What theory of atonement is right? I’m interested in hearing what you guys have to say about this. This topic honestly drives me crazy, there are so many theories, and Scripture itself seems to support a million different interpretations, and even then I am sometimes confused about why exactly it had to go down the way it did. Off the top of my head:
From St. Irenaeus. Christ united the divine and human in one person and recapitulated human life from birth until death in perfect sinlessness, restoring humanity to communion with God through the incarnation, eventually conquering death. Basically He did what Adam couldn’t.
From Anselm of Canterbury. Sin offended God’s honor, and sinning against an infinitely holy God warrants infinite punishment. Humanity cannot make restitution, and thus Jesus Christ as God-man comes and pays off our debt with his supererogatory sacrifice on the cross.
Christ ransomed us from slavery to the devil somehow. Sometimes the Church Fathers write that His body was a divine fish-hook or trap that the devil tried to take, and he fell for it, and it somehow liberated us and freed the souls from Hades.
>Penal substitutiom theory
Sin requires a penalty of punishment, no satisfaction could be offered, Christ took this in our place, and this free gift is received through faith in Christ.
To me, I feel like all of these have elements of truth. When humanity fell into sin, there was an infinite gap created between humanity and God that we could not bridge ourselves. The sentence of death was just, and humanity was incapable of satisfying God’s demands for restitution. So the Father out of His mercy and love, sent His only-begotten Son to assume human nature, to recapitulate every stage of life, restoring it to communion with God, completing what Adam failed to do, and then dying on the cross for the purposes of satisfying divine justice in our place, ransoming humanity from the clutches of death and rising on the third day. Christ thereby opened to us the path of divinization / theosis, allowing us by grace to become sons of God and co-heirs with Christ. We were redeemed, reconciled, saved and given a possibility for greater communion than ever before. This is at least my attempt to reconcile what I have seen in Scripture and some of the stuff I mentioned above. Let me know what you guys think or what you hold true.