Tag Archives: Doctrine of Atonement

Biblical Nuggets: Abailard’s “Moral Influence” View of the Atonement

Abailard rejects Anselmian “Satisfaction” view of the atonement. He finds the idea of satisfaction inexplicable and nonsensical. He believes faith must be subjective to reason and reason alone must have authority. So, he raises a number of objections to Anselmian view.

(1) How could God be reconciled with the death of his Son when murder of his Son is far greater crime than eating fruit in the garden of Eden?

(2) What standard of justice is carried out since an innocent person is killed over nothing and people are pleased? It seems cruel to demand the blood of an innocent person and wicked to please by that price.

(3) How can this satisfaction be effective?

(i)     To whom was the ransom paid – God?

(ii)   Who set the price – God?

(iii)  To who was this obligation to be discharged – God?

Abailard proposes solution to this problem by shifting emphasis away from the Death of Christ to his Life and shift away from the satisfaction of divine justice to the impact of Divine Love. And he concludes that there is no other explanation for atonement of Christ than the revelation of divine love. Therefore, there is no logic apart from love.

Biblical Nuggets: Anselm’s “Satisfaction” View of the Atonement

In Cur Deus Homo (Why God man?), Anselm seeks to understand the divine logic of the atonement. He is concerned about utilizing tools of logic and learning to articulate his faith,  “I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand.”

A summary of Anselm’s argument in Cur Deus Homo

(a) The human race has offended God’s honor and therefore has incurred an infinite debt

(b) It would be unfitting and unjust for God to accept humans as they are

(c) Redemption requires repaying the infinite debt, which fallen humanity cannot do

(d) It is unfitting that no human being should attain the goal for which humanity was created.  Otherwise God would have pointlessly created humanity

(e) Therefore, in creating humanity, God freely obligated himself to complete his work in humanity

(f) Only God can repay the debt, humanity ought to repay it; therefore the one who does it must be both divine and human (that is, a God-man).

(g) In order to redeem those who fell through Adam’s sin, the God-man must be a descendant of Adam, not a new sort of creature or a human from another “race.”

(h) Since the God-man is a good greater than the evil of all sins, his voluntary death can make recompense for all sins if it is given for their remission

Biblical Material in support of the Satisfaction Theory (Sampling)

(i)     Isaiah 53:5 (ii)   Mark 10:45 (iii)  John 1:29 (iv)  I Peter 2:24 (v)   I John 2:2 (vi)  Isaiah 53:10 (vii) Col. 1:19-20 (viii) Isaiah 53:6 (ix)  Mark 10:45 (x) II Cor 5:21


Note: taken from Doctrine II handouts 2009 – “The Nature and Extent of the Atonement” by D. Felch.

Biblical Nuggets: Moral Influence Model

Moral Influence Model: It is also known as Subjective or Humanist model commonly associated to Anselm’s fellowman Abelard. He is very critical to Satisfactory Model. It lost prominence in the church after Anselm. Later, it was raised prominently in the 19th century liberal movement.

Moral Influence Model views that sinners are so moved by the love of God demonstrated on the Cross, so they follow the example and love of God. The love of God draws sinner to him.

Subjective – change takes place in the heart of human being or human heart changes attitude toward God and love God.

Biblical Nuggets: Satisfaction Model Atonement

The Satisfaction Model (Objective or Latin or Vicarious Atonement): This is the view that most Christians are very familiar with when it comes to the Doctrine of Atonement. According to this view, Jesus Christ provides propitiation for God’s judgment to reconcile sinners with God. The Objective atonement occurs in this model as to change God’s attitude toward sinners, as once we were God’s enemies. Vicarious atonement is the view within Satisfaction Model that Jesus is the substitutionary sacrifice who died in our place.