The Awakening Atonement (and from a Wesleyan perspective)

July 17, 2015

Purpose and Intent of the Crucifixion of Jesus

1. Man is naturally sinful (i.e., morally speaking: an orc); and all good deeds arise from immediate impulses of God (à la prevenient, i.e., preceding, grace) and which are simply not resisted by the individual; and it will take a miracle of God to change this sinful nature, i.e., such that possession of the individual by a Holy Spirit takes place.

2. For God to be willing to convey such a miracle, the individual must at least

     A. understand what a holy nature entails, and then also

     B. request such a new nature.*

*A special condition is given in 5 below, for those who followed Jesus’ disciples later.

3.  The disciples of Jesus are needed for the spread of the Holy Spirit in order that the whole world might eventually become holy, which is God’s original plan. But since the disciples (not even to mention the rest of humanity) cannot understand a holy nature (2.A – for they grasp only lording it over each other) and thus also cannot comply with 2.B, and since God will not provide a new nature for anyone except per 2.A and 2.B, the earth will be doomed as a hell for humans to suffer in together like a troop of orcs.

4. Jesus gives his life in order to awaken and definitively inform the disciples with respect to 2.A*; and the ensuing resurrection assures them that seeking the new nature per 2.B will be successful and meaningful.

* And specifically: love of neighbor as self, and all people are one’s neighbors, i.e., Jews and gentiles alike.

5. Because of this unique action on the part of Jesus (an innocent man [as was Adam originally] giving his life willingly for the benefit of others [represented by Barabbas] and showing them the way to a new nature) God has now decreed that the required request for this new and holy nature (2.B) must be expressed in the context of a sincere acknowledgement of Jesus as Savior and Lord by the individual, and will be answered by God’s miracle of forgiveness (justification) and eventual sanctification (holiness before death).

* See Discussions Between Christians And Atheists  (Section: Complaints Against The “Unfairness” of the Christians’ God Regarding People Who Never Heard Of Jesus) for a further consideration of this requirement.

Comment from a Kantian perspective.

According to Kant the justice referred to in the scriptures as being satisfied by the death of Jesus has to do here with the payment of the sins of the “old man” (the pre-conversion person) by the willingness of the “new man” (the convert) to take on new ills (accruing now to the convert) for the sake of goodness, e.g., no longer willing to lie to defend themselves against a sinful society, and without complaint and to undertake all good acts without claiming any credit. Jesus symbolizes this in his suffering and death in the place of the criminal named Barabbas (who represents every sinful person) and in this way shows all people the way to redemption and a new life, i.e., by his death Jesus shows each person what they must do in order to satisfy justice and start the “new life.” [See Kant’s Religion Within The Bounds Of Sheer Reason, Part II., First Section, C, Par. 5.]

Comment from a Wesleyan perspective.

From a Wesleyan perspective, in contrast to that of Kant above, the ills that follow the conversion to the new life are undertaken in the sense of “bearing the cross” and do not pay for any previous sin or disposition to sin but are the voluntary undertakings arising from the “New Birth”. See also Wesleyan Theology.

One journey toward holiness/sanctification.

A former tenant of a property of mine has moved out and left the property is somewhat bad shape. I find myself reflexively thinking about how I could punish him or demean him in some way, e.g., refuse to pay him a small amount of money that I owe him. But then, when I catch myself thinking like this, I immediately reject that thinking (which is already some progress toward holiness) and try to think how to deal with him properly (from a Christian perspective) and to pay the little bit that I owe. But upon further reflection I realize that the resentments are still alive within me and ready to spring up and affect my thinking and my actions at any time, as indeed they do.*

* As a related piece I note the thinking of Jonathan Haidt as expressed in his Why Good People are Divided by Religion and Politics. According to Haidt our emotions are represented by an elephant which tends to run riot. On the back of this elephant is rationality which wants to reign in the emotions. In the case here my resentments arise and seek to rule me and thus are part of the makeup of my elephant, while my dedication to Christian principles would be the rational rider seeking to express universal love. The two are in constant conflict here with regard to the tenant, and at any given moment either of the two would be in charge.

Considering now C. S. Lewis’ book The Great Divorce, if I should end up in Lewis’ hell (a dreary town where people are always trying to get away from others, preferring to be lonely and angry and resentful rather than put up with others), and if I learned that I could leave hell and enter heaven, but would also learn that the former tenant is in heaven, then I would quite possibly refuse to go to heaven in order to avoid having to deal with the tenant with all my resentments intact. These would have to be confessed publicly and given up, and according to Lewis that can prove to be very, very difficult.

The effect of achieving holiness (by means of a necessary miracle of God according to Wesleyan thinking, and conveyed shortly before death to those who have sincerely trusted in Jesus as Savior and have striven to emulate him as Lord) would be that I would no longer harbor any resentments or anger or hatred against anyone and would be able to easily meet with the former tenant in heaven and even enjoy his company. As a result of this miracle my resentful and demeaning thoughts would never even arise again. They would be dead and gone. For all such thoughts would remain solely the property of those who choose to remain and fester in hell (again: per Lewis).

Author contact: pmr#$, replacing #$ with @

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