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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Satisfactional View of the Atonement

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The vicarious sufferings of Jesus Christ upon the cross are often represented by theologians as mainly intended to appease the divine wrath by offering a satisfaction for human guilt. That this, however, is incorrect is evident, not only from the character of God himself, who is no Shylock demanding his "pound of flesh," and is infinitely anxious to be reconciled to the sinner, but it is clear likewise from the fact that no adequate quid pro quo was either attempted or achieved in this regard. The virtue and obedience and holiness of Jesus did not in the slightest degree lessen, palliate, or modify the crimes, the sins, and the transgressions of man, nor are they ever represented as any apology or excuse for these. To accept the merit of the pure as a counterpoise of the dereliction of the impure is no reasonable equivalent, much less to condone the fault of the offending by the suffering of the innocent. Such a satisfaction is opposed to the plain teaching of the parable of the prodigal son, in which no reparation, but merely a penitent return, is attempted or spoken of on the part of the wanderer. Nor does this conflict with Paul's doctrine of the release from the claims of the law (Romans 5:11), for he everywhere represents this from a Judaic or human point of view, and especially insists that these obligations are cancelled for the past and fulfilled for the future simply by a subjective conformity to the will of God (Romans 10:4; 13:10). It is, in fact, the sinner himself who is ultimately and practically called upon to be satisfied with this arrangement, and upon his acceptance of the substitute the whole efficacy of the scheme is finally made to depend. God needs no such inducement, but man does, and this not so much outside parties as the offending individual himself. It is the sinner's conscience that demands a satisfaction, and this he can find only in Christ. (See VICARIOUS SUFFERING).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Satisfactional View of the Atonement'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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Tuesday, January 21st, 2020
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