Saturday, March 25, 2017

An Atonement Theory for the Paradigm Shift Part II; In a student union coffee shop

I want to continue this series with a brief story. Several years back, I was waiting for someone in the Alameda College, Student Union Coffee Shop in Alameda CA. when I lived in the SF Bay Area. I was going to be there an hour or better and was sipping coffee and reading a book. A group of students and their instructor came in and took the large table adjacent to me. It turned out that they were on break from a comparative religions class. I was reading and *ear hustling* their conversation as they were discussing creation myths. Of course, they included the account in Genesis 3 as equal with all of the others, including the one of Gilgamesh and the Enuma Elish.

Not surprisingly, if you know me at all, I could not keep my tongue, and asked if they minded if I get into their discussion and naturally they said yes. I went on to tell them my observation about the creation myth in Genesis. (Remember Paul saying that he became all things to all people) I did not want to discuss the merit of the Genesis account in relation to the others based upon my view of the bible. I merely wanted to make an observation about the Genesis account in Gen 3.

Here is the observation that I shared
"Isn't it interesting that the creation myth in Genesis is the only one that describes the source of human pathology?" I went on to tell them that the sentence of death and the knowledge of good and evil are precisely the cause of all of our problems. The reason is that death produced the survival instinct, which in turn begat greed. Add to that the knowledge of good and evil and one is given the tools to justify greed. It is very easy to reason ourselves as good and the other as evil. Societies have been doing that throughout time. It is the source of wars, crime, and every other manner of human pathology. I prefer the term pathology to sin for two reasons. 1) Sin has a connotation among evangelicals that does not square with the biblical concept of missing the mark, and 2) It is an inherited pathogen, i.e., very akin to a disease, a spiritual disease but a disease non the less.

So, instead of a penal-substitutional atonement theory, I have discovered that the biblical data supports a victory-atonement theory whereby, Jesus by his perfect faith, overcame the pathology. He was convinced that he was eternal, and thereby, was willing to die to prove it, and in so doing overcame death. Likewise, his faith allowed him to believe all that the Father told him, and the Father told him that he loved him dearly as his first born son. All who believe this message, receive the Holy Spirit who enables them to believe that they too have overcome death, and the knowledge of good and evil. They have overcome death because they are assured of their eternal life, and they have overcome the knowledge of good and evil because they can now believe that they are loved and accepted by the Father.

It is possible to believe God's original declaration found in Genesis 1:31.... all of his creation is very good. That is the purpose of the gospel and it was God's plan from before the foundation of the world. He purposed that by this plan, all would praise his glorious grace.

Here is a link to Part 1 Comments welcomed!

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