To teach that sin will be punished, there must be punishment. Potwin: ?How the exhibition of what sin deserves, but does not get, can satisfy justice, is hard to see.? The Socinian view of Christ as an example of virtue is more intelligible than the Grotian view of Christ as an example of chastisement. Lyman Abbott: ?If I thought that Jesus suffered and died to produce a moral impression on me, it would not produce a moral impression on me.? William Ashmore: ?A stage tragedian commits a mock murder in order to move people to tears. If Christ was in no sense a substitute, or if he was not co-responsible with the sinner he represents, then God and Christ are participants in a real tragedy. This tragedy, the most awful that ever darkened human history, simply for the sake of its effect on men to move their callous sensibilities ? a stage trick for the same effect.?
The mother pretends to cry in order to induce her child to obey. But the child will obey only while it thinks the mother?s grief is a reality and the last state of that child is worse than the first. Christ?s atonement is not a play of passion. Hell cannot be cured by homeopathy. The sacrifice of Calvary is no dramatic exhibition of suffering for the purpose of producing a moral impression on awe-stricken spectators. It is an object lesson only because it is a reality. All God?s justice and all God?s love are focused in the Cross so that it teaches more of God and his truth than all space and time beside.
John Milton, Paradise Lost, book 5 , speaks of ?mist, the common gloss of theologians.? Such mist is the legal fiction by which Christ?s suffering is taken in place of legal penalty while yet it is not the legal penalty itself. E.
G. Robinson: ?Atonement is not an arbitrary contrivance, so that if one person will endure a certain amount of suffering, a certain number of others may go scot-free.? Mercy never cheats justice. Yet the New School theory of atonement admits that Christ cheated justice by a trick. It substituted the penalty of Christ for the penalty of the redeemed and then substituted something else for the penalty of Christ.
(e) The intensity of Christ?s sufferings in the garden and on the cross is inexplicable upon the theory that the atonement was a histrionic exhibition of God?s regard for his government and can be explained only upon the view that Christ actually endured the wrath of God against human sin.
Christ refused the ?wine mingled with myrrh? ( <411523>Mark 15:23) that he might, to the last, have full possession of his powers and speak no words but words of truth and soberness. His cry of agony: ?My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?? ( <402746>Matthew 27:46 ), was not an ejaculation
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