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Author Topic:   Anselm's Doctrine of Substitution
Archer Opteryx
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Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006


Message 1 of 80 (477810)
08-08-2008 1:19 AM


'Christ went to the cross in our place. It is really all of us who deserve to go.'

Everyone has heard this idea. Many Christians have heard themselves repeat it. Everyone recognizes it as standard Christian doctrine...

...except all the Christians who lived on this planet for the first ten centuries AD.

'For us' how?

For centuries Christians said in their creed that Jesus lived and died 'for us.' It was easy to understand how a life of service--teaching and healing--was a live lived 'for us.' But how exactly was a cruel and unjust execution 'for us'? This went unexplained. Christians held a variety of views on the matter.

The most detailed discussion Christians had available in their canon came in the book of Hebrews (New Testament). Its unnamed author takes animal sacrifice as a given. Readers are simply expected to grant that animal sacrifice is a good thing. The author interprets Jesus' death in the context of that tradition. The author describes Jesus' work as the culmination of the sacrificial system. By implication, his work renders Temple worship obsolete.

The meaning and relevance of Temple rituals were a subject of enormous interest for Christians, many of whom were Jews, in the generation that saw the Jerusalem Temple destroyed. They found themselves in a situation where it was no longer possible to worship as their God had instructed them. The theologians were busy explaining why, now that Jesus had come, this was okay. Still, it's worth noting that the author of Hebrews, in discussing atonement, was far more concerned to present Jesus as the ultimate 'high priest' than as the ultimate sacrificial animal.

It took ten centuries for Christianity to offer a precise explanation of how Christ's death was 'for us.' The person who did it is Anselm of Canterbury. In 1099 his work Cur Deus Homo (Why God as Human?) presented what is now known as the Anselmic Doctrine of Satisfaction. The argument is that God, by reason of his perfect character, demands payment when wrongdoing occurs. It is only in this way that God can be perfectly just. But God, being perfect, is also perfectly merciful. When humanity went wrong God had to reconcile these two demands of his character. God did so by providing a perfect sacrifice in the form of Jesus, who would pay the required penalty.

Anselm is the person who defined atonement as substitution. It is we who belong on the cross, says Anselm. Christ went there in our place.

The doctrine has its problems, to be sure. Anselm's concept of sin is far removed from the first-century Jewish concept. Animal sacrifice, an omnipresent practice in the first century, has little to do with his argument. Much had changed over the centuries. But Anselm's idea proved durable.

The Anselmic doctrine of substitution was absorbed wholesale by Protestants.

Anselm's idea today

Anselm's doctrine of substitution is so ingrained in Protestant theology that few Protestants today notice the teaching isn't in their canon. They simply read phrases like 'atonement' and 'propitiation' and 'sacrifice' and interpret them as Anselmic doctrine has conditioned them. Yet the interpretation is an anachronism. The New Testament writings were authored by people for whom the doctrine didn't exist.

The Protestant belief that it is 'we' who belong on the cross instead of Jesus, that Jesus went to the cross 'in our place,' is vintage Anselm. It appears plainly stated in the hymns of Wesley, the sermons of Luther and Calvin and Edwards, the cantatas of Bach, and the telecasts of Billy Graham. The teaching is everywhere in Protestant culture and is ingrained in the Protestant view. Everyone has seen this.

Catholics embrace the doctrine as well, as attested by a recent film from Mel Gibson.

What you don't see is a statement of this doctrine anywhere in the Christian canon. No gospel, no epistle says 'we' belonged on the cross instead of Christ. The idea of substitution isn't there.

What is present is the synoptic picture of Jesus' personal teaching on 'satisfaction.' Leave the sacrifice on the altar, he says, and make things right with your fellow human beings. God will forgive you as you forgive others.

Theology, please.

-------

Anselm: Cur Deus Homo

Chapter 11: What it is to sin, and to make satisfaction for sin

Edited by Archer Opterix, : URL.

Edited by Archer Opterix, : title.


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Message 2 of 80 (477829)
08-08-2008 7:08 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
Hyroglyphx
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Posts: 5512
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006


Message 3 of 80 (479093)
08-24-2008 2:56 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Archer Opteryx
08-08-2008 1:19 AM


Anselm not required
Instead of re-writing my submission all over again, I will simply defer to what I already wrote to you and Purple Dawn on another forum.

I submit that there is a legitimate reason why Christian theology assumes that Jesus was a sacrifice for sin. It doesn't make it true or false in actuality, but there is a biblical reason for why it is believed and honored.

Source: Dreamcatcher

"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed." -1st Peter 2:24

"The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel." -John 1:29-31

"he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth...

Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering... my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." -Isaiah 53

"whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." - Mark 10:44-45

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price." - 1st Corinthians 6:19-20

"Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." - Matthew 26:26-28

Anselm is not required when the scriptures themselves, long before Anselm were alive, make strong allusions that Jesus was indeed a sacrifice for sin. Whether he was or not in actuality is a matter of debate. What is incontrovertible is the fact that Anselm has nothing to do with the doctrine that Jesus was an atonement for sin.

Edited by Nemesis Juggernaut, : Edit to re-ADD my link, which someone removed


“Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito"
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Phat
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Posts: 9260
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 4 of 80 (717029)
01-23-2014 12:48 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Archer Opteryx
08-08-2008 1:19 AM


God need never lie.
I was bored today, and began browsing old topics at EvC to see what people thought about various things. I stumbled upon Anselm(Archers old topic that went nowhere) and clicked on the link provided.

Anselm writes:

For if God wishes to lie, we must not conclude that it is right to lie, but rather that he is not God. For no will can ever wish to lie, unless truth in it is impaired, nay, unless the will itself be impaired by forsaking truth.

In Anselms opinion, for God to ever lie was illogical.
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1.61803
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From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004
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Message 5 of 80 (717062)
01-23-2014 5:31 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Phat
01-23-2014 12:48 PM


Re: God need never lie.
Is this not a bit like, "Can God create a rock he can not lift?"
Either answer results in God not being omnipotent.

"You were not there for the beginning. You will not be there for the end. Your knowledge of what is going on can only be superficial and relative" William S. Burroughs

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Phat
Member
Posts: 9260
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 6 of 80 (717080)
01-23-2014 8:38 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by 1.61803
01-23-2014 5:31 PM


Re: God need never lie.
I fail to see how the ability to deceive would complete the spectrum....

Can God create a truth so all encompassing that He could never lie about it? Of course.

what is truth? The way that things actually are. Reality.

What is a lie? A deception. Why would God need to deceive anybody?


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ringo
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Posts: 12820
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 7 of 80 (717101)
01-24-2014 10:50 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Phat
01-23-2014 8:38 PM


Re: God need never lie.
Phat writes:

What is a lie? A deception. Why would God need to deceive anybody?


Deception can be a good thing. You don't need to tell your auntie that her favourite dress is the ugliest thing you've seen in your life.
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Phat
Member
Posts: 9260
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 8 of 80 (717118)
01-24-2014 12:55 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by ringo
01-24-2014 10:50 AM


Re: God need never lie.
keeping quiet is not lying, however. It is simply knowing when to shut up.
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Theodoric
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From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
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Message 9 of 80 (717120)
01-24-2014 1:08 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Phat
01-24-2014 12:55 PM


Re: God need never lie.
Lying by Omission is not a lie?

The thing I love about Christians like you how you rationalize every moral conflict you have. Situational ethics taken to the extreme.


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

"God did it" is not an argument. It is an excuse for intellectual laziness.


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AZPaul3
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Posts: 3422
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 4.8


(2)
Message 10 of 80 (717159)
01-24-2014 5:10 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Theodoric
01-24-2014 1:08 PM


Re: God need never lie.
Lying by Omission is not a lie?

If I'm sitting there doing nothing and think "That's the ugliest thing I have ever seen!" and I say nothing, are you calling me a liar?

If I said, "Oh, I like that," then OK, hit me.

If I am in court describing an accident and neglect to mention that the car was red because Mr. Prosecutor neglected to ask, am I guilty of perjury?

If I am asked for the color but go off on a tangent describing the height of the shrubbery at the intersection then Mr. P will glare at me and ask for the color again. If I go off on another tangent neglecting to answer then Mr. P will get the Judge to verbally lambast me and warn me to answer directly. If I go off on yet another tangent then His Honor will toss my butt in jail - not for perjury but for contempt.

Now, if I intially answered "blue" instead of "red" then, yes, that is perjury for which I will burn in ... well, someplace.

I can think of many scenarios where keeping quiet about something would be immoral, even criminally so, but, as far as I am aware we need a direct false affirmation to be considered a lie. I may very well be wrong.

When would keeping one's own counsel be considered a lie?

Edited by AZPaul3, : more


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NoNukes
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Posts: 9333
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 2.6


(1)
Message 11 of 80 (717226)
01-25-2014 9:18 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by AZPaul3
01-24-2014 5:10 PM


Re: God need never lie.
When would keeping one's own counsel be considered a lie?

I don't have any problem with your definitions. But I will note that punishment for contempt of court gets applied much more frequently than does punishment for perjury.

People do take offense at being called liars in particular, but is being called a no good, weaslin' dissembler within whom the truth does not live really that much less offensive? I think not. And if the car being red means the defendant is innocent, is omitting that fact less evil than lying?


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.
Richard P. Feynman

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass


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ringo
Member
Posts: 12820
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 12 of 80 (717230)
01-25-2014 10:58 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Phat
01-24-2014 12:55 PM


Re: God need never lie.
Phat writes:

keeping quiet is not lying, however. It is simply knowing when to shut up.


And taking a dollar off Donald Trump's pile isn't stealing if he doesn't notice it's gone?

I would agree that it isn't necessarily "wrong" - but don't get hung up on definitions. You seem to be stuck in the rut that lying is "bad" so God would never lie. I would say instead that even if He flat-out lied for a good reason, that's not necessarily a bad thing.


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Jon
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 80 (717233)
01-25-2014 11:49 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Phat
01-23-2014 12:48 PM


Re: God need never lie.
What does this have to do with the topic of "Anselm's Doctrine of Substitution"?

Love your enemies!

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Jon
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 14 of 80 (717236)
01-25-2014 11:57 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by 1.61803
01-23-2014 5:31 PM


Re: God need never lie.
Is this not a bit like, "Can God create a rock he can not lift?"
Either answer results in God not being omnipotent.

No.

It is more a matter of definition.

It may be that there is some powerful being who enjoys lying, but then this being is not God. And if this is the only being that otherwise meets Anselm's criteria for 'God', then Anselm would have to conclude that there is no God (since the being that exists does not meet all the definitional criteria).

But Anselm believes there is a God, and with this comes the belief that a being exists whose character satisfies all the criteria for 'God'-ness - including the criterion against lying.

And so the argument is that God cannot lie, not because there is a powerful being lacking the capability, but because no powerful being worthy the title 'God' would lie - in Anselm's opinion.

Jon


Love your enemies!

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AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 3422
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 4.8


Message 15 of 80 (717255)
01-25-2014 2:13 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by NoNukes
01-25-2014 9:18 AM


Re: God need never lie.
I don't have any problem with your definitions. But I will note that punishment for contempt of court gets applied much more frequently than does punishment for perjury.

The point was that the punishment for saying nothing was not a charge of perjury (which it might be if Theo is correct) but a charge of contempt.

People do take offense at being called liars in particular, but is being called a no good, weaslin' dissembler within whom the truth does not live really that much less offensive? I think not.

I'm not sure where this is coming from. No one is making that contention.

So the question becomes:

When would keeping one's own counsel be considered being a no good, weaslin' dissembler within whom the truth does not live?

Have it any way you want. I'm not especially particular.

And if the car being red means the defendant is innocent, is omitting that fact less evil than lying?

I'm not sure where this is coming from either. I did address this in my message but it is just a side issue. As I said I can think of many occasions where remaining silent would be immoral, even criminal. That still does not answer my question.

From Theo: "Lying by Omission is not a lie?" indicating to phat the remaining silent on some issue or other (I really don't care what or who or why) is lying (or being a no good, weaslin' dissembler within whom the truth does not live).

Theo may be right, but I can't see it. Is he right?

An example would be nice.

I realize this is a left field tangent from the OP but inquiring minds want to know. If no one cares to answer that is OK. We can all go about our merry way. I will not be declaring victory over anything because I'm not challenging anything, just inquiring. I have no ego in this game.

Edited by AZPaul3, : No reason given.


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