It is revealing to observe just how much God’s mercy narks us.
Early in the Bible, and thus in God’s revelation about himself, God supplies his name to Moses. He calls himself “I Am” or “I Am that I Am” (Ex 3: 14). What we miss, however, is that in Hebrew the name is not limited to the present tense. It could just as easily (or perhaps more accurately) be translated “I will be who I will be”. It should be taken as a statement of absolute intent. God will be himself, period. We are being given a heads-up: man does not get to define God, nor contain him.
Continue reading “Mad at Mercy”
There is no doubt that God demands justice. But exactly what is “justice”? What does it look like?
The understanding that springs immediately to our minds is derived from Criminal Law. When a crime has been committed against an individual, the injured party “demands” justice: the perpetrator must be punished and the punishment must fit the crime (e.g. an eye for an eye). If the perpetrator is let off we would be quick to declare that justice has not been served. Yet even if the injured party were to choose to forgive, the law of the land would still require a sentence to be administered in order to satisfy justice. There must be punishment. Justice, then, operates under the “law of retribution” and as such has little room for mercy. Indeed, to show leniency would be to thwart justice. Justice and mercy stand directly opposed. Continue reading “Lies we believe #3: God’s justice demands that sin be punished”
How can a merciful God command genocide?
“..in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes. But you shall utterly destroy them… as the LORD your God has commanded you” (Deut 20:16-17)
“Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.'” (1 Samuel 15:3)
There can be no disputing that this violent portrayal of God is incompatible with the merciful God revealed in Christ who commands us to love our enemies: Continue reading “Is God the Father Mad, Bad or Good?”
Was Jesus’ self-sacrifice a payment?
The concept of price has many connotations, but it is not always related to a payment.
For example, when a soldier pays “the ultimate price” we do not make the illogical leap that somehow his life was a payment to someone. Actions have consequences, and we often refer to a negative consequence as “the price that has to be paid” e.g. if you decide to have offspring, then you will need to nurture and care for them for at least 18 years. That is the “price you pay” for having children. But there is no transaction, no payment to anyone.
So when something (freedom, peace etc) has been “bought at a price” it does not mean literally that some type of exchange or transaction took place. Continue reading “Price, Payment and the Transactional Trap”
References to Christ as a sin offering, a ransom, an atoning sacrifice, a passover lamb prove nothing about wrath or punishment
Proof Texts Unchecked
The arguments for PSA rely heavily on the same set of Bible verses. What is clear is that most of these are generic and common to all atonement theories. References to Christ as a sin offering, a ransom, an atoning sacrifice, a passover lamb prove nothing about wrath or punishment. These verses are also embraced within Ransom theory, Recapitulation, Scapegoat theory etc. Yet, despite their commonality across Atonement Theories, they are constantly traipsed out and used in defence of PSA. That Christ was pierced for our transgressions is universally acknowledged by all atonement theories, and so to bring it into the argument for PSA is surely an act of wilful misleading. Continue reading “What proponents of Penal Substitutionary Atonement (PSA) Theory need to address”