Arts & Crafts Magazine

Atonement: A Pause in Lent

By Nancymccarroll
Atonement: A Pause in Lent
Following up on the Theme for Bloggers put out by Floss at Troc Broc and Recup', here is an article that I find intriguing regarding Christ and the cross, which is what Lent is all about.  The article starts out with the question "what is atonement"?
Excerpts come from a published piece in RedlandsDailyFacts by Gregory Elder, a professor of history and humanities at Moreno Valley College (CA) and a Roman Catholic priest.
The term in English, "atonement," means what it sounds like, making things to be "at one," meaning humanity being made one with God. It is used many times in the Hebrew Scriptures and is found in words meaning roughly "reconciliation." 
In the Hebrew writings, it is made clear on a number of occasions that sin separates people from friendship with God, and the ultimate penalty for human sin is death, as God promised Adam in Eden. (Genesis 3:3)  But God is also merciful and allows people time to repent their sins; death is not instantaneous. In the Mosaic covenant, this separation from God caused by sin was remedied by animal sacrifice.
Father Elder talks about three different theories of atonement: the "ransom theory", the "satisfaction" view and the "demonstration" theory.  Regarding the ransom theory, I found this quite interesting, spurring me on to purchase the old C.S. Lewis classic on my Kindle for a re-read: 
The ransom theory was very popular in antiquity, and is often expressed by my patron saint, St. Gregory of Nyssa. It is a theme of the atonement used by C.S. Lewis in his book which was recently made into a film, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."
This ransom theory, that Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of mankind by giving his life for those who accept his divinity, and canceling out moral debts of humans, is the one I was taught from the cradle.
But as Father Elder postulates, no matter the theory behind atonement, all give pause.  And all views have been excellent fodder for homiletic points for Christ's work on the cross regarding His forgiveness of sin.
 As  As Floss says in relating to the horrific killings in her own backyard in Toulouse last week  
One thing I do know is that people who spend more time forgiving the little things are better practiced at forgiving the big things.
 To be at one, to be forgiven, and to forgive, to be at peace...atonement.

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