responsibility for all human sin, and ?it was necessary that the Christ should suffer? ( <441703>Acts 17:3 ). This suffering was an enduring of the reaction of the divine holiness against sin and so was a bearing of penalty ( <235306>Isaiah 53:6; <480313>Galatians 3:13), but it was also the voluntary execution of a plan that antedated creation ( <501706>Philippians 2:6, 7), and Christ?s sacrifice in time showed what had been in the heart of God from eternity ( <580914>Hebrews 9:14; Revelations 13:8).

Our treatment is intended to meet the chief modern objection to the atonement. Greg, Creed of Christendom, 2:222, speaks of ?the strangely inconsistent doctrine that God is so just that he could not let sin go unpunished, yet so unjust that he could punish it in the person of the innocent. It is for orthodox dialectics to explain how the divine justice can be impugned by pardoning the guilty, and yet vindicated by punishing the innocent? (quoted in Lias, Atonement, 16). In order to meet this difficulty, the following accounts of Christ?s identification with humanity have been given:

1. That of Isaac Watts (see Bibliotheca Sacra, 1875:421). This holds that the humanity of Christ, both in body and soul, preexisted before the incarnation, and was manifested to the patriarchs. We reply that Christ?s human nature is declared to be derived from the Virgin.

2. That of R. W. Dale (Atonement, 265-440). This holds that Christ is responsible for human sin because, as the Upholder and Life of all, he is naturally one with all men, and is spiritually one with all believers

( <441728>Acts 17:28 ? ?in him we live, and move and have our being?; Colossians l:l7 ? ?in him all things consist?. <431420>John 14:20 ? ?I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you?). If Christ?s bearing our sins, however, is to be explained by the union of the believer with Christ the effect is made to explain the cause and Christ could have died only for the elect (see a review of Dale, in Brit. Quar. Rev., Apr., 1876:221-225). The union of Christ with the race by creation, a union which recognizes Christ?s purity and man?s sin, still remains as a most valuable element of truth in the theory of Dr. Dale.

3 . That of Edward Irving. Christ has a corrupted nature, an inborn infirmity and depravity, which he gradually overcomes. But the Scriptures, on the contrary, assert his holiness and separateness from sinners. (See references, on pages 744-747.)

4. That of John Miller, Theology, 114-128; also in his chapter: Was Christ in Adam? in Questions Awakened by the Bible. Christ, as to his

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment