What to do with an atoning/non atoning Jesus?

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  • @Kwesi
    Your comment is welcome and even exciting. I say that because in his latest A Marginal Jew book John P. Meier, writing on the parables, finds that the Parable of the Tenants (Mark 12:1-8 being the oldest text) is one of the few parables that stands up to the strictest tests of authenticity -- that is, it can reliably be linked to Jesus himself using the strictest historical criteria.*

    Be that as it may, it is exciting to realize that Jesus apparently told this parable to the very Temple authorities who were plotting his death, thus letting them know that he knew they were out to kill him!
    ____________
    *A bit too strict, I find, though I greatly admire Meier.
  • That's how I understand it. Jesus didn't.
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    I find myself tending more and more to the Orthodox understanding (assuming I understand it properly) that the the atonement is in the whole of the Incarnation, life and ministry, passion and crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus.

    And the sitting at the Right Hand, and the second and glorious coming.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    I find myself tending more and more to the Orthodox understanding (assuming I understand it properly) that the the atonement is in the whole of the Incarnation, life and ministry, passion and crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus.

    And the sitting at the Right Hand, and the second and glorious coming.
    Thanks!

  • At our old church for a time one of the bishops imposed a translation that included the absurd line, "second and glorious coming again." Apparently it more closely follows the Slavonic, but in the Slavonic it's emphatic, not absurd, and isn't meant to be translated wordmeal.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited August 2019
    @Bishops Finger
    Can you contribute anything of actual value to the discussion?

    It's a moot point as to whether this thread is actually a 'discussion', and whether it contains anything of 'actual value', at all.
    :grimace:

    The answer to your rather impertinent question is probably 'No'.

  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Perhaps if you yourself had read me more carefully you would have seen that I am not as much "into" PSA as you thought?
    Please find a post where I said you’re “into” PSA. I’d be surprised if you found such a post, because I didn’t have that impression.

    Martin54 said (in a response to you):
    Martin54 wrote: »
    You and I are about the only ones here, if not the only ones here, who despite our liberalism, see Jesus fulfilling His culture's PSA expectations in faithful enculturated ignorance, despite and because of His divine nature.
    I responded:
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Well, that may be because I think, Martin, you’re the only one around here who thinks his culture had PSA (or at least full-blown PSA as currently understood) expectations to start with. :wink:
    I’ll grant that “you’re,” which can be singular or plural, may not have been as clear as it could have been, and I apologize if it wasn’t clear. But by “you” I meant Martin54, not Martin54 and you (as indicated by naming Martin and by the singular “one” and “who thinks”).

    You then responded:
    Here, Martin, I will both attack and defend you. I'm not sure how thoroughly Jesus' culture was into "full-blown PSA," as Nick Tamen puts it, but one would have to wonder how they and he understood Isaiah 53:5
    And that—Martin54’s claim and particularly your statement that “one would have to wonder how they and he understood Isaiah 53:5”—set the context for my exploration of the Hebrew used in Isaiah 53:5 (and the Greek used to translate it in the Septuagint) and for my further posts on the subject.
    Kwesi wrote: »
    If the issue is the atonement then I tend towards the proposition of Martin54 that the "incarnation was the atonement."
    I find myself tending more and more to the Orthodox understanding (assuming I understand it properly) that the the atonement is in the whole of the Incarnation, life and ministry, passion and crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus.

    Sorry, missed the context: That's how I understand it. Jesus didn't.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited August 2019
    @Martin54
    I don't know why you continue to question me about my questions. They are somewhat rhetorical, though honest and, if answered affirmatively, each of them is intended to suggest that the historical Jesus was indeed influenced by Isaiah 53.

    You and I may consider that to be obvious, but believe me, it is probably a minority opinion among most historical Jesus scholars, including the following six excellent historical Jesus scholars, all of whom I hold in high regard. Four of them reject it.

    E. P. Sanders, Paula Fredriksen, Bart Ehrman, Reza Aslan, Dale C. Allison, John P. Meier.

    So why do you ask it? They weigh nothing. Trying to put oneself in the ancient Jewish enculturated, fully human mind of Jesus who rightly knew Himself to be God's only begotten son, perichoretic in His human nature with divinity is what you and I are badly struggling to do. It's obvious to primitives like ourselves - a savage, me - and cannot be gainsaid by anyone here, O or just o, or in academe, that Jesus could not not see Himself as the fulfilment of all Messianic 'prophecy'. Even when there is none. None. Regardless of the Nickpicking that Jesus wasn't an Augustinean thru' Westb'ro' PSA God-the-killer damnationist, He was. With - unlike them - a divine nature. He even continued in the totally human pareidolia - which is nonetheless valid - for the benefit of His audience after His transcendence, on the road to Emmaus. They got it. They got Him. How else?

    As far as I can tell in my depthless ignorance, I'm the only person actually saying that. Me. A 65 year old mediocrity - in fact I can't even do that. In my home office in sunny Leicester. You're on the cusp. Get over it. Nobody here will ever agree with us. They're too nice and smart and sane. Me and thee, broken, down in gutter, we know.
  • @Martin54 - a scintillating post, even though I don't understand half of it (and please don't ask me which half!)...
    :grin:
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited August 2019
    I forgot to add that it might be interesting, and, possibly, even instructive, to learn what @James Boswell II has to say about what @Martin54 has written above.

    BTW, 'Incarnation = Atonement' somehow seems to ring true, though I have no idea how I might expound on it in, say, a Sunday homily!
  • @Bishops Finger
    Thanks for at least trying to contribute something of value!
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited August 2019
    Please would you stop making such personal, insulting, and impertinent, comments?

    I'm asking politely, in Christian Love™, not wishing to incur Hostly wrath, and/or sanctions.

    You really would do well to heed advice to answer other posters, by discussing what they have said.


  • No, I really meant that. :smile:
  • @Martin54
    Well, I guess I don't mind being put down there with thee, Martin, in thy/our depthless ignorance as we lie in the gutter, broken, etc.

    But as for no one agreeing with me, I will remind you that there was/is an Episcopalian woman who strongly agreed/agrees with my radically human, "radically incarnated" presentation of Jesus, especially with regard to the matter of atonement, wherein she found my struggling thoughts on it helpful in actually renewing her faith and contributing to her spiritual understanding of Jesus!

    But that was with regard to fiction, where I can accomplish things I can't accomplish here.
  • @Bishops Finger
    Further clarification: I was attempting to be a bit humorous about your admission that understanding Martin is not always easy!

    Also, I had already responded to @Martin54 and posted it before I saw your suggestion that I do that.

    I may yet do some more in-depth, in-gutter thinking and say still more -- maybe. :smile:
  • @Bishops Finger
    But do let me say this, as a matter of further clarification. I found your lol (:lol:) response to what I sincerely said to @Barnabas62 yesterday impertinent.

    It was then that I questioned whether you had anything of value to add.

    So now -- let us proceed with greater civility.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited August 2019
    No.

    I prefer not to 'proceed', as I think this thread has nothing to say that has not already been said.
  • And that is said "politely, in Christian Love™"?
  • Yes.
  • [This appeared on another thread, but can appropriately be placed here.]

    @Enoch wrote: »

    What on earth does "group incarnationality" mean?
    ____________

    @Martin54 wrote: »

    Incarnationality as a group. Seeing God in self and others as an inclusive group without limit.
    _________

    @James Boswell II wrote: »
    Now that, I would say, is an excellent definition of "group incartionality."

    It fits rather well with a saying of Yeshu bar Yosef in Mark 10:43-45:

    "You know that among the nations, people compete with one another and seek to rule over one another. It must not be like that with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

    That is the Markan version of John 3:16, but it is far more difficult both to say and attempt to follow.
  • :lol:

    I think this is impertinent.
  • Also from that other thread:
    @Raptor Eye who said:

    "And so, so easy to talk about 'them over there, who are not getting it right'..."
    _____________

    Strange. If there is another scripture that constantly reminds me that it is I who am not getting it right, I don't know what it is.
  • @mousethief
    Actually, you're right. I really should not have given @Bishops Finger an lol (:lol:) just because he gave me one. That's not turning the other cheek or being a servant.

    See? I'm not getting it right.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited August 2019
    Nobody does. But some get it more not right than others.
  • @Martin54
    Yes, there are some people who are amazingly kind and gentle and exemplify what it really is all about.

    It saddens me that we cannot come here and discuss a subject which actually should delight us all, no matter what we think about it, without getting so crossed up with one another.

    Let's all try better.

    (By the way, this will be my second Sunday discussing my ideas with a United Methodist church class of interested readers. Last Sunday was especially encouraging, and I hope tomorrow will be. May it be.)
  • No mate, it's not 'their' responsibility. It's ours. You and I must try better. Those opposing a dialectical synthesis, an entrenched position of 1900 years, can only do so inclusively, kindly (just like I do...….n't). We can and never will change anyone's mind on this, so we must be kind and gentle. And I fail more than any in this. I'm unpleasantly compulsive, confrontational, reactive to the point of utterly alienating many here.

    You and I know rationally, in our brokenness, that their emperor has no clothes. That the haemorrhagingly bleedin' obvious is in THEIR blindspot. Jesus was the PSA in His own eyes. THEY are a bit YECist about it all. What, therefore, are we missing? You and I?
  • I suggest that both of you may be missing the point that you may, both of you, on occasions, be WRONG.
  • Nope. No may be about it. But not in this regard. Not if Jesus was fully human.
  • Well, that is rather a big 'IF', no?

    However, your admission that you are wrong on occasions, for that is how I read you, is both gracious, and welcome.
    :wink:
  • Not really a big IF. Surely this is orthodox Christian theology.
    What these two are doing, as far as I can bear to follow this thread, is parse it out to their mutual satisfaction. One is oblique and the other tendentious, but the gist of what they are trying to arrive at is not new. Just sometimes forgotten.
  • O yes - orthodox Christian theology, indeed, though still perhaps a legitimate subject for debate, but you are right as to the gist of this thread.

    Which (I am afraid) is like a very slow train-crash, from which it is difficult to tear one's eyes...
    :scream:
  • Whooo-WHOOOOOOO!!!!
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited August 2019
    Well, that is rather a big 'IF', no?

    However, your admission that you are wrong on occasions, for that is how I read you, is both gracious, and welcome.
    :wink:

    To err is human. Just like Jesus did. As Cathscats said, it's theology 101. Not even a lower case if. I can't see anything in the texts that refutes the glaringly obvious Jesus PSA narrative. There's that dreadfully resonant line from System Of A Down's awesome Chop Suey, out of context but... not: 'self righteous suicide'. It can be levelled with a bitter take on Jesus. One I don't have. Not even in my darkest moments. As His divinely faithful ignorant humanity makes sense of His inescapable fulfilment of the destiny that isn't there: He's not in the OT. Not forwards. Not prophesied. There is no such thing as prophecy. Apart from divine common sense. He's in it if you look down the wrong end of the telescope. As He did. Born in to that milieu, how could He not? How could His perichoretic transcendent nature completely overcome the epistemology of His culture? He did a divinely natured, inspired, inspirated, sufficient job of breaking up through the concrete hardened crust of Bronze Age morality. But how could He not believe in God the Killer? The God of the OT? Did His transcendent nature turn Him in to a deconstructed liberal despite the fact that narrative didn't exist on Earth? And He knowingly decided to go through with the charade regardless? Nonsense.
  • Martin54 wrote: »
    I can't see anything in the texts that refutes the glaringly obvious Jesus PSA narrative.
    Martin, serious question: What exactly do you mean by “PSA.” Because I don’t think PSA is necessarily “glaringly obvious” in the text.

    I’m not saying at all that it can’t be supported by the text. It can, but so can lots of other understandings of atonement. And it’s noteworthy to me that PSA is not what the early church seems to have seen, at least not primarily.
    But how could He not believe in God the Killer?
    Again, what exactly do you mean by God the Killer? I mean, it’s a catchy turn of phrase designed to get attention, but when you say it, what exactly are you trying to say about the nature of God?


  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited August 2019
    By PSA I don't mean the Western Augustinean literalism taken up by Protestants. I mean the simplistic, erroneous, cognitively biased, inevitable, unavoidable reading of the text that Jesus did that made Him set Himself up to die for many.

    The way post-Pauline, post-Jewish, Greco-Roman church couldn't, wouldn't see it. There must be a good linguistic, cultural reason for that. For that blind spot.

    By the God the Killer I mean the terribly beautiful evolving monster of the Old Testament. That we made up. Because God is not God. He is virtually none of the metaphors, attributes used in the Bible in any contemporary meaningful way. I can't think of any actually. Apart from the demonstration of love as, in, of, through Christ, by incarnation. Nothing else at all. Can you? I can only think of attributes of His nature apart from everything else Biblical, based on His interaction with the world now, which consists of His thinking it and nothing else but yearning back at it, but that's probably just our projection. He is impassible after all. Only those, that. He's the ground of being if He exists. Added to the incarnation. Which is His only non-passive type of act.
  • KwesiKwesi Shipmate
    Martin54: What, therefore, are we missing? You and I?
    Coherence?

    An argument?

    If your assertion is that incarnation equals atonement, then are you not saying that atonement preceded the death of Christ? Where does that leave PSA, which is utterly crucicentric and marginalises both the incarnation and the resurrection.

    I also have problems with your seeming assumption that PSA is intrinsic to the "bronze-age" religion of Judaism, because whatever technology was associated with its religious development human sacrifice, perfect or blemished, was not part of the script- as the story of Abraham and Isaac was clearly meant to demonstrate.

    As for what Jesus thought, let me once again refer you to the parable of the Vineyard Tenants, where it is quite clear Jesus indicates his death is not demanded by his father, was not punishment for sin, but was perpetrated by the tenants for their sinful material ends.

    We love you, Martin, but you can be so frustrating at times, and the dogmatic presentation of your arguments can appear disrespectful and inconsiderate of other points of view, which I'm sure you don't intend.

  • Martin54 wrote: »
    By PSA I don't mean the Western Augustinean literalism taken up by Protestants. I mean the simplistic, erroneous, cognitively biased, inevitable, unavoidable reading of the text that Jesus did that made Him set Himself up to die for many.
    In other words, you’re using PSA to mean something other than PSA/penal substitutionary atonement. And you know you’re using it to mean something other than what it actually means. And you expect all of us to know that you’re using Martin’s Own Idiosyncratic definition, not the actual definition?

    And then you lament that nobody but you can see that the emperor has no clothes on.

    The way post-Pauline, post-Jewish, Greco-Roman church couldn't, wouldn't see it. There must be a good linguistic, cultural reason for that. For that blind spot.
    Yeah, but they did all see that Jesus believed he had to die for many/all, and they believed he had to as well. What they didn’t necessarily see was penal substitutionary atonement, which for some silly reason is what I thought you were talking about when you insisted PSA was embedded in the OT and in Jesus’s culture.

    By the God the Killer I mean the terribly beautiful evolving monster of the Old Testament. That we made up. Because God is not God. He is virtually none of the metaphors, attributes used in the Bible in any contemporary meaningful way. I can't think of any actually. Apart from the demonstration of love as, in, of, through Christ, by incarnation. Nothing else at all. Can you?
    Yes. You’ve asked before, and I’ve told you before. I could start with the psalms, maybe Psalms 23 in particular, but plenty of others, too. Then there are the prophets—Isaiah, Micah and others. Or the book of Jonah. The OT is full of references to God’s love, God’s mercy, God’s desire for justice and righteousness, God’s concern for the oppressed, and the like.

    I’m not denying at all that the God who slays the firstborn of the Egyptians or the Canaanites is also in the OT. But I think to see only that in the OT requires a very superficial and selective reading.
  • Nick. Brother. Then there are hair's breadths of difference in take and most of those are illusory and all my fault.

    Western church PSA from Augustine on comes from a wooden, uninspired, literal interpretation of the Bible. The Eastern church doesn't have that epistemological error. It's aged out in the Roman church, been swamped by other error, but poisonously blossomed in the Reformed.

    As I've said before, unclearly obviously, Jesus seeing that 'he had to die for many/all' is a 'PSA' theory for, to me. And as you say the church believed that. So they're all 'PSA'.

    Jesus didn't have to die for any atonement theory. None of them is anything but metaphor of the time. None of them is so. Including His. My atonement theory, my metaphor of my time, is that He had to die to be resurrected to get our attention, to be the only possible manifestation of God's love beyond impassibly immanently grounding all (eternal, infinite) being including the transcendent. Nothing else could begin to challenge the rational necessity of there being no need for God. For hope.

    As for the silver lining of God on His dark clouds, both "R" Us. A false dichotomy. Evolving human projection of our idealized selves. They are not God as He is, which is easily derived from a rational apo/kataphatic approach to the premiss that despite no belief in Him being rationally necessary, He is in fact the ground of being (which rationally needs no ground but itself, just like Him, but without the additional infinite meaningful complexity on the already infinitely meaninglessly complex).

    God as He is is seen by us through a single completely human pre-modern window against the backdrop of the eternal uncaring infinite stars.
  • Martin54 wrote: »
    As I've said before, unclearly obviously, Jesus seeing that 'he had to die for many/all' is a 'PSA' theory for, to me. And as you say the church believed that. So they're all 'PSA'.
    Words actually have meaning, Martin. They’re not all PSA. They’re just not. You’ve just said the Eastern Church doesn’t have this “epistemological error,” but they certainly believe Jesus “had to die for many/all.” So if it’s not PSA for them, why is it for everyone else?

    It’s a basic problem, Martin. You’ve used a term and given it a meaning different from its actual meaning. And then you complain about how nobody gets it but you.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited August 2019
    As I said Nick, they're all 'PSA' to me. They just are. Like Jesus'.
  • Kwesi wrote: »
    Martin54: What, therefore, are we missing? You and I?
    Coherence?

    An argument?

    (1) If your assertion is that incarnation equals atonement, then are you not saying that atonement preceded the death of Christ? Where does that leave PSA, which is utterly crucicentric and marginalises both the incarnation and the resurrection.

    (2) I also have problems with your seeming assumption that PSA is intrinsic to the "bronze-age" religion of Judaism, because whatever technology was associated with its religious development human sacrifice, perfect or blemished, was not part of the script- as the story of Abraham and Isaac was clearly meant to demonstrate.

    (3) As for what Jesus thought, let me once again refer you to the parable of the Vineyard Tenants, where it is quite clear Jesus indicates his death is not demanded by his father, was not punishment for sin, but was perpetrated by the tenants for their sinful material ends.

    (4) We love you, Martin, but you can be so frustrating at times, and the dogmatic presentation of your arguments can appear disrespectful and inconsiderate of other points of view, which I'm sure you don't intend.

    (1) No.

    The atonement is in the conception, birth, life, death and resurrection, i.e. the full Monte incarnation.

    (2) True. But irrelevant. It's a Bronze Age act. A Bronze Age story. A Bronze Age morality acted out 1200 years after the Collapse.

    (3) Not my will. And not a particularly good metaphor for how Jesus behaved.

    (4) I love me too ; ) The points of view are actually incoherent if they are predicated in any way upon the need for a man to die for my salvation. As you said.
  • KwesiKwesi Shipmate
    Martin54 As I said Nick, they're all 'PSA' to me. They just are. Like Jesus'.

    I can see how a spade might be a certain type of shovel, but it's not a hoe or a fork. If we can't have generally accepted definitions we can't have an intelligent discussion.

    ISTM, Martin54, that Nick has patiently demonstrated that theories you claim to be PSA are not, and I believe you should accept his explanation or demonstrate why he is mistaken. He deserves more than dogmatic dismissal.
  • Martin54 wrote: »
    As I said Nick, they're all 'PSA' to me. They just are. Like Jesus'.
    Then you’re demonstrating you don’t have a fairly basic understanding of what you claim to be the authority on.

    Martin54 wrote: »
    The atonement is in the conception, birth, life, death and resurrection, i.e. the full Monte incarnation.
    Ah, so “Incarnation” has been given a new meaning, too, and includes resurrection now. That’s helpful to know.

    Forgive me if I think this hasn’t enhanced the credibility of your arguments, however dogmatically put forth.

  • That's not a new meaning at all. And what is the fairly basic understanding I don't have?
  • “Incarnation” means “taking on flesh”—the idea that a divine being or spirit becomes human. Life and perhaps death might be considered logical consequences of incarnation, but not necessarily. In Christian theology, the Incarnation generally refers to the Word becoming flesh in Jesus, who was/is fully human and fully God. I’ve never heard anyone use it to refer to the death/crucifixion of Jesus, much less the resurrection. The creeds treat those as separate things.

    Can you cite a source that treats the resurrection as included in “Incarnation”? I’d be interested to see it; I can’t think of one.

    And the fairly basic understanding is that Jesus thinking he has to die for many/all and PSA are the same thing. They’re not. PSA is one way—and only one out of many ways—to try to explain why and how Jesus’s death made any difference. Jesus and the early church could have quite well believed he had to die for many/all without PSA ever entering the picture.
  • I don't need to cite, Nick. My usage is valid. As you concede. Thinking that you have to die instead of others, for others, to pay the penalty of their sin, have to be tortured and bled to death, poured out, sacrificed, thy will be done is not PSA in the mind of Jesus for you and the vast majority. Fine. It looks like PSA in the mind of Jesus to me. Which is at least as valid as any other view of His view. Any other metanarrative. I don't, of course, subscribe to any atonement theory. Except my own.

    How about this citation?

    Philippians 2:7-8
    7 ... [He] emptied himself,
    taking the form of a slave,
    being born in human likeness.
    And being found in human form,
    8 he humbled himself
    and became obedient to the point of death—
    even death on a cross.
  • And in the Resurrection He was incarnate, was He not? Flesh. Amongst transcendent other things.
  • That doesn’t cut it Martin. I asked for a citation, an example, where the word “Incarnation” is used in a way that includes the resurrection.

    And I did not concede that your usage is valid. I conceded that “incarnation” might, but does not necessarily, contemplate the inclusion of death, because humans die. (But then there's Moses, Elijah and, per some, Mary, and per others, the Rapture). I did not concede that incarnation might include resurrection.
    Martin54 wrote: »
    And in the Resurrection He was incarnate, was He not? Flesh. Amongst transcendent other things.
    So what? That doesn't mean Incarnation=Resurrection. Being a human who has died may be a prerequisite to resurrection, but resurrection is not a necessary consequence of being human.

    In other words, I don't know of anyone who would assume that when you say "the Incarnation," that includes the Resurrection. Unless, as I asked, you can cite an example where it does.
  • Fine. Cite me.
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