Saturday, March 14, 2009

Question 2 from Negative


One theme I have constantly emphasized is the notion of “making atonement” without an innocent party having to get punished. I have already mentioned some examples, but now I would like to present one more such example:

Exodus 30: 11 Then the LORD said to Moses, 12 "When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the LORD a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them. 13 Each one who crosses over to those already counted is to give a half shekel, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs. This half shekel is an offering to the LORD. 14 All who cross over, those twenty years old or more, are to give an offering to the LORD. 15 The rich are not to give more than a half shekel and the poor are not to give less when you make the offering to the LORD to atone for your lives. 16 Receive the atonement money from the Israelites and use it for the service of the Tent of Meeting. It will be a memorial for the Israelites before the LORD, making atonement for your lives."

It turns out that even money can make atonement for lives. In fact, this “atonement” is equated with “ransom” for life. Another significant passage that mentions a ransom for life is Exodus 21:

28"If an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall surely be stoned and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall go unpunished. 29"If, however, an ox was previously in the habit of goring and its owner has been warned, yet he does not confine it and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner also shall be put to death.30"If a ransom is demanded of him, then he shall give for the redemption of his life whatever is demanded of him.

In this case a man, guilty of murder by negligence, instead of receiving the death penalty can offer a sum of money for his life. As most are aware, the term “ransom” appears in the New Testament on a few occasions, specifically connected with salvation. For example,

Matthew 20: 26 Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

The phrase “give his life as a ransom” is undoubtedly a reference to atonement. Also, the passage indicates it is the value and quality of one's life, not a punishment itself, that is what is given as a ransom. Throughout this debate you seem to have been hesitant to accept my Scriptural examples of atonement being made without the use of Penal Substitution. The question I have for you is: Do you believe atonement can be made without the use of Penal Substitution? If yes, then explain why that cannot be the case with Christ, especially when He is said to make a ransom with his life. If no, then explain how Penal Substitution fits in both Exodus 30:11-16 and the text describing Christ's life as a ransom.

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