should contemplate the death on the Cross, in the same way as an expiatory means of salvation for the redemption of the sinful world?
?We are thus led to see in this theory the symbolical presentment of the truth that the new man suffers, as it were, vicariously, for the old man. He takes upon himself the daily pain of self-subjugation and bears guiltlessly in patience the evils, which the old man could not but necessarily impute to himself as punishment. Therefore as Christ is the exemplification of the moral idea of man, so his death is the symbol of that moral process of painful self-subjugation in obedience and patience, in which the true inner redemption of man consists. In like manner Fichte said that the only proper means of salvation is the death of selfhood, death with Jesus, regeneration.
The defect in the Kant-Fichtean doctrine of redemption consisted in this, that it limited the process of ethical transformation to the individual, and endeavored to explain it from his subjective reason and freedom alone. How could the individual deliver himself from his powerlessness and become free? This question was unsolved. The Christian doctrine of redemption is that the moral liberation of the individual is not the effect of his natural power but the effect of the divine Spirit. From the beginning of human history, the Spirit put forth his activity as the Power educating to the good, and especially has created for himself in the Christian community a permanent organ for the education of the people and of individuals. It ?as the moral individualism of Kant which prevented him from finding in the historically realized common spirit of the good the real force available for the Individual becoming good.?
C. Theories of the Atonement.
1. The Socinian, or Example Theory of the Atonement.
This theory holds that subjective sinfulness is the sole barrier between man and God. Not God, but only man, needs to be reconciled. The only method of reconciliation is to better man?s moral condition. This can be effected by man?s own will through repentance and reformation. The death of Christ is but the death of a noble martyr. He redeems us, only as his human example of faithfulness to truth and duty has a powerful influence upon our moral improvement. This fact the apostles, either consciously or unconsciously clothed in the language of the Greek and Jewish sacrifices. This theory was fully elaborated by Lelius Socinus and Faustus Socinus of Poland, in the 16th century. Its modern advocates are found in the Unitarian body.
Was this article helpful?