Edwards, Works, 1:609, says that two things make Christ?s sufferings a satisfaction for human guilt: (1) their equality or equivalence to the punishment that the sinner deserves, (2) the union between him and them, or the propriety of his being accepted, in suffering, as the representative of the sinner. Christ bore God?s wrath: (1) by the sight of sin and punishment, (2) by enduring the effects of wrath ordered by God. See also Edwards, Sermon on the Satisfaction of Christ. These statements of Edwards suggest the two points of view from which we regard the atonement but they come short of the Scriptural declarations, in that they do not distinctly assert Christ?s endurance of penalty itself. Thus they leave the way open for the New School theories of the atonement, propounded by the successors of Edwards.
Adolphe Monod said well: ?Save first the holy law of my God and after that you shall save me.? Edwards felt the first of these needs, for he says, in his Mysteries of Scripture, Works, 3:542 ? ?The necessity of Christ?s satisfaction to divine justice is, as it were, the center and hinge of all doctrines of pure revelation. Other doctrine is comparatively of little importance, except as they have respect to this.? And in his Work of Redemption, Works, 1:412 ? ?Christ was born to the end that he might die and therefore he did, as it were, begin to die as soon as he was born.? See <431232>John 12:32 ? ?And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself But this he said, signifying by what manner of death he should die. Christ was ?lifted up? as propitiation to the holiness of God, which makes suffering to follow sin, so affording the only ground for pardon without and peace within. Additionally he was lifted up as a power to purify the hearts and lives of men. Jesus being as ?the serpent lifted up in the wilderness? ( <430314>John 3:14), and we overcoming ?because of the blood of the Lamb? ( <661211>Revelation 12:11).
First, the Atonement as related to Holiness in God.
The Ethical theory holds that the necessity of the atonement is grounded in the holiness of God, of which conscience in man is a finite reflection. There is an ethical principle in the divine nature, which demands that sin shall be punished. Aside from its results, sin is essentially deserves ill. As we who are made in God?s image mark our growth in purity by the increasing quickness with which we detect impurity, and the increasing hatred which we feel toward it, so infinite purity is a consuming fire to all iniquity. As there is an ethical demand in our natures that not only others? wickedness, but also our own wickedness, be visited with punishment. A keen conscience cannot rest till it has made satisfaction to justice for its
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