“Some good questions. I have mentioned this before elsewhere, but this is a very appropriate place to bring it up again. The idea of substitutionary atonement is deeply rooted in Judaism. Remember that in Genesis 3, we owe death for our sin…He needed to become the perfect sacrifice, He needed to pay the penalty that was due the Lord, He needed to take our death onto Himself” (Mike)
“Uhm…Mike…I think you are forgetting something in this theology….we all still die…yeah…it’s still happening. So if Jesus’ sacrifice was to replace the ‘temporary coverings’ then how come death is still being required of us? Did i miss a memo somewhere?…If Jesus has taken our death – then there should be no death at all for us who believe?” (SVS)
“Yes, it is. But His resurrection is “proof” of that future promise being fulfilled. This is confirmed in Paul’s epistles as well as Revelation. Revelation especially shows the saints yearning for that future restoration of the new heavens and new earth. The “not yet” aspect is also prophesied in the Old Testament (Ezek. 37). Jesus accomplished in the middle of history what He will do for us at the end of history.” (Brad)
“But Brad, if it is ‘not yet’ then what did the atonement actually accomplish? Jesus resurrected – that’s great – but we all die still irregardless of some subsitution for our sins (which apparently is the penalty for our sin – this death thing – passed on from Adam)…we are still paying for our sins (dying) because the substitution is not fulfilled? Isn’t that what it has to mean in this theoogy? It’s also quite ludicrous to say Adam sinned so he died and we will not die because our sin has been wiped clean…fact of the matter is…we die…thus sin still exists.” (SVS)
See, here is the problem with the rhetoric…sin = death. We are all still dying – that’s a fact we all can attest to (even as I sit here and read the obituaries). So if we are so ‘free from sin’ as is claimed – then shouldn’t it also be that we wouldn’t die (since sin is taken care of)? But we do die. So the atonement theory needs more explaining in my opinion – what did Jesus die for then? And if sin is still the problem and Jesus died to correct the situation some 2000+ years later – and sin is still the problem (forget resurrection) – how does this all work?
Taken from ‘Substitutionary Atonement’ on Confessions of a Seminarian.