Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Is Christ's Atonement Irrational?

I've been writing about the top ten reasons why people are not Christians as the direct result of a letter that I got and a man that I met who said "I want to talk about the reasons I will not embrace the Christian worldview."

Another reason this gentleman says he is not a believer and why, vicariously, a lot of other people say they are not believers, is that he finds the idea of humankind being tainted by one man's sin, and then redeemed by another man, Jesus Christ, irrational. This is not just wrong, in his view, it is irrational. To that I would respond, if one does not like being represented by the first man, Adam, because the idea of representation appears unfair, then perhaps that same person, in the interests of fairness, does not want to be represented by the second man, Jesus Christ.

There's nothing unfair about this. We fall in one man and we've ratified that fall. Every one of us, in the quietness of our own room, knows that we are sinners in need of a Savior. No one does right. The heart is desperately wicked. Therefore, we cannot be reconciled to an altogether loving and great God without the mediation of Jesus Christ, Who suffered more than any man, suffered more than the cumulative sufferings of all of mankind, so that we could be redeemed.

I sometimes feel as though we have diminished God and elevated man and do not see that chasm of sin that separates one from the other. Sometimes we fail to recognize that God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, and that Son was willing, as the one who spoke and the universe leapt into existence, to lie prostrate in the pool of His own blood before His creation so that we might be reconciled to Him for time and for eternity. Such love, perhaps, is irrational to our way of thinking, but that is how much God loved us. He didn't need us. The Godhead was fulfilled within itself and yet He loved us enough to reconcile us to Him for time and for eternity. That is inexplicable, but not irrational.

9 comments:

Vargas said...

The way you love to go on attacking other groups (Wiccans and other pagans, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Scientists, etc.) are you sure you want to keep the comments on your blog turned on? Because I'm quite sure you're going to get a taste of your own medicine, the medicine that you've been dishing out on that radio show of yours.

I'd turn comments off if I were you.

reality check said...

Hank, you haven't proven anything against this guys belief! He's winning the debate. You haven't proven that his belief is not irrational. You just changed "irrational" to "unfair" and basically said you disagree but you didn't prove him wrong. Try again, maybe with a little more thought and effort!

John K said...

Reality Check,
First of all, Hank’s onus is not to prove “this guy’s” belief irrational (by the way, you used a double negative; ‘not irrational’ would mean ‘rational’ and Hank would never set out to try to prove an opposing view rational.) The skeptic’s view might seem perfectly rational based on a faulty premise that God does not exist or that the Christian story is all wrong. But if his presuppositions are wrong, then his whole line of thinking is in error.

All Hank has set out to do is to explain the rationality of the Christian worldview which assumes the existence of God, the sinfulness of mankind and therefore his need for a saviour. Any one of these points would have to be addressed separately, but given these premises, the process of salvation is completely logical, step by step.

It is “this guy” who is making the accusation of irrationality, and of course, that he would feel this way is to be understood, because he is starting from completely different assumptions. And make no mistake, assumptions they are!
In the context of this discussion, it is up to him to prove Christianity wrong.

David Mackey said...

I don't agree with vargas on turning the comments off. Being able to interact with the author of a blog is a big part of why I read blogs. If the author removes that ability I oftentimes stop reading.
Anyways, I think that chaos theory may give us a possible rational answer for why Jesus' atonement on the cross "makes sense." If we think about Adam's sin we can think that that one sin began a demise which was irreversible...and that the course that was set by man was so off-course that no man could resolve it - nor even the entirety of mankind. Rather, to reverse this butterfly effect God had to introduce himself into the equation. By becoming and dying as a God-man He reversed at a quantum level the decay and made possible righteousness, forgiveness, and perfection. I'm just speculating, but I think it could be a good guess.

Shields Home Team said...

Hank,
Thanks for the article! Great Job.

reality check said...

John K, the guy wrote to Hank and said he thought atonement and such was IRRATIONAL, not "unfair". Hank changed the discussion from irrational to "unfair" which is completely different than "unfair". Irrational means senseless and illogical. Thus Hank didn't answer anything(being the answerman he is).Does anyone else smell straw?

John K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John K said...

(Previous comment deleted for spelling error)
Reality Check,
Yes, I agree that the original objection was not of unfairness, and the insertion of unfairness into the discussion may have clouded the original point.

But in his central paragraph, Hank addressed very succinctly the rationality of the Christian faith.

"Every one of us, in the quietness of our own room, knows that we are sinners in need of a Savior. No one does right. The heart is desperately wicked. Therefore, we cannot be reconciled to an altogether loving and great God without the mediation of Jesus Christ, Who suffered more than any man, suffered more than the cumulative sufferings of all of mankind, so that we could be redeemed."

I believe that in itself addresses the accusation of irrationality.

With these "givens", the existence of God, the rebellion of man and the need for a reconciliatory agent (Jesus Christ), the Christian faith is completely rational, whether anyone sees it or not.

Take Care

L. Armstrong said...

The Gospel is inexplicable and irrational from sinful man's point of view because we are born dead and blind in our sin. God through His mercy and grace makes us alive and opens our eyes, only then can we spend the rest of our lives and eternity thereafter learning what He has done and giving Him all the glory!