This is not a post intended to explain all facets of the Resurrection and atonement for sins. However, this is intended to explain at least the basic idea of Jesus Christ’s dying for the sins of mankind. The atonement really is logical. Here is a brief syllogism (and one which is by far not the last word on the subject).
1. If one has committed a sin, it must be paid for to be in a right standing with God.
3. No sinful man is righteous.
4. Every man who has sinned is sinful.
5. Therefore, one cannot pay for his sins (from [2-4])
6. Therefore, one cannot be in a right standing with God (from [1, 5]).
This is where Christ comes in. Since no person can pay for his sins (by definition), no one is saved. Unless, of course, all of humanity can be redeemed. Consider another set of premises:
7. Jesus was a sinless man.
8. If there is a sinless man, he can atone for the sins of humanity.
9. Therefore, the sins of mankind are the ones that are atoned for upon Christ’s death.
(1) may be controversial for many religious viewpoints. However, consider this: God is morally perfect. God’s moral perfection means that he cannot command or do sin. Imputed righteousness is God’s righteousness. Therefore, imputed righteousness to mankind is dependent upon a lack of sin. Hence, (1) is true. (2) is true in virtue of the fact that a sin can never itself be paid for, since no amount of payment by an individual can be sufficient if one is a sinner. On pain of logical contradiction, what has been done has been done.
(3) is true by definition, since “righteous” here means the same as “moral perfection.” (4) is also definitional, and I should suspect will not be contested. (5-6) are both conclusions, and hence cannot be denied. (7) will be controversial for the non-theist or non-Christian, however I am largely attempting to show the idea of atonement as reasonable, and compatible with justice. Hence, we may assume (7) here. It’s also worth noting that if one has to deny the fact of Jesus’ being morally perfect in order to deny the atonement, then it won’t do any good to use the atonement’s not being logical in order to deny Christianity. In fact, it would be the fact that Christianity is false that renders the syllogism false. In either case, the atonement stands as logical in this argument.
(8) is also plausibly difficult. However, consider this illustration: The idea of the atonement is that it is a category or class, not merely one paying for his sins. Suppose a math class has to have an average of 85. They take the test without one person present and average 83. Each member of the class can only take the test once. However, one person comes back the next day and takes the test, receiving a perfect score. Thus, the average is brought up to above 85 and the villagers rejoice! A member of the class did something no one else could do at that point (bring up the score) so that the failure of the class was mitigated. Jesus, as a member of the class of humans, paid for the debt of humans. He is not paying for someone else's debt only, but for the debt itself. Sure, it is not fair, just as in the case of the man who cannot make his loan payments. Say a rich guy comes by and pays the entire balance off in one shot. It is hardly fair, but it is just. The debt has been paid.
Fair refers to equal treatment. Justice does not always demand fairness. Indeed, because Christians believe God is omnibenevolent, once the justice had been satisfied, God would have had to extend his mercy to whosoever will take it; that is, in order to remain in his revealed character! God’s character is the basis of the logic of the atonement available to whosoever will take it.
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