DonBradley Posted May 7, 2009 Share Posted May 7, 2009 Hello All,I'm going to lay out some thoughts I've recently had on the Atonement, and would be interested in anyone else's input.In "traditional" Christian theology (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant), God's justice requires a sacrifice for sin, and God himself becomes incarnate to provide it, thus reconciling humanity to himself. In the Trinitarian view everything is worked out between the three divine persons, who are conceived of as one God.I see a similar view in the Book of Mormon, where "God himself" comes to make himself an offering for sin, satisfying his own justice (though without the transaction between multiple divine persons). This seems in both cases to make for a rather tidy view of how the Atonement works.A more complicated picture emerges when Jesus is viewed as a separate being from the Father: the "transaction" of atonement, if you will, is not simply internal to God. Rather, in order to satisfy his justice, God has someone else pay the price for sin. Ironically, this way of satisfying divine justice seems to carry an injustice of its own--Jesus suffers because of our sin and God's justice, and not for any reason that has to do with him. It also makes God unable to forgive without the assistance of a third party, which seems problematic for God's power and perfect goodness. On the "traditional" Christian view, God satisfies his own justice, thus enabling him to both uphold the sanctity of moral law and forgive those who violate it. But on an "Arian" view (in which Jesus is a separate entity from God), God is entirely dependent on one of his creatures. In a sense, God needs Jesus' sacrifice as much as we do. Without it his work of bringing about immortality and eternal life would be impossible. Thoughts? Is this a (relative) problem for LDS theology? Is the "traditional" doctrine more coherent? What compensating features does LDS atonement theology have? And what are the possible views Latter-day Saints might take?Don Bradley Link to comment
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