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Jesus Christ and the Atonement Theories

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It can be said that in God's eyes, Christians are only dirty glasses which are stained inside and out with their own sin. These glasses were once clean, not plagued with stains. Now the glasses bear with them these ugly stains, the stains of sin and wrongdoing. The dirty glasses had to accept their punishment for becoming dirty, and the punishment was being destroyed by a hammer. The hammer is God's instrument against sinners. As the hammer made its decent on the glass, a pan covered the glass and took the blow of the hammer to save the glass. This pan represents Jesus because Jesus sacrificed himself to God so that God would forgive us for our sins.

Atonement is the action of putting things right between us and God. This story illustrates a very simplified version of one Atonement theory. Jesus, the "Pan," accomplished Atonement by sacrificing himself for mercy and forgiveness. He died for us so God would forgive our sins.

The Atonement theories themselves are different explanations to help interpret what God actually did to save us. In each of the four Atonement theories Jesus is the bridge that connects humanity and God and helps us connect to each other. We have multiple Atonement theories because there is no single, simple answer to solve the many questions of Jesus' death. One theory doesn't provide enough information and doesn't cover everything that needs to be said. Each Atonement theory is acceptable because there are multiple answers within them and all are correct. Since there are so

many different answers they give, they tend to overlap and sometimes run into each other but they do this to cover every aspect and question that is presented in the theories.

Since there are multiple Atonement theories, all Christians are going to have different opinions on which theory best fits Jesus' accomplishments. The personal opinion on the Atonement theories depends on how Christians look at Christianity and which model they think contributed more towards putting things right. A certain Christian's opinion on the theories show us how Jesus has influenced their lives, through either Jesus as teacher, Jesus as savior, Jesus as victor, or Jesus as presence.

Jesus as teacher tells us to be good, follow him, and live ethical lives. In this model, Jesus is saving us from our own ignorance because we do not know right from wrong. He wants us to change our uncaring behavior by him educating and inspiring each of us through his teachings and examples of love and knowledge. Jesus is the bridge between us and God that covers ignorance and apathy. By him covering that, we change and learn, we live the ethical lives he wants us to live, and we teach and share with our fellow Christians.

Jesus as victor shows us how he frees humanity from evil and death. We as humans are caught in Satan's web of evil and live in fear of death and destruction. The more we are in fear of evil the more hate and violence we are generating towards it, which just adds fuel to the fire and makes it grow even larger. Jesus fights Satan and evil by showing non-violence towards them and pretty much tricked Satan by dying on the cross. Jesus did this through his resurrection, so just when Satan thought he had won; Jesus rose from his tomb and defeated Satan. One could say that Jesus led the jail break

out of hell and into heaven bringing with him his believers. Humanity was freed through Jesus' resurrection and could now live without fear of evil.

Jesus was once a presence among us, which is also one of the Atonement theories. Jesus comes to earth as a human to bridge the gap between our world of finite space and time and the eternal world. Before Jesus came to us, there was no other way for Christians to enter into heaven and no way for God to enter into our world. God entered our world through Jesus' birth at Bethlehem. Jesus became one of us, he lived what we live, knew what we know, and experienced all of the things that we have experienced. So in a sense, God gave us the ultimate compliment through him becoming incarnate. This is the reason for all of humanity to care for their bodies as well as others because at one time God was one of us, he walked this planet and he blessed it. One could say that we were trapped among ourselves with no way of getting to God, but Jesus fixed this problem by becoming one of us. He created the way for us to have new and everlasting life, to escape time and enter into eternity with God. I think the strengths of this Atonement theory would have to be that God was once one of us, it shows us we too are holy beings and have to take care of ourselves. We do have a purpose in our lives and we aren't just walking around like lost dogs. By Jesus coming here, he showed us the way, he showed us the light, and he showed us the way to live in order to get there. The majority of people who believe in this theory tend to be Orthodox and early Christian philosophers. The beginning of Christianity is what these type of Christians emphasize and teach. They aren't really focused as much on how Jesus overcame evil but how Jesus connected us with God and let us live an eternal life with him. There are

weaknesses to this model however. Some think that it is too vague, that it lacks definiteness and precision. Does this really make us feel that we are divided among time and space, and if so, does this model really help us understand how we can get out?




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