according to love, without compromising their integrity and
self consistency, is an act of supreme love for us and for the rest
of creation.
Western nonsense.
The idea that God needs "appeasing" and "satisfaction" and can't forgive us or deal lovingly with us unless something bleeds to death is an abhorrent pagan myth.
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #432 on: December 27, 2009, 04:39:03 AM »
Western nonsense.
The idea that God needs "appeasing" and "satisfaction" and can't forgive us or deal lovingly with us unless something bleeds to death is an abhorrent pagan myth.

So was God abhorrent when he required sacrifices in the temple for the remission of the sins of the Jews?

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #433 on: December 27, 2009, 06:02:04 AM »
Western nonsense.
The idea that God needs "appeasing" and "satisfaction" and can't forgive us or deal lovingly with us unless something bleeds to death is an abhorrent pagan myth.

So was God abhorrent when he required sacrifices in the temple for the remission of the sins of the Jews?
But isn't it Christ's sacrifice on the Cross that defines for Christians the proper understanding of the sacrifices of the Jewish Temple?
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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #434 on: December 27, 2009, 06:12:56 AM »
I came across this last night when reading St. Athanasius of Alexandria's De Incarnatione Verbi Dei:

Quote
Thus, taking a body like our own, because all our bodies were liable to the corruption of death, He surrendered His body to death in place of all, and offered it to the Father. - Chapter 1, Section 8.

The last bit through me for a loop.  Aren't we supposed to understand the "offering" aspect of Christ to ransom Satan and death, and not see the sacrifice as an offering to the Father?  Or is it just that it is not to appease God the Father's wrath?  Is it completely Orthodox to say that Christ offered his body as a sacrifice to the Father?


The idea of the "Atonement" as a Ransom was repudiated in no uncertain terms by
Gregory Nazianzen (4th century) who said:

"Was it paid to the evil one? Monstrous thought!
The devil receives a ransom not only from God but of God ..
To the Father? But we were not in bondage to him ...
And could the Father delight in the death of his Son?"

(Orationes, 45.22)

Of course salvation can be thought of as a ransom. Following
the Church Fathers, the East teaches that Christ, on the Cross,
gave "His life a ransom for many" (Matt. 20:28), (Mark 10:45).

The "ransom" is paid to the grave. As the Lord revealed to the Prophet Hosea
(Hosea 13:14),
"I will ransom them from the power of the grave, I will redeem them from
death."


In a sense, He pays the ransom to the devil who is the keeper of the grave and
holds the power of death (Heb. 2:14).
"Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity
so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--that
is, the devil."


But despite Gregory's objections above the idea became popular. Saint Gregory
protested that the question of "Who received the payment?" should not be pressed
hard. No matter what debt the Devil was owed it could not possibly have included
God himself. On the other hand, the Father could not have been the recipient of
the ransom, since he was not the one holding us captive. And if the blood of
Isaac had not pleased him, why would he desire the blood of his beloved son?

Saint Gregory sums up: "the Father accepts Christ's sacrifice without having
demanded it; the Son offers it to honour him; and the result is the defeat of
the Evil One. This is as much as we shall say of Christ; the greater portion
shall be reverenced with silence."


Anselm took aim at the exaggerated versions of the ransom theory, but didn't
agree to leave the greater portion to silence. He theorised that the payment
*was* made to God the Father. In Anselm's formulation, our sins were like an
offence against the honour of a mighty ruler. The ruler is not free to simply
forgive the transgression; restitution must be made. (This is a crucial new
element in the story; earlier Christians believed that God the Father did, in
fact, freely forgive us, like the father of the Prodigal Son - that parable
deserves serious thought in connection with this discussion.) No human would be
adequate to pay this debt, so God the Son volunteers to do so. "If the Son chose
to make over the claim He had on God to man, could the Father justly forbid Him
doing so, or refuse to man what the Son willed to give him?" Christ satisfies
our debt in this, the "Satisfaction Theory." Western Christian theology marched
on from that point, encountering controversies and developments and revisions,
but locked on the idea that Christ's death was directed toward the Father. When
Western theologians look back at the centuries before Anselm they can't find his
theory anywhere (well, there are some premonitions in Tertullian and Cyprian,
but it wasn't the mainstream.) And Anselm's ideas which developed when
Christendom had been rent in two remain, still, essentially unknown to the
ancient Churches of the East.

-oOo-

It would seem to be important to establish a vocabulary. After all, if there
are Christians who teach that substitutionary atonement is such bedrock
theology, then there must be a vocabulary connected with it which can be traced
through the writings of the first Christians and through the early centuries of
Church authors and teachers. It is just too vague to write: "this is all the
language of atonement." The Church fathers never had any problems coining words
to convey concepts which they considered important to them - they never did so
in the case of "atonement." If they had such a concept they would have found a
concrete way of expressing it.

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #435 on: December 27, 2009, 06:16:34 AM »
But isn't it Christ's sacrifice on the Cross that defines for Christians the proper understanding of the sacrifices of the Jewish Temple?
Only if you're an Evangelical nutbag.
Or worship Kali.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2009, 06:17:05 AM by ozgeorge »
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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #436 on: December 27, 2009, 06:17:02 AM »
There is an interesting essay "Salvation By Christ: A Response to Credenda /
Agenda on Orthodoxy's Teaching of Theosis and the Doctrine of Salvation
,"
by Carmen Fragapane.

http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/frag_salv.aspx

Carmen Fragapane writes:

"...In EH Jones writes that in Orthodoxy "discussions of substitutionary
atonement and propitiation are virtually absent from their published
explanations of salvation. 

[It is absent from Bishop Kallistos Ware's The Orthodox Church]

"... the notion that redemption should be rigidly interpreted in one
particular way is itself foreign to early Christian thought: "The seven
ecumenical councils avoided defining salvation through any [one model]
alone. No universal Christian consensus demands that one view of salvation
includes or excludes all others" .

J.N.D. Kelly further explains:

"Scholars have often despaired of discovering any single unifying
thought in the Patristic teaching about the redemption. These various theories,
however, despite appearances, should not be regarded as in fact mutually
incompatible. They were all of them attempts to elucidate the same great
truth from different angles; their superficial divergences are often due to
the different Biblical images from which they started, and there is no
logical reason why, carefully stated, they should not be regarded as
complimentary". And this is precisely what we find in Orthodoxy: "While
insisting in this way upon the unity of Christ's saving economy, the
Orthodox Church has never formally endorsed any particular theory of
atonement. The Greek Fathers, following the New Testament, employ a rich
variety of images to describe what the Savior has done for us. These models
are not mutually exclusive; on the contrary, each needs to be balanced by
the others. Five models stand out in particular: teacher, sacrifice, ransom,
victory and participation" ..."


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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #437 on: December 27, 2009, 06:28:56 AM »

Mary Christine Erikson (OCA, baptismal name Justina)

This lady is a recent convert to Orthodoxy and has spent probably a year and more literally bombarding the Orthodox e-lists with the Protestant teaching of penal substitutionary atonement.

Priest after priest has attempted to reason with her on the Orthodox lists and forums.  All to no avail.   Her messages can become intemperate and even obscene and she has ended up being banned from every Orthodox list she has been writing on.

I am sorry to write so bluntly but the warning should be put out there.

If anyone is interested, when Justina was shown the door on the Orthodox lists, she created her own Yahoo list to push penal substitutionary atonement onto Orthodoxy
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/substitutionary_atonement_in_orthodoxy/

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #438 on: December 27, 2009, 06:35:09 AM »

Mary Christine Erikson (OCA, baptismal name Justina)

Naughty MCE !!  :laugh: :-* ::)  I just had a look at your profile and you *are* Mary Christine Erikson (OCA, baptismal name Justina), come to teach us about penal substitutionary atonement !! 

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #439 on: December 27, 2009, 06:48:59 AM »


Your brother, Dan-Romania

You have been banned previously, which means you are not permitted to post anywhere on OC.net, even under a different user name.

+FrChris
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« Last Edit: December 27, 2009, 04:03:48 PM by FrChris »

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #440 on: December 27, 2009, 09:35:58 AM »
Christ sacrifice was for God, to accomplish God`s righteouss.It`s the ultimate act wich shows us that God is all-righteous, and a Just Judge, not only this , but All-Loving and All-Mercifull. God could of redeemed us in any way , but He chose to satisfy the Divine Justice. He is Almighty He could of done it in any way.Splendid says the Apostle : God was in Jesus reconciliating the world with Himself.God judged Himself for our sins and took the sins of humanity upon Himself.For He became sin , the one who knew no sins so that we could became sinless through Him.So Jesus' sacrifice was for our atonement, cause "He took all our infirmities and all our inquities , our wicknesses and our sickness upon Himself"(from Esaias, Isaiah 53).It was the sacrifice for the accomplishment of God`s Justice.Cause He took all our sins upon Himself the sins of humanity and the handwritting that was contrary to us in wich all the sins of humanity were accounted and nailed it on the cross.For God DIED , consider this, imagine this , this was the judgement and the offering so it would satisfy the Judgement, he took the sins of humanity and judged Himself for them and Died Himself for all our sins, God Almighty, died for us.This is the sacrifice of great and splendid odure , the sacrifice of Justice.The sacrifice of Christs stands as testimony for God`s justice a testimony for all the prosecutors and the acusors , the Devil and the Angels.
Roman Catholic nonsense.
If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #441 on: December 27, 2009, 11:18:52 AM »
But isn't it Christ's sacrifice on the Cross that defines for Christians the proper understanding of the sacrifices of the Jewish Temple?
Only if you're an Evangelical nutbag.
Or worship Kali.

Care to expound on this thought?

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #442 on: December 27, 2009, 02:41:05 PM »
Care to expound on this thought?

Have you actually read what I have been saying on this thread for over two years? I'm pretty sure I have been exponding on it for over two years....or perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps I missed something. Have a read and let me know:

The question it asks is: "To whom is the ransom paid?"
It cannot be paid to God, since God was not holding us to ransom because of our sins. We were enslaved to Death and the Devil by our sins, and to say that Christ paid a ransom to death and the Devil to liberate us is ludicrous.

Or, another possibility is that "ransom" is a metaphor, and is not to be taken literally.

St. Gregory the Theologian, Second Oration on Pascha

"To whom was that Blood offered that was shed for us, and why was it shed? I mean the precious and famous Blood of our God and High Priest and Sacrifice. We were detained in bondage by the evil one, sold under sin, and received pleasure in exchange for wickedness. Now, since a ransom belongs only to him who holds in bondage, I ask, to who was this offered and to what cause? If to the evil one, fie upon the outrage! The robber receives ransom, not only from God, but a ransom which consists of God Himself, and as such has an illustrious payment for his tyranny, a payment for whose sake it would have been right for him to have left us alone all together.
But first I ask, how? For it was not by Him (God) that we were being oppressed. And next, on what principle did the Blood of His only Begotten Son delight the Father, Who would not receive even Isaac when he was being offered by his father, but changed the sacrifice, putting a ram in place of a human victim? Is it not evident that the Father accepts Him, but neither asked for Him nor demanded Him; but on account of the Incarnation, and because Humanity must be sanctified by the Humanity of God, that He might deliver us Himself and overcome the tryant, and draw us to Himself by the mediation of His Son, Who also arranged this to the honour of the Father, Whom it is manifest that He obeys in all things."


I would not wish to say that any of the bibilical motifs for understanding the cross are metaphorical; mysteries that we can't fully comprehend? Yes. Metaphors, No.
So, again, I ask, to whom was the ransom paid if it is a literal ransom? As St. Gregory says, the one who held us in bondage is the evil one, so did he receive the ransom?
The problem with viewing terms like "ransom" and "atonement" too literally is that doing so imprisons God. Basically, it means God cannot forgive sin unless an atonement is made or a ransom paid.

This is the way I view it. The ransom (Christ)is the bait. When Christ offers himself sinless to the devil, the devil didn't know he had a sinless example of a human. the devil took the bait and was bound by doing it. Death was overcome by a sinless example. This is clearly seen when one sees that death is the consequence for sin.

I agree. It was a case of deceiving the deceiver. And in the Orthodox Church, we commemorate this on Holy Saturday:

"Today Hades cries out groaning:
I should not have accepted the Man born of Mary.
He came and destroyed my power.
He shattered the gates of brass.
As God. He raised the souls I had held captive.

"Today Hades cries out groaning:
my power has been abolished;
I have received a mortal, as one of the mortals;
but this One, I am completely powerless to contain;
with Him, I have lost all those over which I have ruled. 
For ages I had held them dead;
but behold, He raises them up all.'"



I'm not sure we have any choice but to view the word "ransom" as a metaphor. If we don't view it as a metaphor- then the ransom must be paid to the one who holds in bondage, i.e., the one who holds to ransom, or the one who has enslaved.
Why can't you just accept this instead of making some song and dance about how it is "not a metaphor"? Why is it so important to you that it is not a metaphor?

This is what I don't get.
Any time anyone questions a particular view of soteriology, such as the literal interpretation of Christ as "ransom", they are "convert bashing" or "anti-Western"....Why? 
If a particular doctrinal interpretation has holes in it, it has holes in it if it is "Western", "Eastern", "Northern" or "Southern".
And if it is not the "universally accepted" Western view, then why should someone who is merely questioning it's correctness be accused of being "anti-Western" or "convert bashing"? Do only Western coverts hold these views?

I don't believe it was a ransom paid to the devil or bait put forth to ensnare him.
And I agree with you. All I'm saying is that a literal interpretation of the concept of "ransom" does not permit one to hold this view.
I think that the fact that we were "bought at a price" is a testimony to God's love for us, and it is the way He chose to save us by Divine Economia so that "when I (Christ) am lifted up (on the Cross), I will draw all men to Myself." But I also think that God's infinite love and mercy does not require that a "payment" be made for sin. Christ said: "This is my Blood of the new Covenant which is shed for many to (Gk: "εις") the forgiveness of sin."  To interpret this as saying "in order that sins may be forgiven" in the sense that sins can only be forgiven if someone suffers and dies in "payment" for them or accepts the "punishment" due for them is, in my view, erroneous. Our sins are forgiven because God is merciful, not because He has been paid off like some mafia boss given protection money.

What's important to understand to me is why it appears that much of what is being purported as the "Orthodox view" seems radically inconsistent with what the church has taught in the past. 
I'm not sure that it is radically different from what the Church has taught in the past. What seems radically different is that some view concepts meant as metaphors as meant to be taken literally- something which the Fathers did not do.

It's also important to me to understand why there is a continual need felt by many Orthodox people to continually construct caricatures of the "western view" or to define what they believe in terms of what they oppose in western theology.
I think what they are reacting against is the misinterpretation of metaphors as literal doctrine. The fact is that many today think that "God cannot forgive sin unless something bleeds".  I myself have come accross this many times, not only in my Catholic and Protestant friends, but some Orthodox as well. The fact is that this view is absent in Eastern soteriology, since our salvation came about by the "Divine Economia" of the Incarnation.

was not aware that I am putting forth a "song and dance" here, so much as actually posting writings that are directly related to the topic at hand.
What I am asking is: why is it so important that no one question the literal interpretation of our redemption as being the payment of a ransom? When you said:
Yes, that is the question.
Yet, if what you say is true, there is no ransom.  Yet, clearly there is a ransom that was paid by Christ on our behalf.  But to whom?
It seems to me there is only one possibility.
It seems to me that the words "clearly there is a ransom that was paid by Christ on our behalf"  leaves no room except for a literal interpretation of "ransom" to mean a payment given to God without which He could not forgive our sin. If I misunderstood, I apologise. But if this is what you meant to say, I could not disagree more.

What exactly is absent in "Eastern" soteriology?  Why do we stress "Eastern" so much?

Because Eastern theology has maintained the Orthodox Christian view of redemption. Whereas the "Western" view has been typified by the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas and are different. See:Summa Theologica: Q48 The efficiency of Christ's Passion

I will say I'm thankful my real world experiences in the church are in almost all cases absolutely nothing like what I read online.
That's fine. But you're just going to have to accept the fact that in 40 years as an Orthodox Christian, I have never come across any reference in any Liturgical Service to the "satisfaction" view of redemption. That's my real world experience.

Mina,
You're playing on the word "satisfaction" here.
There is nothing wrong with the Russian theological concept of "satisfying" the Righteousness of God (which is what St. Athanasios is talking about), in fact, this is exactly how Christ redeemed us; that is, by fulfilling the Law: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." (Matthew 5:17). And not only Christ, but we too are required to satisfy God's Righteousness: ".... it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness." (Matthew 3:15).

 But this is vastly different to the Western concept of satisfying God's "Justice" (which is what lubeltri is talking about), where God must extract a payment before He will forgive sin.

Satisfying God's Righteousnes is something we must all strive for, but was fulfilled par excellence by the Theanthropic Christ.

Satisfying God's Justice, however by saying things such as:
To satisfy the divine justice or the divine consistency. It is just that we all die for rejecting God through sin.
makes Death not the natural consequence of sin, but a temporal evil imposed on us by God in retribution for sin. In other words, it makes God the Author of evil. The wages of sin are death, but who is it that "pays" these wages? Is it the God Who swore by His Own Life that He does not desire the death of the sinner but that he should turn and live (Ezekiel 33:11)? I don't think so.

If one wishes to take the judicial view of Redemtion, one has no choice but to aknowledge that the reductio ad absurdum is that God cannot forgive sin unless a penalty for it is paid, and one lays oneself open to the accusations of Atheists that the God one worships doesn't think repentance is sincere enough unless someone has pain and death inflicted on them.



According to St. Athanasius, repentance wasn't enough.  Not only does it not heal the corruption, but also it makes God's word untrue to simply forgive after saying one will "surely die."

But you are assuming that St. Athanasios is taking the judicial view here, and you are reading things into him that he does not say. Where does St. Athanasios say that God cannot forgive sin without the Crucifixion? Forgiving sin is one thing, and redeeming us from death is quite another.

I've said it three times on this thread, and I'll say it again: Death is the natural consequence of sin, not the "penalty" inflicted by God for sin. We will "surely die" for sin just as we will "surely die" if we ingest cyanide, but death is not the "penalty" for ingesting cyanide, it's merely the natural consequence of it. By ingesting cyanide, we corrupt our homeostasis, and this leads to death. Sin also corrupts us and leads to death.

The greatest testimony to the fact that God did not redeem mankind by judicial means is the Harrowing of Hades. It was a rescue mission to save mankind from the natural consequences of sin, just like a paramedic saves a drug addict from the natural consequences of taking an overdose.

Again, we should not put words in RC mouths.  Let's seek to understand them.  Perhaps, all they were affirming all this time was Athanasian theology.
I am listening, and what I am hearing is that unless I take the judicial view of redemption, I am a heretic, and I refuse to accept that.
The denial of any juridical aspect is just plain heterodoxy to me

Well, St. Athanasius says that God cannot merely forgive sin or fix corruption, even though He has that power, it would be "inconsistent" for God to forgive sin without the Incarnation, Human Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ.  So, in the end, St. Athanasius does indeed say that God cannot "forgive sin" without the Incarnation, in addition to redemption of death.

No he doesn't Mina.

Listen to what St. Athanasios actually says:
Quote
"The law of death, which followed from the Transgression, prevailed upon us, and from it there was no escape. The thing that was happening was in truth both monstrous and unfitting. It would, of course, have been unthinkable that God should go back upon His word and that man, having transgressed, should not die ; but it was equally monstrous that beings which once had shared the nature of the Word should perish and turn back again into non-existence through corruption."
St. Athanasios says that Death is not "Just" as lubeltri claims, St. Athanasios says it is monstrous.

and St. Athanasios also says:
Quote
"Was He to demand repentance from men for their transgression ? You might say that that was worthy of God, and argue further that, as through the Transgression they became subject to corruption, so through repentance they might return to incorruption again. But repentance would not guard the Divine consistency, for, if death did not hold dominion over men, God would still remain untrue. Nor does repentance recall men from what is according to their nature ; all that it does is to make them cease from sinning., Had it been a case of a trespass only, and not of a subsequent corruption, repentance would have been well enough; but when once transgression had Begun men came under the power of the corruption proper to their nature and were bereft of the grace which belonged to them as creatures in the Image of God. No, repentance could not meet the case. What-or rather Who was it that was needed for such grace and such recall as we required? "
St. Athanasios is not talking about forgiveness, but healing the consequences of sin. One can repent of murdering someone, and God will forgive them, but the consequences of the sin (the corruption it causes) remain- the victim remains dead.

You are equating Forgiveness with Redemption- which is the very error which the judicial view makes, but St. Athanasios clearly distinguishes between sin and it's consequences, and between forgiveness and Redemption. Sin can be forgiven, and indeed was forgiven even before the Incarnation. But the echoes sin causes through the Universe, that is, it's consequences, could only be healed through the Incarnation, Passion, Death and Resurrection of the God-Man.

Quote
The law of death, which followed from the Transgression, prevailed upon us, and from it there was no escape. The thing that was happening was in truth both monstrous and unfitting.I
t's equally monstrous and "unthinkable" (did you think about it...shame on you  Tongue) that God should just simply get rid of the death and corruption that ailed man.  God said man will surely die, and He CANNOT go back on His word.  Notice also, it's interesting because while we concentrate so much on the fact that it's our own fault, we forget that it's also God's commandment that this should happen if this happened.  If it's merely just a "my own fault, God didn't create death" type of arguement, it wouldn't have been necessary for St. Athanasius to be so insistent on Goid not going back "on His word."

No Mina! Stop and think! You are saying that what St. Athanasios calls "the law of death" was created by God, and that He cannot break His own law. But "God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good", and "the dead do not praise the Lord, neither they that go down into the silence", and "The Lord is the God of the living and not of the dead." Just as sin is evil and can have no part with God, Death is also evil and can have no part with God. Death is the absence of Life, and the only Source of Life is God.
When God says in Genesis that on the day Adam disobeys His commandment "you will surely die", He is stating a fact; namely that sin by definition cuts us off from the Source of Life. This is the "law of death" St. Athanasios is talking about. What is impure and evil cannot have anything to do with what is Pure and Good, and evil cannot have any part of God. The concept is ontological not judicial. Don't be confused by the term "law". When we talk about the Laws of Thermodynamics, we are not talking about judicial laws. And note that St. Athanasios calls it "the law of death", not the "law of God".

It would, of course, have been unthinkable that God should go back upon His word and that man, having transgressed, should not die.
Quote
Nor does repentance recall men from what is according to their nature ; all that it does is to make them cease from sinning.
Self-explanatory.  This is the ontological side of things.
No, Mina. It is exactly the same as what St. Athanasios said before, just a different way of saying it. In both cases, St. Athanasios is saying the same thing and is speaking ontologically.


David,
I have read your articles, and I liked them, but I don't think we can draw the conclusion that the "judicial" and "ontological" views complement each other, and I'm not sure how you are trying to make this connection when you say:
I mean...God demands a perfect humanity for union with Himself and will take no less, for to do so would 1) go against the reality of holiness' incompatibility with iniquity and 2) damn us all as a natural consequence...and His love for us could not bear the latter, nor would His holiness allow for the former to pass unchallenged and unconquered.
(1) above, is ontological- evil and good, impurity and purity cannot mix, because that would mean that God is no longer Pure, and therefore, no longer God., and in (2), it is not God Who is damns us, and He acts, not with "Justice" but with Mercy to solve an ontological problem:
our impurity and consequential seperation from Him Who is the All Pure Source of Life vs. His desire that we be united with Him

Peter the Aleut,
I think it is wrong to think of God as the Creator of death. The Source of Life cannot create Death. Just as darkness is the result of being cut off from a source of light, Death is the result of being cut off from the Source of Life. Thus, "the law of death" is not a "Divine Law", it's the natural consequence of being cut off from the Divine. Deification is not "one option among many", it is the only option if we are to attain Eternal Life, and it is intrinsic to our true Human Nature. We made it impossible to attain by leaving the Source of Life, and Christ made it possible again by Sanctifying Human Nature at the Incarnation, and delivering the souls of those in Hades by His own Death. God took back from Death what was His. To say that He put them there in the first place makes God the sadistic being that modern Atheists accuse us of making Him into.

But if you say that God created "the law of death" you are saying that God could have chosen not to let sin lead to death. Our redemption, therefore, is a farce which never needed to happen in the first place. God places us in Hades then gets us out again....some Redeemer that would be! It would be like a firefighter who starts forest fires then plays the hero.

I am in fact saying this!  :o  All jest aside, for God to have chosen "not to let sin lead to death" would have been inconsistent with His incorruptible nature.  God cannot by His very nature allow Himself to be corrupted by uniting Himself to the corruption caused by sin.  Sin, therefore, MUST separate man from God.
That's correct. Which is what I've been saying all along. God could not have included anything in the Laws of Nature which would prevent sin leading to death, so, contrary to the Laws of Nature, a Virgin gave birth to a Human Being Who is God....We were redeemed because God suspended and contradicted the Laws of Nature. And when, as True Man, God died on the Cross, He himself entered the realm of Death, and even the Dead were no longer seperated from Him, and He raised them up and granted them Life again.


If St. Athanasius explicates that our redemption was achieved by (inter alia) the lifting of "God's sentence", and yet you persist in essentially denying that God could be responsible in any way for any sentence, then I am inclined to believe that you are not really addressing St. Athanasius on his own terms.

EA,
Again, you misquote St. Athanasios and take his words out of context.
In answer to the Arians, Saint Athanasios is talking about the remission of sin and the fact that Christ had the authority to forgive sins on Earth, which proves that He was not a creature, but God Himself. Here is what St. Athanasios actually says:
Quote
And how, were the Word a creature, had He power to undo God's sentence, and to remit sin, whereas it is written in the Prophets, that this is God's doing? For 'who is a God like unto You, that pardons iniquity, and passes by transgression Micah 7:18 ?' For whereas God has said, 'Dust you are, and unto dust shall you return Genesis 3:19 ,' men have become mortal; how then could things originate undo sin?

Therefore, since the Saint is saying that Christ had the authority to "undo God's sentence" by forgiving sins on Earth, the attempt to use this as "proof" that the Saint is saying that our redemption through the Cross and Resurrection was judicial in nature is ludicrous. In answer to the Arians, St. Athanasios is showing that Christ is God by referring to the fact that in the Gospel, Christ had the authority to "undo God's sentence"  by forgiving sins....and He was doing this in the Gospel before His Death and Resurrection. If we take the judicial view of Redemption, wouldn't it be impossible for Christ to remit sins before the "debt" was paid by Him?



Peter,
it isn't the use of words like "ransom" and "wrath" which are the problem, but trather, it is when they are taken literally. If I take what St. Cyril is saying literally, then I must believe that the immutable God changed from being wrathful to merciful. Even Scripture says that God was "grieved" that He had that He had created the world (Genesis 6:7) but is this really possible? Could God really have felt that He'd made a mistake in creating the Earth and changed His mind? Are we meant to take this literally?

So we were ransomed from death and corruption by Christ's substitution on the Cross in order that we would undergo an ontological change through theosis and thus be saved from the "everlasting punishment" which those who have not put on Christ and thus remain united to death and corruption will undergo.
David,
Again, in my mind, this raises the questions:
1) To whom was the "ransom from death and corruption" paid?
2) If a substitution was required for the forgiveness of sin, how could Christ forgive the sins of the Paralytic and the Woman caught in adultery before this substitution had taken place?
3) If Theosis was impossible before the "substitution", how did Elijah not die and get taken up into Heaven in his body and meet Christ on Mount Tabor at the Transfiguration?

I mention this only because, as you say, such ideas of substitution and ransom may be "very comfortable to Western ears", but in this day and age, when people are questioning the basis of our belief, such questions can be raised and are quite valid, and we need to be ready with an answer.



Thanks Father.
No matter how many times I quote St. Gregory the Theologian on this thread and no matter how many times I insist that “ransom” and “substitution” and “atonement” cannot be taken literally, people insist that we need to use these terms to make our (Orthodox) soteriology palatable to the West. But I keep arguing that these terms make no sense if taken literally rather than metaphorically. I can’t see how the “scholastic” West could find these terms "palatable" since even slightly scratching the surface of them causes them to fall apart.
George

St. Gregory the Theologian, Second Oration on Pascha

"To whom was that Blood offered that was shed for us, and why was it shed? I mean the precious and famous Blood of our God and High Priest and Sacrifice. We were detained in bondage by the evil one, sold under sin, and received pleasure in exchange for wickedness. Now, since a ransom belongs only to him who holds in bondage, I ask, to who was this offered and to what cause? If to the evil one, fie upon the outrage! The robber receives ransom, not only from God, but a ransom which consists of God Himself, and as such has an illustrious payment for his tyranny, a payment for whose sake it would have been right for him to have left us alone all together.
But first I ask, how? For it was not by Him (God) that we were being oppressed. And next, on what principle did the Blood of His only Begotten Son delight the Father, Who would not receive even Isaac when he was being offered by his father, but changed the sacrifice, putting a ram in place of a human victim? Is it not evident that the Father accepts Him, but neither asked for Him nor demanded Him; but on account of the Incarnation, and because Humanity must be sanctified by the Humanity of God, that He might deliver us Himself and overcome the tryant, and draw us to Himself by the mediation of His Son, Who also arranged this to the honour of the Father, Whom it is manifest that He obeys in all things."



I would not wish to say that any of the bibilical motifs for understanding the cross are metaphorical; mysteries that we can't fully comprehend? Yes. Metaphors, No.
So, again, I ask, to whom was the ransom paid if it is a literal ransom? As St. Gregory says, the one who held us in bondage is the evil one, so did he receive the ransom?
The problem with viewing terms like "ransom" and "atonement" too literally is that doing so imprisons God. Basically, it means God cannot forgive sin unless an atonement is made or a ransom paid.


That fact that the term "atonement" had to be invented should tell people something.
What do you suggest this should tell us?

What St. Isaac the Syrian says:

Do not call God just, for His justice is not manifest in the things concerning you. And if David calls Him just and upright, His Son revealed to us that He is good and kind. ‘He is good’, He says ‘to the evil and to the impious.’ How can you call God just when you come across the Scriptural passage on the wage given to the workers? … How can a man call God just when he comes across the passage on the prodigal son who wasted his wealth with riotous living, how for the compunction alone which he showed, the father ran and fell upon his neck and gave him authority over all his wealth? Where, then, is God’s justice, for while we are sinners Christ died for us!”    — St. Isaac of Syria, Ascetical Homilies, 51


 
1) There is no "whom," but a "what": the reality of all mens' common mortality.  It held us captive as would a human captor, and Christ's blood was the only element strong enough to overturn the rule of death.
By this reasoning, God paid a debt which was owed to the mortality which He Himself gave us: "And the LORD God said, “My Spirit shall not remain among these men forever, for they are flesh; but their days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”  (Genesis 6:3) It is God Who appointed our mortality. Is God therefore like a pyromaniac firefighter who ignites fires so that they can be seen as dramatic rescuer? And is death so much stronger than the Pantocrator God by Whose command the Universe and everything in it came to be that the only way God can defeat death is to bleed and suffer in pain? It's absurd.
2) Melito of Sardis comments that, when the angel in the book of Exodus saw the blood of lambs on the Israelites' doorposts, the angel was not truly "seeing" the blood of lambs, but the blood of Christ which would cleanse all sins (which are shortcomings of being as well as of action, and which are made up for in the Life offered by Christ in His blood).  Likewise, the forgiveness offered to the Paralytic and the Adulterous Woman was "looking forward" to the Cross.  The Cross is the Axis on which all of Time, all of Creation turns; as such, there is no "before" or "after" regarding its effectiveness.  As St. Irenaeus of Lyons said, "it was necessary that he who would be saved should come into existence, that the One who saves should not exist in vain."  The "In the beginning" of Genesis 1:1 was uttered because of the Cross.  The healing of souls and bodies offered by Christ during His Advent was available because of the same. 3) Enoch, as well as Elijah, had faith in God as told in Hebrews 11, and as such shared in an imperfect participation in the yet-to-be-temporally-realized Crucifixion.  Again, any benefit men in the Old Testament received from the Lord was an economia of sorts based on what would happen on Calvary.
David, firstly, as ialmisry points out, this is the "logic" by which the erroneous doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was conceived. What you are basically saying is that God could not forgive sins without Christ bleeding and dying on the Cross, however, sins could be forgiven in anticipation of His bleeding and dying. Why then were the souls of the righteous dead kept in Hades in the millennia before the Harrowing of Hades and not admitted to Paradise in anticipation of the Crucifixion?  Couldn't God forgive them and admit them to Paradise in anticipation of Golgotha like the way you claim He was able to forgive sins on Earth before His death (in anticipation of it)? Secondly, you have diminished the Authority, Dominion and Power of the Almighty God by saying that He cannot forgive sins unless certain conditions are met. The Apostle doesn't think so, because he says: "What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses,  “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy." (Romans 9:14-16) God's Mercy is limitless because God is limitless. God's Love is limitless because God is Love and God is limitless. What you are saying is that certain criteria must be met in order for God to have Mercy and forgive sin- in other words, you are saying that God is not omnipotent, but restricted by factors external to Him. This is heresy. Now the usual Western argument is that the factors are not external to Him because they are His own Justice. And I say: Codswhollop! God is not just.  A "just" God does not make the sun to shine and the rain to fall on the good and the wicked alike (Matthew 5:45). A 'just" God does not command us to imitate Him by loving our enemies, blessing those who curse us, doing good to those who hate us and praying for those who persecute and abuse us (Matthew 5:44-45). This is what God expects of us, because He Himself does so freely.  A "just" God is not good and kind to evildoers. And most importantly,: A "just" God does not die for sinners while they are still sinners or for the ungodly while they are still ungodly.(Romans 5:6-8 ) Read again, what St Isaac the Syrian says: “Do not call God just, for His justice is not manifest in the things concerning you. And if David calls Him just and upright, His Son revealed to us that He is good and kind. ‘He is good’, He says ‘to the evil and to the impious.’ How can you call God just when you come across the Scriptural passage on the wage given to the workers? … How can a man call God just when he comes across the passage on the prodigal son who wasted his wealth with riotous living, how for the compunction alone which he showed, the father ran and fell upon his neck and gave him authority over all his wealth? Where, then, is God’s justice, for while we are sinners Christ died for us!”    (Ascetical Homilies, 51). And concerning the Sacrifice of the Cross, read again what St. Gregory the Theologian says: "Is it not evident that the Father accepts Him, but neither asked for Him nor demanded Him; but on account of the Incarnation, and because Humanity must be sanctified by the Humanity of God, that He might deliver us Himself and overcome the tryant, and draw us to Himself by the mediation of His Son, Who also arranged this to the honour of the Father, Whom it is manifest that He obeys in all things." (2nd Oration on Pascha). If he who is one of only two Saints the Church calls "Theologian" says this, who am I to argue with it?
 

David,
St. Gregory the Theologian is not talking about substitutionary atonement.
"Atonement" is just another word for "penal satisfaction".

Imagine, for a moment that I got caught up in a poker game with a cardshark. As the game continues, I manage to lose all my money, my house and end up owing money that I don't have. Now let's say I have a rich friend who loves me and sees the distress caused by the mess I got myself into playing poker with someone who is much better at it than me. My rich friend decides to help by getting into a poker game with the cardshark himself. My rich friend is not only wealthier than the cardshark, he is also infinitely better at poker than he is, and my friend ends up completely obliterating the cardshark, takes all his winnings, his house, and has him thrown into prison in debt. My friend then distributes the loot from the cardshark among all those he has cheated. Has my wealthy friend made "atonement"? The cardshark is the Death and the Devil, my rich friend is Christ who has redeemed me, not by paying my debt, but by deceiving the deceiver.


Imagine, for a moment that I got caught up in a poker game with a cardshark. As the game continues, I manage to lose all my money, my house and end up owing money that I don't have. Now let's say I have a rich friend who loves me and sees the distress caused by the mess I got myself into playing poker with someone who is much better at it than me. My rich friend decides to help by getting into a poker game with the cardshark himself. My rich friend is not only wealthier than the cardshark, he is also infinitely better at poker than he is, and my friend ends up completely obliterating the cardshark, takes all his winnings, his house, and has him thrown into prison in debt. My friend then distributes the loot from the cardshark among all those he has cheated. Has my wealthy friend made "atonement"? The cardshark is the Death and the Devil, my rich friend is Christ who has redeemed me, not by paying my debt, but by deceiving the deceiver.

And here's the evidence from our Orthodox Hymns for Good Friday:

Today hell cries out groaning: I should not have accepted the Man born of Mary (i.e. "I shouldn't have got into a poker game with Him"). He came and destroyed my power. He shattered the gates of brass. As God, He raised the souls that I had held captive. Glory to Thy cross and resurrection, O Lord.

Today, hell cries out groaning: My dominion has been shattered. I received a dead man as one of the dead, but against Him I could not prevail (i.e. "I was deceived"). From eternity I had ruled the dead, but behold, He raised all. Because of Him do I perish. Glory to Thy cross and resurrection, O Lord.

Today hell cries out groaning: My power has been trampled upon. The Shepherd is crucified and Adam is raised. I have been deprived of those whom I ruled. Those whom I swallowed in my strength I have given up. He Who was crucified has emptied the tombs (ie. "He has taken all my winnings and given them back to those I cheated"). The power of death has been vanquished. Glory to Thy cross and resurrection, O Lord.



 
My whole point is that atonement need not be equated with "penal satisfaction."  Please show me where the two must be synonymous, if I am indeed mistaken.  Atonement, rather, has always been a "making up for that which is lacking," as it were, a supplement to our shortcomings so that we can partake of the presence of God -- not because God couldn't stand for us to be in His presence or because He needs it, but because He's set it up this way for us to be cleansed from sin and death through Life and Love.  Expiation instead of propitiation, in other words.
David, the original meaning of "atonement" is none of what you have described, and I actually have no problem with the original meaning of the word, however I do have a problem with how the word has come to be understood. Look in any dictionary and the first definition of "atonement" is "expiation" ie, "amends made for an injury or a wrong". This is evident from the the use of the verb "to atone". The original meaning of the word "atonement" was actually "harmonising". As I understand, it was first used in the 16th century, and it has an English etymology, literally: "at one-ment" (to cause two or more things to be "at one"). This is an excellent description of our reconciliation to God. However this is not what the word "atonement" means now (as any dictionary will describe). It now means "  Amends or reparation made for an injury or wrong; expiation."  Where did this "alternate" meaning for a word which originally meant "harmonising" come from?
He destroys death, as you say through you cardshark metaphor (which is an excellent one, by the way), but He also finishes His union of our nature with His through His three-day Pascha, which begins on Calvary.  Christ did die for us rather than instead of us--for we must also die with Him to live with Him--yet the Blood He gave when He died is what gives us the life necessary to die correctly.  Christ did reverse the deception, yet He also became sin so that we might become righteousness, thus reversing our nature's fallenness (or "atoning for it") through His life-giving Blood. Let us not make the same mistake that many western Christians make and stress one aspect of salvation -- in our case, beguiling the beguiler -- to the exclusion of other, very real facets of our salvation.  Our nature is renewed -- atoned for, or brought up from its former, crippled state and reconciled to the Father -- by the Blood of Christ.  This is the supreme atonement to which all of the atonement language in the Old Testament alluded.  We can't get around that, nor should we simply dismiss it out of hand, as St. Athanasius shows us (thanks for the quote, ignatius). 
I disagree with your definition of "atoning", and therefore I disagree with your understanding of what Christ's Blood has done for us. Yes, His Blood is the only source of Life for us, but It was not shed to make up what was lacking in our fallen state. You can't drink water from a Rock unless you split it (Numbers 20:11). You can't share a loaf of bread unless it's broken open. You can't drink the Lifegiving Blood of Christ unless He is broken open. Christ was Crucified because the only way His Unfallen Body could die was to be murdered. This was the only way His Human Soul could enter Hades and destroy it. The Cross was the "price He had to pay" in order to undertake His Rescue Mission of us. It was the "sacrifice" He made in the same way that you might "sacrifice" yourself at work every day in order to feed your family. The main point which we seem to miss about the Old Testament Sacrifices is what it meant in an agrarian society. When an holocaust offering was made of one of your cattle, you had to give up something precious. When Abraham our Father in Faith was called to make a Sacrifice, he was asked to sacrifice the most precious thing he had- his only son Isaac. When the Passover Sacrifice was made, it was offered and then shared and eaten. So yes, the Old Testament Sacrifices were a precursor to Golgotha, but your understanding of them is incorrect.
 


Even better yet, why is this even important?
Because Scripture and Tradition existed for one and a half milennia before the word "atonement" was invented by a Protestant Reformer.


Could you define what you mean Substitutionary Atonement or Penal Satisfaction to mean?

"Substitutionary Atonement" means that basically, Christ died "in our place" (ie "was substituted for us") in order to make "Atonement" (whatever that means, since the meaning has changed over time). While the various meanings of "Atonement" is problematic, the idea that Christ died "in our place" or "instead of us" is wrong. He died for us, not instead of us.

"Penal Satisfaction" basically means that a debt (or penalty) is owed to God for sin, (somewhat like a parking fine) which needs to be paid so that the sin can be forgiven. The idea is that Christ paid the fine for us (because we were unable to).

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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #443 on: December 27, 2009, 03:43:20 PM »
So back to my post...

Is St. Athanasius simply wrong?  What the text indicates in the English translation that I am using is that Christ offered his body to the Father.  That's all it says.  Nothing about ransom or satisfaction or anything like that.

If he is correct here, how or why is Christ's body offered to the Father?  Is this question beyond our ability to answer, or is it wrong of the saint to speak as much as to say that Christ's body was offered to the Father?

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #444 on: December 27, 2009, 05:10:47 PM »
But isn't it Christ's sacrifice on the Cross that defines for Christians the proper understanding of the sacrifices of the Jewish Temple?
Only if you're an Evangelical nutbag.
Or worship Kali.
I think you might either be replying to someone else or totally reading into my post something I never meant to communicate.  I'm pretty certain my posting record on this thread will show that I do not believe in any kind of penal satisfaction theory such as that to which your reply to my post appears to respond.  In the post you quoted, I really said nothing to define the nature of Christ's sacrifice on the Cross per se.  My thought is simply that, regardless of how one understands our Lord's sacrifice, it is this that should enlighten our understanding of the Jewish Temple sacrifices and not vice versa.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2009, 05:15:39 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #445 on: December 27, 2009, 05:17:28 PM »
So back to my post...

Is St. Athanasius simply wrong?  What the text indicates in the English translation that I am using is that Christ offered his body to the Father.  That's all it says.  Nothing about ransom or satisfaction or anything like that.

If he is correct here, how or why is Christ's body offered to the Father?  Is this question beyond our ability to answer, or is it wrong of the saint to speak as much as to say that Christ's body was offered to the Father?
Firstly, you're using a bad translation. Here's the original: http://www.oodegr.com/oode/pateres1/athanasios/enanthrwpisi1.htm
Secondly, you take it out of context. If you read St. Athanasios (for example, in the quote I give above) you will see that he is talking about Christ rescuing us from death by His Death & Resurrection. Of what possible use would Christ's corpse be to the Father? How would this please Him? Christ offers His life in order to Harrow Hades the same way that a soldier "offers" his life to save others- not as a judicial substitution nor as an appeasement of the enemy.
Thirdly, the idea in your earlier post that Christ offered something to satan and death is absurd. God owes satan nothing.
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Offline augustin717

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #446 on: December 27, 2009, 05:22:13 PM »
O my Savior, while as God Thou did voluntarily offer Thyself to the Father as an unslain and living sacrifice, Thou did raise up with Thyself the whole race of Adam, when Thou did rise from the grave.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2009, 05:23:54 PM by augustin717 »
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #447 on: December 27, 2009, 05:25:09 PM »
'O my Saviour, the living Victim unsuitable for sacrifice,33 as God offering
yourself willingly to the Father, you raised with yourself all Adam’s race, in
rising from the tomb.'
1.  Where did you find this text?
2.  How do you intend this to relate to the discussion to which you posted this?
3.  What are you trying to communicate?
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Offline augustin717

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #448 on: December 27, 2009, 05:35:25 PM »
You can guess, it is a text well known within our church.
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...
« Reply #449 on: December 27, 2009, 05:46:34 PM »
You can guess, it is a text well known within our church.
An "unslain" sacrifice, a "Victim unsuitable for sacrifice"....what is the Orthodox Church saying in this?
« Last Edit: December 27, 2009, 05:53:13 PM by ozgeorge »
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