Turning the question around

Marcus Borg asks a question about God and the cross as understood in satisfaction theories of atonement:

Thus the payment understanding sees the death of Jesus as ultimately God’s will. But one must ask: really? Was it God’s will that this remarkably good person, centered in God to an extraordinary degree, be killed? If so, what does that say about what God is like?

After reading this, my first thought went something like this: Is he not aware that Jesus is God?

But then my second thought went like this: You are asking the wrong question. The death of Jesus does not indict God. It indicts us.

The question raised here is “What could have been so wrong with us that only the death of Jesus could fix it?” What does it say about us that this remarkably good person — even more than that, the Son of God — had to die that we might live? Am I so far gone, that nothing else would have worked?

It was God’s will that we be freed. It was God’s will that we be let loose from death. It was God’s will that we be born from above. To do this, he lived among us and went to the cross.

That is how I understand satisfaction theories of atonement. I don’t think it is the only theory that makes sense, but I do not find it the horror that Borg and many others do. Indeed, I find it quite a powerful testament to God’s love.


2 thoughts on “Turning the question around

  1. Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist–he denies the Father and the Son.
    1 John 2:22

    Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.
    2 John 1:7

    Taking into account the above and considering the positions Borg hold, What does that make Borg to be? What I have read of Borg makes him into a confused man. He wants to believe in some god but simply cannot intellectually accept the God of the Christian faith as revealed in scripture. Christ, in the eyes of Borg, is a high mystic and the Bible is simply a book of recorded myths and legends. A lot of what Borg says is not accurate and is incomplete.
    There are tons of critiques of Borg’s theology available to read. Borg offers nothing new. The great councils of the church put Borg’s assertions to rest a long time ago.

    With hollyboardman as well as Borg in mind……
    Cooking Up Gotterdamerung: Radical Feminist Worship Substitutes Self for God by Donna F. G. Hailson & Karelynne Gerber pretty much sum up what spiritual liberationists like Borg teach, what they would have the church embrace and why they are wrong. Naomi Goldenberg’s Changing of the Gods: Feminism and the End of Traditional Religion is also informative on the issue. Radical is the key word and the link is directed at radical feminists theology BUT applies as much to Borg as it does to the radical wing of feminism.


  2. Marcus Borg seems to stumble at “real incarnation” (T. F. Torrance’s term). The atoning or blessed exchange, in which God acts for us and on our behalf FROM WITHIN our actual existence, in Jesus Christ, is unfathomable and unreal to him.

Comments are closed.