Saturday, November 1, 2014

Video: Christology and the Atonement

This is another video I made discussing Christ and the atonement, dealing with both the penal substitution account of atonement and objections, and the extent of the atonement (limited or unlimited?). I define both terms for clarity before proceeding with a brief defense of the unlimited view. This video is just a supplement, not a full teaching or even a survey, to the material my students already have. Enjoy!


  1. Hi Randy,

    Not sure if you covered it [the vid was quite long :)] but how would you answer the objection offered by some which says "if Jesus suffered on the cross for the sins of those who will ultimately reject him, then this would seem to a be rather pointless or wasteful on God's part, since why bother to cause Jesus to suffer for sins of the unsaved when they are going to suffer eternally for them anyway. Or, to put it another way: since God knows who will be saved, why not just place the sins of the "elect" on Jesus, since placing the sins of the entire world on him would seem to be punishing him more than is required. How would you answer that?

    1. Hi James, I totally understand. There are actually two answers, one for each facet of the question. As to "waste," consider general revelation. Most evangelical Christians take general revelation to serve only so far as to condemn; that is, general revelation is provided to more people than would be saved from it (this everyone should agree with). Yet it is not a "waste," as it serves multiple purposes (strengthening warrant, serving to make disbelief in God a culpable offense, etc.). Jesus' sacrifice for the sins of the world is similarly not a "waste," as it serves as a basis on which people are ultimately condemned (cf. John 3:18).

      The second aspect is why not place only the sins of the elect on Jesus? Because God so loved *the world* that he gave his only begotten Son. Sometimes people think God is this cold, calculating machine that only does whatever is most efficient. But efficiency is only a problem for someone with limited time and limited resources, which God has neither problem. Further, it downplays (or in this case, even eliminates!) God's love for the ones who will ultimately be condemned. I suspect that this is because consistent Calvinism (which is usually where one hears this objection) typically downplays, or else eliminates, God's love for the non-elect. This is because we intuitively recognize that if God wanted everyone to be saved, on the Calvinist system, then they would be. Thus it is no surprise the Calvinist thinks that Christ's death would be a waste, with no reason for offering salvation to the non-elect! On my view, God sincerely wants people to come to Christ, and he takes every step in this world such that they really could come to him, and this requires the atonement to cover all, if only it would be imputed to their accounts (by the exercise of faith).

    2. OK, thanks. I was just reading someone who pointed to the example of God sending Noah to preach to the world, knowing that no-one would respond. So do you think that could also be a good example to use as a rebuttal to the "waste" argument?

    3. That could be! It also depends on how someone views a "waste." Some people view "waste" as "not 100% successful," which I think is not how people normally use the word in these contexts. Instead, "waste" is more like a synonym for "gratuitous," or not serving a purpose. :)


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