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Sacrifice & Atonement


WalkerW

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After reading some of the posts by Chris Smith and Professor Hamblin, I was wondering if Dr. Hamblin (or anyone who feels up to it) wouldn't mind explaining the meaning and reason behind sacrifice and atonement. I have to say that I'm often as baffled as Chris is by it (and I'm a believing, active LDS). I'm just trying to understand it better. Any links or sources would be great. Thanks.

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After reading some of the posts by Chris Smith and Professor Hamblin, I was wondering if Dr. Hamblin (or anyone who feels up to it) wouldn't mind explaining the meaning and reason behind sacrifice and atonement. I have to say that I'm often as baffled as Chris is by it (and I'm a believing, active LDS). I'm just trying to understand it better. Any links or sources would be great. Thanks.

I'm neither Bill, nor Chris; however, I am curious to what extent you are "often baffled" by the reasons behind sacrifice and atonement?

I'm obviously not adequately bright enought to know that there is an option to being baffled by these things, we may be able to reason together, or at least, assist each other to find a greater meaning behind said topics.

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After reading some of the posts by Chris Smith and Professor Hamblin, I was wondering if Dr. Hamblin (or anyone who feels up to it) wouldn't mind explaining the meaning and reason behind sacrifice and atonement. I have to say that I'm often as baffled as Chris is by it (and I'm a believing, active LDS). I'm just trying to understand it better. Any links or sources would be great. Thanks.

Really we don't know the why of the atonement, only that it was needed and man sacrificed animals to represent the sacrifice of Christ in the meridian of time.

Like Christ animal sacrifices had to be a first born of the flock with no blemish, so the animal represent Christ and the burnt offering represented the future sacrifice of Christ.

Our best understanding is that somehow Christ took upon himself all sins ever committed. When he was crucified his blood was spilled and atoned for all sins ever.

Even the General Authorities don't comprehend the how or why! That is the greatest blessing, we don't have to understand why or how the atonement cleanses us of our sins to be saved by the atonement!

If it did we would all be in trouble! LOL

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There's a passage in John where Christ said "greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend," and then He went on to say "I sanctify (set apart) myself, that ye may be sanctified."

Later, Peter said that He set us an example, and talked about walking in His foot steps.

I've always believed that part of the atonement was showing us what love is, and how serious sin is.

In the ancient Church, there was also the idea that we had all lawfully sold ourselves to Satan, and it was kind of a ransom required to buy us back (since we were his property, and God doesn't steel.)

I don't know how much that helps (or how consistent it is with Mormon doctrine), but it's all I have.

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After reading some of the posts by Chris Smith and Professor Hamblin, I was wondering if Dr. Hamblin (or anyone who feels up to it) wouldn't mind explaining the meaning and reason behind sacrifice and atonement. I have to say that I'm often as baffled as Chris is by it (and I'm a believing, active LDS). I'm just trying to understand it better. Any links or sources would be great. Thanks.

Since you are opening this up to a general discussion and not private conversations with Chris and Bill:

Atonement is the reuniting or reconciling of two or more things, especially which had become estranged. This requires some effort, or sacrifice, on the part of the atoning parties.

We are estranged from God. The Father

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Really we don't know the why of the atonement, only that it was needed and man sacrificed animals to represent the sacrifice of Christ in the meridian of time.

But there is nothing wrong in wanting to understand the atonement better. Walker is a friend of mine. He accepts that the atonement (something to restore us to favour with God) is necessary. That is not so much the issue as WHY the atonement took the form it did.

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This the part that I've never understood.....did god not have the power to forgive, or did he choose not to forgive even though he had the power? Why did god require the sacrifice of his son to atone for our sins....if he has the power to forgive, then in my mind, this just appears like some morality play.

He has the power to forgive, and can do so from His perspective, but the efficacy of His forgiveness for us (our complete liberation from guilt, or being like God) cannot be realized from our perspective unless we know that the full damage/offense/pain of separation that we caused has been addressed and repaired. Because of our sins (and death regardless), we haven't the power to appreciate the full damage or to repair the damage ourselves, and so we require the Christ

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But there is nothing wrong in wanting to understand the atonement better. Walker is a friend of mine. He accepts that the atonement (something to restore us to favour with God) is necessary. That is not so much the issue as WHY the atonement took the form it did.

Thanks for clarifying that, Allen.

I'm not utterly clueless to this kind of discussion. But Chris brought out questions of my own and Bill provided information that I would like to hear more of.

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After reading some of the posts by Chris Smith and Professor Hamblin, I was wondering if Dr. Hamblin (or anyone who feels up to it) wouldn't mind explaining the meaning and reason behind sacrifice and atonement. I have to say that I'm often as baffled as Chris is by it (and I'm a believing, active LDS). I'm just trying to understand it better. Any links or sources would be great. Thanks.

Ok... the purpose of the atonement, would be, I think, to...

1) To fufill the law of justice (all who commit iniquities must suffer from it according to this law, and those who are exalted promise to obey this law)

2) To allow the law of mercy (forgiveness, a second chance)

3) To exemplify the dedication and sacrifice that is needed to become or be an exalted being.

What's the purpose behind sacrifice? Sacrifice allows us to focus on what is most important. It teaches us to be focused on helping others, and not on helping ourselves. Christ's atonement is the best example, that it is.

Hope I helped =).

Best Wishes,

TAO

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WHY the atonement took the form it did.

The Atonement took the form of the suffering of Jesus Christ in the Garden because reconciling every human being with God, without their ability to do so themselves, demands the most extreme labor, especially if performed by only one being. We are being lifted from a perfectly fallen state to a perfectly exalted state, and the extreme labor causes extreme pain. Because God is both Spirit and Element and His children are spirit and element, the pain involved both spiritual and elemental suffering on a humanity-wide (for what we understand) as well as godly (for what we don't understand) scale. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was uniquely qualified as God to experience the full spiritual and elemental suffering required to bring each soul back to God

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I invite all those who haven't to read this thread to do so before commenting, specifically Chris and Bill. That is the direction I'm hoping to go.

Ah, as to why the atonement was used over something else? I think it is because there is nothing that could show greater sacrifice. To lose one's life to others. And then to lose one's life literally. Or to send a son to help others be happy. Only to have them kill him, and you knew this ahead of time.

Why did God make Christ go through trials you ask also? It's for the same reason we go through trials... to make us strong... unto the accepting and following of all God has to offer.

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I invite all those who haven't to read this thread to do so before commenting, specifically Chris and Bill. That is the direction I'm hoping to go.

The thread on Oral Traditions that you link to is one of my favorite in recent memory. It really got me thinking as well. If I understand you correctly, you are looking for info on how the ancients understood the mechanics of the atonement. Is that right?

It seems that many of the posts are offering personal versions of the various atonement theories. These theories are summarized in some Dialogue articles (The Divine-Infusion Theory: Rethinking the Atonement) and Blake Ostler does a good job in his three volume set. I don't think WalkerW is looking for atonement theory summaries.

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The thread on Oral Traditions that you link to is one of my favorite in recent memory. It really got me thinking as well. If I understand you correctly, you are looking for info on how the ancients understood the mechanics of the atonement. Is that right?

It seems that many of the posts are offering personal versions of the various atonement theories. These theories are summarized in some Dialogue articles (The Divine-Infusion Theory: Rethinking the Atonement) and Blake Ostler does a good job in his three volume set. I don't think WalkerW is looking for atonement theory summaries.

Exactly. I welcome atonement theories, but I'm mainly trying to get info from an ancient perspective. How did the ancients view sacrifice and atonement? Why did they think it was necessary?

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Exactly. I welcome atonement theories, but I'm mainly trying to get info from an ancient perspective. How did the ancients view sacrifice and atonement? Why did they think it was necessary?

Walker, I recommend highly Spiegel's "The Last Trial" and Levenson's "The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son."

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I'm not going to pretend to answer this question in a complete or all that meaningful way, but I'll give my thoughts on the matter.

If God pondered the concept of what would it take for a plan of bringing salvation and eternal benefit to His children, and resolved on the idea of atonement, then perhaps we can go from there. What would the benefit be to providing atonement for the benefit of His children, rather than some other unimagined way? Perhaps atonement in itself will be most meaningful, most impactful to His children. Perhaps such a work accomplished by One like unto Himself, is the best way to foster love, devotion, and meaning. Perhaps without it, the amount of love and devotion needed, from God's perspective would never be attained. This is a bit of affirming the consequent since I am attributing to God the most nobility and speculating from there. But I wouldn't know how else to go about answering the question.

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