Christian incarnation and atonement
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13-04-2014, 04:55 PM
Christian incarnation and atonement
So this was my research paper topic last week, and below is my submission in my ongoing christian spirituality vision class where I am having quite the good time educating the faithful, tactfully dismantling the instructors discussion points with wild abandon, and maintaining an A the whole time of course hehe.

The relationship between incarnation and atonement

To contemplate the relationship between incarnation and atonement, with special emphasis on Anselm’s idea of satisfaction, we must first look at what incarnation and atonement means to those of the Christian faith. Incarnation is continual in that our redemption depends on the reality that the eternal son of God came to us as a man. If he did not come fully down, then we are not fully saved (Dawson 5-6). Since Jesus became what we are, accepting our very humanity and God crossed the gap between human and deity, and he overcame our sin and came to live on our behalf. He chose to leave a faithful life that was beyond our capacity, but required by the Father.

The very obedience of Jesus led him to die on the cross as penalty for human sin. Not only did he die for us, but he gave us new life for salvation, and salvation depends on our continuing union with him. The Incarnation is basically a fundamental theological teaching of Christianity, based on its understanding of the New Testament. The Incarnation represents the Christian belief that Jesus, who is the second part of the triune, God, took on a human body and became both man and deity. This can be seen in the Bible in John 1:14: "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us” (Bible – King James version – John). The Christians worldview is rooted in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the belief that Jesus is God in human in one person (Mueller 141).

Atonement is a theological theory which describes human being’s reconciliation with God. This atonement is basically the forgiveness of sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus. This voluntary sacrifice by Jesus made possible the reconciliation between man and God. “God so loved the world, and gave his only begotten son” (Bible – King James version – John 3:16). This Scripture verse highlights the source of atonement by the very provision of God’s love. It is the love of God the father that Paul has in view when he speaks of him who “spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all” (Bible – King James version – Romans 8:32). Surely God could have saved man by other means then allowing his only son to die, since God is all-powerful, other ways of forgiving sin were available to him. Some view the very necessity of his great self-sacrifice magnified his glory and enhanced the precise character of the salvation bestowed (Murray 12). Salvation requires not only the forgiveness of sin but also justification. Sin is the contradiction of God he must react against it with holy wrath demonstration of Christ on the cross is the ultimate demonstration of the love of God. The very nature of the atonement requires that it contains obedience, sacrifice, propitiation, reconciliation and redemption.

Obedience is a compilation of motive, purpose, direction and intention, of which Christ was the epitome of obedience discharge of God’s will in its increasing demands leading up to his inevitable sacrificial death. Sacrifice is the removal of sin liability via the transference of liability itself. Propitiation; to pacify, and Christ’s propitiation to God was to deal with the wrath so that those loved would no longer be the objects of wrath, and God’s love would be eternal. Reconciliation is concerned with our alienation from God, and the inherent need to have that alienation removed. Redemption by Jesus’ blood, “Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Bible – King James version – revelations 5:9).

This atonement can be broken down into various theories, one of which is the satisfaction theory of atonement, developed by Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109). Anselm posited that sin unbalanced the order of justice in the universe. Once a sin has been performed, something good must be done in order to restore the balance. For example, a sin is incurrence of debt to God, the source of order, and that debt must be paid through true repentance (Albl 271). The work of Christ is to repair the breach human sin introduced into the relationship between humanity and God. Anselm argued in Cur Deus Homo that this work can be accomplished only by a God-man; one person equally divine and human. This doctrine of Christ is commonly called “Chalcedonian Christology” because it was created by the Council of Chalcedon in 451 CE (Visser 213).

One cannot explain the incarnation by appeal to any supposed obligation on God’s part to respect the devil’s rights over humanity. Since the devil had no such rights, so it appears that God would not have been acting unjustly if he had just delivered human beings the power of the devil by fiat. What reason did God have to redeemed mankind and the way he did, given that he was not under any obligation to do so? Anselm suggests that since we know God’s will is never irrational, we can be confident that God had some reason for doing what he did, even if we do not see or understand what the reason is (Visser 214).

Anselm believed he could prove, by unavoidable logical steps, that Christ was removed from the case, as if there had never existed anything to do with him, is it possible that without him mankind could have been saved (Anselm 261 – 262). A foundation of Christianity is that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins (Bible – King James version –1 Cor 15:3). In this way he fulfilled the old covenant sacrificial system, reconciled us to God, and changed our lives forever. This is the doctrine of the atonement (Mattison 1). At this point the author makes a faith claim, or commonly known as a knowledge claim, by positing “its reality is not in dispute”. I must interject here the whole subject is in dispute, and has been the center of debate for centuries. The author’s mere assertion in a knowledge claim that the atonement “reality” is not in dispute does not make it true. It does however assert that the atonement theory is an essential foundation of Christian religious belief. The author goes on to say, “we know that the atonement works; but how it works is not as clear.” Again, a knowledge claim is made; we have zero proof that the atonement works, at best it is a comforting theory for the faithful to cling to in order to validate their faith to themselves.

“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Bible –King James version – Matthew 20:28). The statement suggests that Jesus gave his life as an extreme expression of love for mankind. Iranaeus of Lyons argued that Jesus was paid as the ransom to the devil free people’s souls. This view was known as the ransom or classic theory. The ransom theory was the dominant theological theory for centuries until dismantled by Anselm of Canterbury. He pointed out that this theory empowered the devil too much, and he posited that Jesus’s life was ransom paid to God, not the devil. Anselm viewed sin as dishonorable conduct that went against God. Since God cannot ignore this conduct, a debt or “satisfaction” is required. Since mankind is unable to make the requisite level of satisfaction, God became human to do it on our behalf. Thus, Jesus was payment to God, not the devil. But since Jesus was part of the triune god, did god merely appease himself?

The church leaders developed doctrine to reflect Jesus Christ’s fulfilling of God’s will through active obedience, vice his passive obedience through death. Basically, God requires mankind to obey and live a life of perpetual obedience (Mattison 1). This endless cycle of perpetual intellectual and spiritual slavery upon birth, where we continuously strive to bow and scrape in deference to our alleged creator’s self-centered will and ego, is hardly what a thinking person would presume a deity of such universe and life creating power, would be so obsessed with. What kind of immature supreme being would create all of this, create life, destroy life, send part of his own “body” down in the form of a man through immaculate conception, so he can die on our behalf to satisfy God’s ego requirement for sacrifice. I don’t purport to understand the consciousness of this alleged magical creature, but it is hard to conceive such childish, disingenuous manipulation of life for the entertainment of itself. This dramatic, over thought, contrite, anthropocentric theory must meet the creation of man’s imagination. How could it be anything else?

In summary, this complex, dramatic Christian theological concept is obviously a fabrication of much thought, and introspective philosophy. Perhaps they could have put all that time and effort into something more constructive. Creating a subservient, subjugative crutch for people with low mental resilience, apparent inability to use reason and logic to comprehend the world around them, and wild imaginations seems unnecessary. In my opinion, religion and faith block the believer’s ability to utilize appropriate epistemological methods to process and gain knowledge. As apparent by the fact that a recent study showed that one fourth of America believed the sun revolved around the earth. This is the perfect example of how religious thought handicaps a person’s ability to learn.


Works Cited:

Mattison, Mark. “The Meaning of the Atonement.” Mark Mattison. 1987. Web. Retrieved from http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/openhse/atonement.html

Anselm, Evans, G. R., The Major Works. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc, 1998. Print.

Visser, Sandra and Williams, Thomas, Anselm. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc, 2009. Print.

Murray, John, The Atonement. Evansville: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1976. Print.

Mueller, J.J., Theological Foundations: Concepts and Methods for Understanding the Christian Faith. Winona: Anselm Academic, Christian Brothers Publications, 2011. Print.

Albl, Martin C. Reason, Faith, and Tradition: Explorations in Catholic Theology. Winona: Anselm Academic, Christian Brothers Publications, 2009. Print.

The Catholic Study Bible: The New American Bible 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University press, Inc., 2011. Print.

Dawson, Gerrit S. Jesus Ascended: The Meaning of Christ’s Continuing Incarnation. New Jersey: P&R publishing, 2004. Print.

---------------------------------------------------------
thoughts? comments? Drooling

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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13-04-2014, 06:15 PM
RE: Christian incarnation and atonement
Well written.

This is one of my favourite topics. I think the truth about this is that Jesus, if he ever existed, was just a Jewish guy who tried to start an insurrection in Jerusalem, was spectacularly unsuccessful, and was killed by the Romans. All the theological bullshit was made up by St Paul and church fathers many years later. Here's how I introduce Paul's theology in my book.

Paul’s theology is strange, and very contrived. (http://www.sullivan-county.com/id2/paul_theo.htm). Numerous scholars have discussed aspects of it at great length, yet often still disagreed about what Paul may have meant. Despite that, it’s important to get the drift of his key ideas.

Paul contended that his Christ was divine and existed in heaven before taking on a human form and living on earth. How this Christ got to earth he doesn’t say, as he provides no birth story. He did, however, claim that Christ had a human father—
“Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh” (Rom. 1:3–4, KJV)—which is inconsistent with his claim that Jesus was the son of God, because it’s impossible to have two fathers. Paul was frequently inconsistent.

He had an almost fanatical and rather morbid obsession with sin. He asserted everyone was born with the stain of original sin, inherited from their parents. (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?sea...sion=KJV). According to him, sin offended Yahweh, who would forgive people only when offered a blood sacrifice, a primitive idea that was a common belief among Jews of the time (although not the Essenes.) Indeed, they slaughtered cattle and other animals on a titanic scale in the temple to tempt Yahweh into forgiving their sins.

Paul had a highly original and rather odd theory. He claimed that his Christ had offered his life to God so that people would be pardoned for their sins. His Christ therefore became a blood sacrifice; just like a slaughtered animal. This notion is now known as the doctrine for the atonement of sin through the sacrificial death of Jesus. Paul claimed that his Christ then rose from the dead, which in his mind proved God accepted Christ’s sacrifice on humanity’s behalf.

Paul asserted that Christ went back up to heaven, but would be coming back soon to take all believers in this scheme up to heaven too. Even those believers who had already died (at the time of his writing) would be raised from the dead to join the other believers in heaven. Hence all who had “faith in Christ,” would be “saved” and achieve “salvation.” He proposed that the primary purpose of existence was to get into heaven by becoming “one with Christ,” and thereby receive the “gift of eternal life.” (Romans 6;23.) According to Paul, anyone who didn’t have faith in Christ couldn’t be saved. This rather contrived, complicated and confusing scheme became known as the doctrine of justification by faith. These are the core ideas of Paul’s theology, and of today’s Christianity.
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13-04-2014, 06:21 PM
RE: Christian incarnation and atonement
(13-04-2014 06:15 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Well written.

This is one of my favourite topics. I think the truth about this is that Jesus, if he ever existed, was just a Jewish guy who tried to start an insurrection in Jerusalem, was spectacularly unsuccessful, and was killed by the Romans. All the theological bullshit was made up by St Paul and church fathers many years later. Here's how I introduce Paul's theology in my book.

Paul’s theology is strange, and very contrived. (http://www.sullivan-county.com/id2/paul_theo.htm). Numerous scholars have discussed aspects of it at great length, yet often still disagreed about what Paul may have meant. Despite that, it’s important to get the drift of his key ideas.

Paul contended that his Christ was divine and existed in heaven before taking on a human form and living on earth. How this Christ got to earth he doesn’t say, as he provides no birth story. He did, however, claim that Christ had a human father—
“Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh” (Rom. 1:3–4, KJV)—which is inconsistent with his claim that Jesus was the son of God, because it’s impossible to have two fathers. Paul was frequently inconsistent.

He had an almost fanatical and rather morbid obsession with sin. He asserted everyone was born with the stain of original sin, inherited from their parents. (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?sea...sion=KJV). According to him, sin offended Yahweh, who would forgive people only when offered a blood sacrifice, a primitive idea that was a common belief among Jews of the time (although not the Essenes.) Indeed, they slaughtered cattle and other animals on a titanic scale in the temple to tempt Yahweh into forgiving their sins.

Paul had a highly original and rather odd theory. He claimed that his Christ had offered his life to God so that people would be pardoned for their sins. His Christ therefore became a blood sacrifice; just like a slaughtered animal. This notion is now known as the doctrine for the atonement of sin through the sacrificial death of Jesus. Paul claimed that his Christ then rose from the dead, which in his mind proved God accepted Christ’s sacrifice on humanity’s behalf.

Paul asserted that Christ went back up to heaven, but would be coming back soon to take all believers in this scheme up to heaven too. Even those believers who had already died (at the time of his writing) would be raised from the dead to join the other believers in heaven. Hence all who had “faith in Christ,” would be “saved” and achieve “salvation.” He proposed that the primary purpose of existence was to get into heaven by becoming “one with Christ,” and thereby receive the “gift of eternal life.” (Romans 6;23.) According to Paul, anyone who didn’t have faith in Christ couldn’t be saved. This rather contrived, complicated and confusing scheme became known as the doctrine of justification by faith. These are the core ideas of Paul’s theology, and of today’s Christianity.

some great points there Mark, thanks. Bowing

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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13-04-2014, 06:22 PM
RE: Christian incarnation and atonement
(13-04-2014 04:55 PM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  So this was my research paper topic last week, and below is my submission in my ongoing christian spirituality vision class where I am having quite the good time educating the faithful, tactfully dismantling the instructors discussion points with wild abandon, and maintaining an A the whole time of course hehe.

The relationship between incarnation and atonement

To contemplate the relationship between incarnation and atonement, with special emphasis on Anselm’s idea of satisfaction, we must first look at what incarnation and atonement means to those of the Christian faith. Incarnation is continual in that our redemption depends on the reality that the eternal son of God came to us as a man. If he did not come fully down, then we are not fully saved (Dawson 5-6). Since Jesus became what we are, accepting our very humanity and God crossed the gap between human and deity, and he overcame our sin and came to live on our behalf. He chose to leave a faithful life that was beyond our capacity, but required by the Father.

The very obedience of Jesus led him to die on the cross as penalty for human sin. Not only did he die for us, but he gave us new life for salvation, and salvation depends on our continuing union with him. The Incarnation is basically a fundamental theological teaching of Christianity, based on its understanding of the New Testament. The Incarnation represents the Christian belief that Jesus, who is the second part of the triune, God, took on a human body and became both man and deity. This can be seen in the Bible in John 1:14: "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us” (Bible – King James version – John). The Christians worldview is rooted in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the belief that Jesus is God in human in one person (Mueller 141).

Atonement is a theological theory which describes human being’s reconciliation with God. This atonement is basically the forgiveness of sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus. This voluntary sacrifice by Jesus made possible the reconciliation between man and God. “God so loved the world, and gave his only begotten son” (Bible – King James version – John 3:16). This Scripture verse highlights the source of atonement by the very provision of God’s love. It is the love of God the father that Paul has in view when he speaks of him who “spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all” (Bible – King James version – Romans 8:32). Surely God could have saved man by other means then allowing his only son to die, since God is all-powerful, other ways of forgiving sin were available to him. Some view the very necessity of his great self-sacrifice magnified his glory and enhanced the precise character of the salvation bestowed (Murray 12). Salvation requires not only the forgiveness of sin but also justification. Sin is the contradiction of God he must react against it with holy wrath demonstration of Christ on the cross is the ultimate demonstration of the love of God. The very nature of the atonement requires that it contains obedience, sacrifice, propitiation, reconciliation and redemption.

Obedience is a compilation of motive, purpose, direction and intention, of which Christ was the epitome of obedience discharge of God’s will in its increasing demands leading up to his inevitable sacrificial death. Sacrifice is the removal of sin liability via the transference of liability itself. Propitiation; to pacify, and Christ’s propitiation to God was to deal with the wrath so that those loved would no longer be the objects of wrath, and God’s love would be eternal. Reconciliation is concerned with our alienation from God, and the inherent need to have that alienation removed. Redemption by Jesus’ blood, “Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Bible – King James version – revelations 5:9).

This atonement can be broken down into various theories, one of which is the satisfaction theory of atonement, developed by Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109). Anselm posited that sin unbalanced the order of justice in the universe. Once a sin has been performed, something good must be done in order to restore the balance. For example, a sin is incurrence of debt to God, the source of order, and that debt must be paid through true repentance (Albl 271). The work of Christ is to repair the breach human sin introduced into the relationship between humanity and God. Anselm argued in Cur Deus Homo that this work can be accomplished only by a God-man; one person equally divine and human. This doctrine of Christ is commonly called “Chalcedonian Christology” because it was created by the Council of Chalcedon in 451 CE (Visser 213).

One cannot explain the incarnation by appeal to any supposed obligation on God’s part to respect the devil’s rights over humanity. Since the devil had no such rights, so it appears that God would not have been acting unjustly if he had just delivered human beings the power of the devil by fiat. What reason did God have to redeemed mankind and the way he did, given that he was not under any obligation to do so? Anselm suggests that since we know God’s will is never irrational, we can be confident that God had some reason for doing what he did, even if we do not see or understand what the reason is (Visser 214).

Anselm believed he could prove, by unavoidable logical steps, that Christ was removed from the case, as if there had never existed anything to do with him, is it possible that without him mankind could have been saved (Anselm 261 – 262). A foundation of Christianity is that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins (Bible – King James version –1 Cor 15:3). In this way he fulfilled the old covenant sacrificial system, reconciled us to God, and changed our lives forever. This is the doctrine of the atonement (Mattison 1). At this point the author makes a faith claim, or commonly known as a knowledge claim, by positing “its reality is not in dispute”. I must interject here the whole subject is in dispute, and has been the center of debate for centuries. The author’s mere assertion in a knowledge claim that the atonement “reality” is not in dispute does not make it true. It does however assert that the atonement theory is an essential foundation of Christian religious belief. The author goes on to say, “we know that the atonement works; but how it works is not as clear.” Again, a knowledge claim is made; we have zero proof that the atonement works, at best it is a comforting theory for the faithful to cling to in order to validate their faith to themselves.

“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Bible –King James version – Matthew 20:28). The statement suggests that Jesus gave his life as an extreme expression of love for mankind. Iranaeus of Lyons argued that Jesus was paid as the ransom to the devil free people’s souls. This view was known as the ransom or classic theory. The ransom theory was the dominant theological theory for centuries until dismantled by Anselm of Canterbury. He pointed out that this theory empowered the devil too much, and he posited that Jesus’s life was ransom paid to God, not the devil. Anselm viewed sin as dishonorable conduct that went against God. Since God cannot ignore this conduct, a debt or “satisfaction” is required. Since mankind is unable to make the requisite level of satisfaction, God became human to do it on our behalf. Thus, Jesus was payment to God, not the devil. But since Jesus was part of the triune god, did god merely appease himself?

The church leaders developed doctrine to reflect Jesus Christ’s fulfilling of God’s will through active obedience, vice his passive obedience through death. Basically, God requires mankind to obey and live a life of perpetual obedience (Mattison 1). This endless cycle of perpetual intellectual and spiritual slavery upon birth, where we continuously strive to bow and scrape in deference to our alleged creator’s self-centered will and ego, is hardly what a thinking person would presume a deity of such universe and life creating power, would be so obsessed with. What kind of immature supreme being would create all of this, create life, destroy life, send part of his own “body” down in the form of a man through immaculate conception, so he can die on our behalf to satisfy God’s ego requirement for sacrifice. I don’t purport to understand the consciousness of this alleged magical creature, but it is hard to conceive such childish, disingenuous manipulation of life for the entertainment of itself. This dramatic, over thought, contrite, anthropocentric theory must meet the creation of man’s imagination. How could it be anything else?

In summary, this complex, dramatic Christian theological concept is obviously a fabrication of much thought, and introspective philosophy. Perhaps they could have put all that time and effort into something more constructive. Creating a subservient, subjugative crutch for people with low mental resilience, apparent inability to use reason and logic to comprehend the world around them, and wild imaginations seems unnecessary. In my opinion, religion and faith block the believer’s ability to utilize appropriate epistemological methods to process and gain knowledge. As apparent by the fact that a recent study showed that one fourth of America believed the sun revolved around the earth. This is the perfect example of how religious thought handicaps a person’s ability to learn.


Works Cited:

Mattison, Mark. “The Meaning of the Atonement.” Mark Mattison. 1987. Web. Retrieved from http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/openhse/atonement.html

Anselm, Evans, G. R., The Major Works. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc, 1998. Print.

Visser, Sandra and Williams, Thomas, Anselm. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc, 2009. Print.

Murray, John, The Atonement. Evansville: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1976. Print.

Mueller, J.J., Theological Foundations: Concepts and Methods for Understanding the Christian Faith. Winona: Anselm Academic, Christian Brothers Publications, 2011. Print.

Albl, Martin C. Reason, Faith, and Tradition: Explorations in Catholic Theology. Winona: Anselm Academic, Christian Brothers Publications, 2009. Print.

The Catholic Study Bible: The New American Bible 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University press, Inc., 2011. Print.

Dawson, Gerrit S. Jesus Ascended: The Meaning of Christ’s Continuing Incarnation. New Jersey: P&R publishing, 2004. Print.

---------------------------------------------------------
thoughts? comments? Drooling

Re "This dramatic, over thought, contrite, anthropocentric theory must meet the creation of man’s imagination"

I would change this to "This dramatic, over thought, contrite, anthropocentric theory was a product of Paul's fertile imagination"
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13-04-2014, 06:32 PM (This post was last modified: 14-04-2014 08:45 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Christian incarnation and atonement
Too bad the *Salvation Paradigm* is very "non-Biblical". The Jewish scholar Martin Buber (almost inadvertently) debunked it in his "Good and Evil", (Part II). It's a concept that makes no sense in the culture of Hebrew thought, (in which "evil" was "choas", originally, and they got it from the Babylonian system).
http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...ins?page=2
But the history of the "cooking up" of it is pretty interesting.
It rests (supposedly), on a "mandate" extant in Reality (however it gets defined, ... by Anselm, or Aquinas, or whoever) that atonement *had* to be made to put the cosmic order back into *right alignment* after the (supposed but non-existent) "fall". The *fall* was an attempt by early humans to explain what they perceived as *evil*, (even though there is not a shred of evidence for a preternaturally perfect state ever having existed). In any case, the biggest weakness in the entire bs is, that if it's true, then it begs the question of why the deity exists (MUST EXIST) in a system of "divine justice" over which it apparently has no control. If it can't control what is "just" then where did it get that property, or where did it originate from. It's just another unanswered version of Euthyphro's Dilemma.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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13-04-2014, 06:42 PM
RE: Christian incarnation and atonement
(13-04-2014 06:22 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(13-04-2014 04:55 PM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  So this was my research paper topic last week, and below is my submission in my ongoing christian spirituality vision class where I am having quite the good time educating the faithful, tactfully dismantling the instructors discussion points with wild abandon, and maintaining an A the whole time of course hehe.

The relationship between incarnation and atonement

To contemplate the relationship between incarnation and atonement, with special emphasis on Anselm’s idea of satisfaction, we must first look at what incarnation and atonement means to those of the Christian faith. Incarnation is continual in that our redemption depends on the reality that the eternal son of God came to us as a man. If he did not come fully down, then we are not fully saved (Dawson 5-6). Since Jesus became what we are, accepting our very humanity and God crossed the gap between human and deity, and he overcame our sin and came to live on our behalf. He chose to leave a faithful life that was beyond our capacity, but required by the Father.

The very obedience of Jesus led him to die on the cross as penalty for human sin. Not only did he die for us, but he gave us new life for salvation, and salvation depends on our continuing union with him. The Incarnation is basically a fundamental theological teaching of Christianity, based on its understanding of the New Testament. The Incarnation represents the Christian belief that Jesus, who is the second part of the triune, God, took on a human body and became both man and deity. This can be seen in the Bible in John 1:14: "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us” (Bible – King James version – John). The Christians worldview is rooted in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the belief that Jesus is God in human in one person (Mueller 141).

Atonement is a theological theory which describes human being’s reconciliation with God. This atonement is basically the forgiveness of sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus. This voluntary sacrifice by Jesus made possible the reconciliation between man and God. “God so loved the world, and gave his only begotten son” (Bible – King James version – John 3:16). This Scripture verse highlights the source of atonement by the very provision of God’s love. It is the love of God the father that Paul has in view when he speaks of him who “spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all” (Bible – King James version – Romans 8:32). Surely God could have saved man by other means then allowing his only son to die, since God is all-powerful, other ways of forgiving sin were available to him. Some view the very necessity of his great self-sacrifice magnified his glory and enhanced the precise character of the salvation bestowed (Murray 12). Salvation requires not only the forgiveness of sin but also justification. Sin is the contradiction of God he must react against it with holy wrath demonstration of Christ on the cross is the ultimate demonstration of the love of God. The very nature of the atonement requires that it contains obedience, sacrifice, propitiation, reconciliation and redemption.

Obedience is a compilation of motive, purpose, direction and intention, of which Christ was the epitome of obedience discharge of God’s will in its increasing demands leading up to his inevitable sacrificial death. Sacrifice is the removal of sin liability via the transference of liability itself. Propitiation; to pacify, and Christ’s propitiation to God was to deal with the wrath so that those loved would no longer be the objects of wrath, and God’s love would be eternal. Reconciliation is concerned with our alienation from God, and the inherent need to have that alienation removed. Redemption by Jesus’ blood, “Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Bible – King James version – revelations 5:9).

This atonement can be broken down into various theories, one of which is the satisfaction theory of atonement, developed by Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109). Anselm posited that sin unbalanced the order of justice in the universe. Once a sin has been performed, something good must be done in order to restore the balance. For example, a sin is incurrence of debt to God, the source of order, and that debt must be paid through true repentance (Albl 271). The work of Christ is to repair the breach human sin introduced into the relationship between humanity and God. Anselm argued in Cur Deus Homo that this work can be accomplished only by a God-man; one person equally divine and human. This doctrine of Christ is commonly called “Chalcedonian Christology” because it was created by the Council of Chalcedon in 451 CE (Visser 213).

One cannot explain the incarnation by appeal to any supposed obligation on God’s part to respect the devil’s rights over humanity. Since the devil had no such rights, so it appears that God would not have been acting unjustly if he had just delivered human beings the power of the devil by fiat. What reason did God have to redeemed mankind and the way he did, given that he was not under any obligation to do so? Anselm suggests that since we know God’s will is never irrational, we can be confident that God had some reason for doing what he did, even if we do not see or understand what the reason is (Visser 214).

Anselm believed he could prove, by unavoidable logical steps, that Christ was removed from the case, as if there had never existed anything to do with him, is it possible that without him mankind could have been saved (Anselm 261 – 262). A foundation of Christianity is that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins (Bible – King James version –1 Cor 15:3). In this way he fulfilled the old covenant sacrificial system, reconciled us to God, and changed our lives forever. This is the doctrine of the atonement (Mattison 1). At this point the author makes a faith claim, or commonly known as a knowledge claim, by positing “its reality is not in dispute”. I must interject here the whole subject is in dispute, and has been the center of debate for centuries. The author’s mere assertion in a knowledge claim that the atonement “reality” is not in dispute does not make it true. It does however assert that the atonement theory is an essential foundation of Christian religious belief. The author goes on to say, “we know that the atonement works; but how it works is not as clear.” Again, a knowledge claim is made; we have zero proof that the atonement works, at best it is a comforting theory for the faithful to cling to in order to validate their faith to themselves.

“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Bible –King James version – Matthew 20:28). The statement suggests that Jesus gave his life as an extreme expression of love for mankind. Iranaeus of Lyons argued that Jesus was paid as the ransom to the devil free people’s souls. This view was known as the ransom or classic theory. The ransom theory was the dominant theological theory for centuries until dismantled by Anselm of Canterbury. He pointed out that this theory empowered the devil too much, and he posited that Jesus’s life was ransom paid to God, not the devil. Anselm viewed sin as dishonorable conduct that went against God. Since God cannot ignore this conduct, a debt or “satisfaction” is required. Since mankind is unable to make the requisite level of satisfaction, God became human to do it on our behalf. Thus, Jesus was payment to God, not the devil. But since Jesus was part of the triune god, did god merely appease himself?

The church leaders developed doctrine to reflect Jesus Christ’s fulfilling of God’s will through active obedience, vice his passive obedience through death. Basically, God requires mankind to obey and live a life of perpetual obedience (Mattison 1). This endless cycle of perpetual intellectual and spiritual slavery upon birth, where we continuously strive to bow and scrape in deference to our alleged creator’s self-centered will and ego, is hardly what a thinking person would presume a deity of such universe and life creating power, would be so obsessed with. What kind of immature supreme being would create all of this, create life, destroy life, send part of his own “body” down in the form of a man through immaculate conception, so he can die on our behalf to satisfy God’s ego requirement for sacrifice. I don’t purport to understand the consciousness of this alleged magical creature, but it is hard to conceive such childish, disingenuous manipulation of life for the entertainment of itself. This dramatic, over thought, contrite, anthropocentric theory must meet the creation of man’s imagination. How could it be anything else?

In summary, this complex, dramatic Christian theological concept is obviously a fabrication of much thought, and introspective philosophy. Perhaps they could have put all that time and effort into something more constructive. Creating a subservient, subjugative crutch for people with low mental resilience, apparent inability to use reason and logic to comprehend the world around them, and wild imaginations seems unnecessary. In my opinion, religion and faith block the believer’s ability to utilize appropriate epistemological methods to process and gain knowledge. As apparent by the fact that a recent study showed that one fourth of America believed the sun revolved around the earth. This is the perfect example of how religious thought handicaps a person’s ability to learn.


Works Cited:

Mattison, Mark. “The Meaning of the Atonement.” Mark Mattison. 1987. Web. Retrieved from http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/openhse/atonement.html

Anselm, Evans, G. R., The Major Works. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc, 1998. Print.

Visser, Sandra and Williams, Thomas, Anselm. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc, 2009. Print.

Murray, John, The Atonement. Evansville: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1976. Print.

Mueller, J.J., Theological Foundations: Concepts and Methods for Understanding the Christian Faith. Winona: Anselm Academic, Christian Brothers Publications, 2011. Print.

Albl, Martin C. Reason, Faith, and Tradition: Explorations in Catholic Theology. Winona: Anselm Academic, Christian Brothers Publications, 2009. Print.

The Catholic Study Bible: The New American Bible 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University press, Inc., 2011. Print.

Dawson, Gerrit S. Jesus Ascended: The Meaning of Christ’s Continuing Incarnation. New Jersey: P&R publishing, 2004. Print.

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thoughts? comments? Drooling

Re "This dramatic, over thought, contrite, anthropocentric theory must meet the creation of man’s imagination"

I would change this to "This dramatic, over thought, contrite, anthropocentric theory was a product of Paul's fertile imagination"

ack, that was actually supposed to say ...must BE the creation....I use dragon voice recognition software and missed it when i proof read the final version, oh well. I like your version better though Thumbsup

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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13-04-2014, 07:18 PM
RE: Christian incarnation and atonement
(13-04-2014 06:42 PM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  
(13-04-2014 06:22 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re "This dramatic, over thought, contrite, anthropocentric theory must meet the creation of man’s imagination"

I would change this to "This dramatic, over thought, contrite, anthropocentric theory was a product of Paul's fertile imagination"

ack, that was actually supposed to say ...must BE the creation....I use dragon voice recognition software and missed it when i proof read the final version, oh well. I like your version better though Thumbsup

Paul was from Tarsus, which was a hot-bed of Mithraism, (which developed from Zoroastrianism). If you get the difference of Mithraism/Zoroastrian "spiritual purification" from Hebrew "ritual purification" you see exactly where he got it.

I was re-reading some of the early Christian fights about the "becoming a Jew first .. in able to then become a Christian .. and the big fight appears not to have been about circumcision, but about eating habits, (ritual purity). It was an "abomination" for a Jew to eat with a foreigner, (as there was no way to be certain the dietary laws had been kept). Wow. That's what Peter and Paul really had their big falling out over. Food. OMG. The Jews couldn't imagine giving up their ritual purity.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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13-04-2014, 11:32 PM (This post was last modified: 14-04-2014 01:49 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Christian incarnation and atonement
(13-04-2014 07:18 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(13-04-2014 06:42 PM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  ack, that was actually supposed to say ...must BE the creation....I use dragon voice recognition software and missed it when i proof read the final version, oh well. I like your version better though Thumbsup

Paul was from Tarsus, which was a hot-bed of Mithraism, (which developed from Zoroastrianism). If you get the difference of Mithraism/Zoroastrian "spiritual purification" from Hebrew "ritual purification" you see exactly where he got it.

I was re-reading some of the early Christian fights about the "becoming a Jew first .. in able to then become a Christian .. and the big fight appears not to have been about circumcision, but about eating habits, (ritual purity). It was an "abomination" for a Jew to eat with a foreigner, (as there was no way to be certain the dietary laws had been kept). Wow. That's what Peter and Paul really had their big falling out over. Food. OMG. The Jews couldn't imagine giving up their ritual purity.

Have you got a link about the early Christians, Jews and food?

I reckon they argued about more than just food. This is my take on it. Apologies to anyone who's read this before, but I really want to share what I've learnt (as well as open it for criticism.) It is rather important history.

Paul’s Relationship with the Nazarenes
At the so-called “Jerusalem council,” in or about 49 CE, James convened a meeting to discuss tactics for promoting the Nazarene’s beliefs. 2 Galatians, written by Paul, describes this meeting. It’s a truly enlightening passage from the bible:
“It was not until fourteen years had passed that I went up to Jerusalem again. I went with Barnabas and took Titus with me. I went there as a result of a revelation, and privately I laid before the leading men the Good News as I proclaim it among the pagans; I did so for fear the course I was adopting or had already adopted would not be allowed. And what happened? Even though Titus who had come with me is a Greek, he was not obliged to be circumcised. The question came up only because some who do not really belong to the brotherhood have furtively crept in to spy on the liberty we enjoy in Jesus Christ, and want to reduce us all to slavery. I was so determined to safeguard for you the true meaning of the Good News, that I refused even out of deference to yield to such people for one moment. As a result, these people who are acknowledged leaders—not that their importance matters much to me, since God has no favorites—these leaders, as I say, had nothing to add to the Good News as I preach it. On the contrary, they recognized I had been commissioned to preach the Good News to the uncircumcised just as Peter had been commissioned to preach it to the circumcised. The same person whose action had made Peter the apostle of the circumcised had given me a similar mission to the pagans. So James, Cephas and John, these leaders, these pillars, shook hands with Barnabas and me as a sign of partnership: we were to go to the pagans and they to the circumcised. The only thing they insisted on was that we should remember to help the poor, as indeed I was anxious to do. When Cephas came to Antioch, however, I opposed him to his face, since he was manifestly in the wrong. His custom had been to eat with the pagans, but after certain friends of James arrived he stopped doing this and kept away from them altogether for fear of the group that insisted on circumcision. The other Jews joined him in this pretence, and even Barnabas felt himself obliged to copy their behavior. When I saw they were not respecting the true meaning of the Good News, I said to Cephas in front of everyone, ‘In spite of being a Jew, you live like the pagans and not like the Jews, so you have no right to make the pagans copy Jewish ways.’” (Gal. 2:1–15 JB.)

Each sentence reveals a facet of a very strained relationship. Paul was clearly intimidated by James,’ John’s and Peter’s authority. He referred to them as “Pillars,” and “leading men,” and he writes he was well aware they mightn’t accept his proclamation of “Good News:”
“I laid before the leading men the Good News as I proclaim it among the pagans; I did so for fear the course I was adopting or had already adopted would not be allowed.” What’s more, he barely concealed the fact he begrudged their authority:
“Not that their importance matters much to me.” Can anyone imagine him writing that about someone (James) he thought was the half brother of the son of God? He quite clearly regarded them as competition:
“I was so determined to safeguard for you the true meaning of the Good News, that I refused even out of deference to yield to such people for one moment.” Paul mistrusted them. They didn’t “belong to the brotherhood.” He accused them of spying on “the liberty we enjoy in Christ Jesus.” He said they had “nothing to add to the Good News I preach.” He believed they “want to reduce us all to slavery.” He thought that the “Good News” he, and only he, preached, entitled people to be part of his brotherhood. He thought he was freeing people from the “slavery” of the Judaic Law.
Then, he and Peter, allegedly stalwarts of the fledgling Christian movement, (who the Vatican claim founded a Christian church in Rome together) bickered with each other. Paul claimed (probably quite correctly) that Peter didn’t respect his “Good News.” He claimed he publically challenged Peter directly by accusing him of hypocrisy.

What an intriguing snippet of scripture! A churlish, hostile Paul, who was probably the first founder of Christianity, was personally and philosophically at odds with Jesus’ brother and disciples! He was angry and frustrated that they’d been undermining him, and he didn’t hold back his vindictive retort. Paul and them obviously weren’t preaching the same message! (as claimed in Acts.)

Here’s the historical reality. Devout Jews (such as the Nazarenes) despised Paul and rejected his ramblings. The idea that their mysterious, perfect, one and only God could be incarnated in a Christ was unthinkable to them. They couldn’t imagine that their God could die, or that a Christ’s death somehow addressed man’s sins. For them the kingdom of God promised in scripture never was in a hypothetical heaven, but was to be on earth in the here and now. Their messiah wasn’t some savior of souls, but a leader of the Jews who heralded in a glorious age in which Israel triumphed and pagans recognized the glory of their god, Yahweh. He was to build the temple, (Ezek. 37:26–28) gather all Jews back to Israel, (Isa. 43:5–6) and, importantly, bring an end to Roman rule. He was supposed to end all exploitation, corruption, famine, disease, and war. Paul’s fictional Christ had done none of this!

Paul claimed:
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Gal. 2;16, KJV) and “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law” (Gal. 3:13, KJV) and “Before faith came, we were allowed no freedom by the Law; we were being looked after till faith was revealed. The law was to be our guardian until the Christ came and we could be justified by faith. Now that that time has come we are no longer under that guardian, and you are, all of you, sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. All baptized in Christ, you have all clothed yourself in Christ, and there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:23–28, NJB.)

Jews didn’t buy this. They wouldn’t be Jewish if they did. They believed - and still do - that the way to find favor with God was to obey “the Law” - that is, the Torah, as allegedly taught by Moses. There’s no mention in their scriptures about an end to the covenant God made with their ancestors on Mount Sinai. Jews regarded the Law almost like a gift from their God, not a curse, or an imposition on freedom. They knew there was no such thing as a “new covenant.” Why would they give up centuries of tradition to believe a renegade like Paul?

Imagine a hypothetical modern analogy; a fanatic from a small cult, such as the “branch davidians,” grabbing a microphone during a Catholic mass at the Vatican, and proclaiming that David Koresh was Jesus’ son, and Koresh’s teachings replaced the sermon on the mount. Paul was behaving like a deluded fanatic.

Paul had an ambivalent attitude to Jewish scripture, which varied with the audience he was writing to. At times he used it to justify his own ideas, such as when writing to “Hellenized” Jews in the diaspora. Yet when writing to Gentiles he claimed large parts of it were redundant.

Yeshua had died over a decade before Paul appeared on the scene, and I think would have been perplexed and offended by the idea that his death could somehow give Gentiles a ticket to heaven. He hated the Romans, (they did nail him to a cross!) and never imagined that Yahweh, whom he never regarded as his temporal sire, would grant them a place in heaven!

Jesus said,
“Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish them but complete them. I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved” (Matt. 5:17–18 JB.) Paul and Jesus contradicted each other! So much for biblical infallibility! (http://www.essene.org/Yahowshua_or_Paul.htm).

Many people today insist that Jesus came to do away with the Jewish Law. They’re not considering Jesus’ words, but Paul’s (or Paul’s proponents like Luther or Calvin.)
Most Jews believed God dwelt in the temple, in Jerusalem, Israel’s capital. Paul made a cavalier dismissal of the importance of Israel by suggesting that all believers become a temple for God:
“And that is what we are—the temple of the living God” (2 Cor. 6:15, NJB) and “Didn’t you realize that you were God’s Temple” (1 Cor. 3:16 JB.) He was trying to expand God’s seat of power out of Jerusalem and into the whole known world. Yet for most first century Jews this downplayed the importance of the temple, the geographical pivot of Judaism.

Jews thought they were Abraham’s descendants and God’s special people. Yet Paul claimed:
“Those therefore who rely on faith receive the same blessing as Abraham, the man of faith.” (Gal. 3:9, NJB,) and “Merely by belonging to Christ you are the posterity of Abraham, the heirs he was promised” (Gal. 3:29, NJB.) He wanted believing Gentiles to consider themselves God’s chosen, so that they too were special, and weaken the patriotic fervor of Jews by downplaying their exclusivity.

Throughout Paul’s travels, he was initially welcome in synagogues because he masqueraded as a traditional Jew, but after Jews heard what he had to say, he was rejected, sometimes even beaten and pelted with rocks; a repetitive pattern portrayed in Acts. They liked to think they were a chosen race, superior in all ways, and in God’s eyes, to the pagan hordes. These Jews must have imagined Paul was upsetting their God, and the whole Jewish community would suffer as a consequence. Is it any wonder they physically attacked him? Jesus’ own people were attacking Paul because he was promoting Christian ideas, a fact that should raise eyebrows in today’s churches.

In the decades Paul was preaching, the Nazarenes were expanding into a significant force under James’ leadership in Jerusalem. They also enjoyed a strong membership among Jews throughout the empire. They definitely didn’t preach the divinity of Christ, nor intend to start a new religion. Paul, when he wasn’t pretending to be one of them, considered them competitors. He got very upset when he encountered rival missionaries, who were probably Nazarene, and complained bitterly about them hijacking “his” converts. He cursed them, using the undeniable truth of his own gospel as justification:
“I am astonished at the promptness with which you have turned away from the one who called you and have decided to follow a different version of the Good News. Not that there can be more than one Good News; it is merely that some trouble makers among you want to change the Good News of Christ; and let me warn you that if anyone preaches a version of the Good News different from the one that we have already preached to you, whether it be ourselves or an angel from heaven, he is condemned” (Gal. 1:6–9, NJB.) He sounds like an upset child whose best friend has gone off to play with someone else. It’s ironic that he was accusing his adversaries of the very thing he was guilty of - preaching a fabrication! He clearly undermined Yeshua’s family and disciples behind their backs. He was surprised and angry to find himself competing with them for people’s allegiance. They were treading on what he considered his turf. How dare they preach old-fashioned Jewish theology and disrupt his mission to set up communities of believers! Those annoying war-mongering Jews promoted subversive fantasies about a messiah, but today’s God had revealed to him the real Christ, the up-to-date modern Christ! He, not them, was plugging the “good news.” He claimed he knew what the flexible, expansionist, less violent, less Judaic God expected in these modern, pro-Roman times. He thought of himself as an educated, savvy sophisticate who knew a stack more about selling religion than the old fashioned anti-Roman bumpkins from Jerusalem!

The two faced Paul probably tried to ingratiate himself with the Nazarenes when in their company, but they became implacably opposed to him, as verified by the verbal confrontation described in Galatians chapter two, and the adamantly anti-Pauline assertions in James’ letter.

Paul knew he wasn’t a popular figure amongst traditional Jews. In his letter to the Romans he expressed his nervousness that the Nazarenes in Jerusalem might reject him, which, if the story in Acts is true, is precisely what happened. James summoned Paul to Jerusalem when it became apparent Paul was preaching against the Torah, and sent him to the temple to be purified and prove he was still a true Jew, (see Acts 21, http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts 21&version=KJV) which led to Paul’s so called arrest and eventual transportation to Rome. James, Jesus’ brother, effectively terminated Paul’s missionary career!

When Paul was forced to admit that he was a Roman citizen, his cover was well and truly blown. Nazarenes were implacably opposed to Rome. According to Acts, Roman authorities had to dedicate considerable resources (500 soldiers) to protect him from angry Jews. They were looking after one of their own. That’s about the same number of soldiers who arrested Jesus.

Paul wasn’t deterred. He kept writing letters from Rome.

His modern-day reputation as an honest evangelist, and the implication he taught Yeshua’s message, have no foundation, yet they’ve become part of Christian tradition, largely because of Acts, written some time in the early second century. Paul’s legitimacy must have lacked credibility, so the author had Jesus’ ghost appear to Paul on the road to Damascus, which was obviously a fiction, as was the story of Paul becoming best friends with Jesus’ disciples. The author even tried to shore up Paul’s status by having him (and his handkerchief) perform a number of miracles. Yet Paul failed to mention Jesus’ ghost or his own miracles; impossible omissions if they were true. Paul revealed many personality traits in his letters, but genuine modesty definitely wasn’t one of them.
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13-04-2014, 11:35 PM
RE: Christian incarnation and atonement
(13-04-2014 07:18 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(13-04-2014 06:42 PM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  ack, that was actually supposed to say ...must BE the creation....I use dragon voice recognition software and missed it when i proof read the final version, oh well. I like your version better though Thumbsup

Paul was from Tarsus, which was a hot-bed of Mithraism, (which developed from Zoroastrianism). If you get the difference of Mithraism/Zoroastrian "spiritual purification" from Hebrew "ritual purification" you see exactly where he got it.

I was re-reading some of the early Christian fights about the "becoming a Jew first .. in able to then become a Christian .. and the big fight appears not to have been about circumcision, but about eating habits, (ritual purity). It was an "abomination" for a Jew to eat with a foreigner, (as there was no way to be certain the dietary laws had been kept). Wow. That's what Peter and Paul really had their big falling out over. Food. OMG. The Jews couldn't imagine giving up their ritual purity.

Re "If you get the difference of Mithraism/Zoroastrian "spiritual purification" from Hebrew "ritual purification" you see exactly where he got it." Hey Bucky, could you elaborate on this or provide a link?
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14-04-2014, 03:20 AM
RE: Christian incarnation and atonement
(13-04-2014 11:35 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re "If you get the difference of Mithraism/Zoroastrian "spiritual purification" from Hebrew "ritual purification" you see exactly where he got it." Hey Bucky, could you elaborate on this or provide a link?

http://www.truthbeknown.com/mithra.htm
https://archive.org/details/paganchristsstud00robe
http://www.scribd.com/doc/2309664/Pagan-...-Robertson

I'm not trying to assert or get into the debate that Roman Mithraism WAS Zorosastrianism, but the concept of "spiritual purification" was more in line with Paul's concepts. Read Acts 21: 15-26. Food, ("blood from strangled animals") was a big part of their fight, it seems. They were ALL very much still involved in Jewish ritual ("external-ritual" purification customs). Zoroastrian purification was more involved and nuanced. It seems Paul HAD a more nuanced (Zoroastrian) view of "spiritual purification" than the Jews he was fighting with had.
http://www.rafimetz.com/borndigital/tarsus.htm
http://heritageinstitute.com/zoroastrian.../index.htm
http://www.pauls-post-crucifixion-temple...emple.html
http://books.google.com/books?id=UakCAAA...us&f=false
https://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICL.../zoro.html
http://books.google.com/books?id=8R9VAAA...on&f=false
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resurrection_of_the_dead

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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