The Atonement and Forgiveness

This is a re-dated post from Feb 13, '06.

One way to catch my attention is to comment on something I have written, so here comes triablogue who responded to my earlier post: Why Was Jesus Punished?

For God to simply forgive a person apart from the cross would be an unjust act. It would be an unrighteous act. It would be an unholy act. It would fail to satisfy his wrath. Going back to the illustration of the courts, it is not the duty of the court to forgive the offender. The same is true with God.

Poppycock! Absolute poppycock. The fact that I once touted this crap is a surprise to me now.

In this case the person primarily offended by our sins is God. He is the primary offended party. While others on a horizontal plane might feel slighted by comparison, God is the primary one offended. In this case, there doesn’t need to be any punishment between offender and offended, even though God is also the judge. Why? If God is a person at all then he responds towards us as a person does, a father, and even as a creator who cares for us, not a harsh and demanding judge.

Your Christian God is primarily a judge and not a father. He’s an aloof potentate who rules his people like the Kings of old did over the serfs and peasants. The very image bespeaks of a God who doesn’t really love us, but cares more for administering punishment to offenders in a kingdom of serfs. But the Christian God wants to be known as a father, a person, a lover, and even as a friend of sinners--in Jesus.

It would be like living in a kingdom where we slightly offend each other from time to time (the horizontal plane). But none of us would ever want any of our worst enemies to be punished in ways that the King will do when he's offended by the very same actions that have merely slighted us(on the vertical plane). We would all desire that our enemies were all completely forgiven, including us ourselves, than suffer under the wrath of that aloof potentate who only cares about a infinite tit for a finite tat. None of us would be happy about such a king at all, nor that he would have had to punish his own Son (himself?), when none of us would have wanted anyone to be punished at all. We would think such a God is a monster, a weirdo, and even retarded.

All I am saying is that forgiveness between persons does not logically involve punishment, or retaliation, repentance, or reparations. Show me the logical and rational relationship between punishment and forgiveness between persons. That's all you have to do.

And I'll say that our methods of punishment today are much more humane today by comparison; that all humane punishment should be for the purpose of rehabilitation anyway; and that God should give up on no one--no one.

And I'll say that the more I understand someone, the easier it is for me to forgive them. That's why mothers seem to always love their sons no matter what they do. Does God not understand why we do the very deeds we do? Then he understands like no one else. If he understands, then he cannot be angry. Unless, of course, he's an aloof potentate who simply doesn't care.

While I may want someone who hit me to spend a few months in jail, or someone who stole from me to spend up to a year in jail, I would never want my worse enemies to be treated as Jesus suffered, nor spend eternity in hell, however conceived. I would want everyone who has ever done anything to wrong me to eventually be forgiven. All is eventually forgiven anyway, in time. Why doesn't God do this, since he apparently has all the time in the world?