So how exactly does the Coptic Church view the Crucifixion? What was it purpose, what did it accomplish, etc.?
I will try and dig out further references and quotations after my exams. But for now I will mention two sources, an ancient and a contemporary one.1) Ancient: St Shenoute the Archimandrite (+465):
In his work On Christian Behaviour
he accounts for the following accomplishments of the Crucifixion:
1) It enabled us to "bear the death of Jesus in our body, that the life also of Jesus may be manifest in our flesh which dieth and perisheth."--an allusion to 2 Cor. 4:11
2) It "redeemed us from the devil."
3) "God hath taken away the sins of the world through his death and sufferings which he endured for us through his cross."
4) He has "reconciled us to his Father through his death."
5) He has "broken the bond which we owed"--a reference to Colossians 2:14.2) Contemporary: Fr. T. Malaty
, who is probably, at this time, the Coptic Church's most prominent (in terms of being well-known and well-recommended) theologian, discusses the Crucifixion in his work Man and Redemption
. In fact, Fr. T. Malaty doesn't really discuss
anything, he simply lists the main points as sub-headings, and follows with patristic quotations. I will list those main points of his and quote the specific patristic quotations that he used:
1) To abolish corruption and death:
St Clement of Alexandria: "[The Lord] has changed sunset into sunrise, and through the cross turned death into life; and having wrenched man from destruction, He has raised him to heaven, transplanting mortality into immortality and translating earth to heaven."
St Athanasius of Alexandria: "He accepted the Cross, and endured a death inflicted by others, and above all by His enemies...so that this...being destroyed, He Himself might be believed to be the Life, and the power of death be brought utterly to nought."
2) To renew our nature:
In Fr. Malaty's own words: "In the Epistle to the Hebrews, St. Paul clearly explains the difference between the
animal sacrifices and Christ's Sacrifice; the first one was repeated because of its weakness and failure to renew human nature, but the last One was offered once only for it still has the power to renew our interior man. Origen says that Jesus Christ as a Priest and Victim at the same time did not offer animals blood that consumes but His own Blood that gives life, resurrection and immortality."
3) To accomplish the divine sentence on our behalf:
St Athanasius of Alexandria: "He sends His own Son, and He becomes Son of Man, by taking created flesh, that, since all were under sentence of death, He being other than them all, might Himself for all offer to death His own body; and that henceforth, as if all had died through Him, the word of that sentence might be accomplished (for "all died" 2 Cor. 5: 14, in Christ), and all through Him might thereupon become free from sin and from the curse which came upon it and might truly abide for ever, risen from the dead and clothed in immortality and incorruption."
4) To conquer Satan:
St Athanasius of Alexandria: "For the Word being clothed in the flesh, as has many times been explained, every bite of the serpent began to be utterly staunched from it out, and whatever evil sprung from the motions of the flesh, to be cut away, and with this death also was abolished, the companion of sin, as the Lord Himself says: "The prince of this world comes, and finds nothing in Me". John 14: 30, and "For this end was He manifested", as John has written, "that He might destroy the works of the devil" 1 John 3: 1 22"
St Clement of Alexandria: "The Lord then wished to release him (man) from his bonds, and clothing Himself with flesh - O divine mystery. - vanquished the serpent, and enslaved the tyrant; and, most marvelous of all, man that had been deceived by pleasure, and bound fast to corruption, had his hands unloosed, and was set free..."