Sacrifice and redemption durham essays


During an appearance on the Today show he mentioned that he forgives Bill Clinton.

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His forgiveness created an uproar in the evangelical community. In reconciling us to God, Jesus brings about a new relationship; he enables God to re-create our relationship from one of hostility to one of harmony. In other words, divine justice is that which reconciles through the mercy of forgiveness. It is justice satisfied by mercy. Rather than holding mercy and justice in polarity, justice and mercy work together, one in polyphony with the other.

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Whereas retributive justice seeks to fit the punishment to the crime and attempts to control wrongdoing through punishment, restorative justice forgives the crime and seeks to redeem wrongdoing through the repair of the relationship. We see in the New Testament evidence of a movement away from the pur- suit of retribution, vengeance, and retaliation towards a pursuit of forgiveness, conciliation, and new life.

Through the actions of Jesus, we gain an understanding of the divine response to retributive violence and conceptions of human justice. Rather than shouting threats of retaliation in the name of God, Jesus set in mo- tion the ultimate expression of divine justice and its reconciling character by ask- ing God to forgive us. The process of forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration without retaliation demonstrates the most profound level of justice.

He offers an illustration of a man who is owed a certain amount and who receives double the payment from his debtor. In contrast, forgiveness without retribution, in other words, restorative justice, forgives another, accepting the pain caused by the offense and forgiving it rather than throwing the hurt and pain back on the offender in retaliation. No hangover of retributive systems still showing itself in the New Testament can negate this.

Baker work against justice but is, instead, exhibiting liberality and goodwill. For a pardon is a sort of present; St. Paul calls forgiving a giving, forgiv- ing one another as God in Christ forgave you. Clearly mercy does not take justice away, but is like it in fullness; as St. James says, mercy triumphs over judgment. The man who waives satisfaction and forgives an offence done to himself acts mercifully, not unjustly. On the one hand, ideas of satisfaction that include ingredients of a violent economic contract, retribution, or payment are unjust at the least and, at most, absurd.

The medieval theologian Abelard also speaks of justice in harmony with mercy and with love. Our justification, through loving forgiveness, is just—it serves to satisfy justice and is a gift from God.

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A gift is something freely presented to another. I do not give a gift and expect payment for it.

Similarly, if we truly forgive another, we do not ask for ret- 21 ST Ia, q. Ex quo patet quod misericordia non tollit justitiam, sed est quaedam justitiae plenitudo. Unde dicitur Jac. ST Ia, q. Et ideo si dimittat peccatum, quod habet rationem culpae, ex eo quod contra ipsum committitur, nulli facit injuriam: sicut quicumque homo remittit offensam in se commissam absque satisfactione, misericord- iter et non injuste agit. Fairweather, ed. Abelard equates divine justice with divine love.

Divine love forgives human sin. See Richard E. Continental philosophers and theologians, like Jacques Derrida and John Caputo, assert, however, that as imperfect human beings we are never free from the mechanisms of economies of exchange. Our human notions of justice are similarly infected with conceptions of revenge, retribution, and economies of exchange that demand the balancing of books.

God, however, can and does give the perfect gift could a gift from God be anything else? Divine forgiveness is a perfect gift, a gift of justice that mirrors mer- cy, that triumphs over retribution and human notions of balanced books. Divine forgiveness is justice that triumphs in mercy. Only unconditional, aneconomic forgiveness can be a true gift.


In that case, by forgiving us God gives us what Jesus has earned for us. Caputo affirms this thesis in his own words: So if the other is to be forgiven only after measuring up to certain condi- tions, if the other must earn or deserve forgiveness, then to forgive him is to give him just what he has earned, to give him his just wages. But that would not be to give a gift, but to give the other his due, to repay the labor of his repentance with the wages of forgiveness; it would be not a gift but the economy of retributive justice. Aquinas, however, applies this notion of forgiveness to humans, but not to God.

That gift is a give-away. Le don is inseparable from le par-don. As the gift must not be a secret calculation of a way to get a return for oneself, so it must not encumber the other with a debt. Whatever debts, whatever guilt, the other incurs must be forgiven. In an older version of the story29 the Pharisee is a good man, paying his dues to God, and the tax collector is a sinner, who does not pay his dues to God. God does not get caught up in the endless cycle of economic exchange, a tit for tat, and quid pro quo.

Sacrifice and Redemption: Durham Essays in Theology

These essays explore the role sacrificial metaphor has to play in theological interpretation of the death of Christ, and ask whether such a metaphor makes sense. Cambridge Core - Theology - Sacrifice and Redemption - edited by S. W. Sykes. Durham Essays in Theology. Sacrifice and Redemption. Access. Cited by 4.

Instead, God forgives all human beings unconditionally, with boundless, radical, incomprehensible love. The Greek word aphesis means a letting go or dismissal, to set free or to acquit or remit, so that the concept and act of forgiving is the foreswearing of a legitimate reason for complaint, a letting go of an offense and right to demand retribution. Instead, forgiveness seeks to establish a relationship in spite of an offense.

We forgive non-sinners, who have earned it. See also A. Wilson argues that Lk. Of course, recreating an older form of the text that makes the desired point is always a rather dubi- ous endeavor.

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Wink stresses that repentance does not come before forgiveness; God freely forgives whether or not we repent. Wink believes, as do I, however, that repentance on the part of the offending party must occur. The New Testament story of the forgiving father in Luke 15 hints at 34 the costly nature of forgiveness.

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The father is willing to suffer the pain from the wrong done to him by his son and still offer forgiveness. Instead he prepares a banquet for his son. It means absorbing the wrong instead of retaliating; giving, and not demanding any quid pro quo. Human beings tend to have difficulty accepting the possibility that God forgives sin unconditionally, since from a human viewpoint forgiveness of such magnitude is impossible.

The thought of divine forgiveness, extravagant, freely bestowed forgiveness, puts our teeth on edge for some reason. We seem to feel the need to see others suffer for their wrongdoing, although we ourselves hope to escape just such suffering. It is un-accountable. God gives just this kind of forgive- ness. Those who have suffered grave injustices at the hands of abusive religious leaders, spouses, or governments have reason to begrudge such liberal forgive- ness. Keeping faith in unredeemable situations sometimes remains possible only when victims of injustice can hang onto the hope that God will vindicate them at some point either in time or in eternity.

Yet such non-retaliatory forgiveness may 34 Moule, Forgiveness and Reconciliation, Moule suggests that forgive- ness includes a type of death to self in that the self gives up or sacrifices the selfish desire for revenge or retribution. Caputo, ed. James H. Olthuis New York: Routledge, , ; B. Caputo in Focus, ed. Forsyth, The Cruciality of the Cross, 2nd ed. London: Independent Press, , Forsyth proclaims that a feeble gospel preaches that God is ready to forgive.

A strong and impelling gospel an- nounces the good news that God has already forgiven. Caputo,,Weakness of God, Baker have profound consequences for the one forgiven with such sacrificial abandon. In fact, the expenditure of forgiveness often results in a response of repentance that proves just as sacrificial. Forgiveness calls to the offender with love, summoning him or her to take responsibility for the offense, to give up the self-involvement, and to repent of the offense.

From Sacrifice to the Slaughterhouse

Human sin incurred an unimaginable debt to God, a horrific and unfathom- able chasm between God and creation so that we have no relationship with God. Nonetheless, as God forgives, God reaches out and embraces all of us, even the worst of us.

Sacrifice and redemption durham essays in theology

Submissions to the contest should be sent as attachments to ptr ptsem. Edinburgh: T. The result of his life and teachings led to his death. Specifically, atonement metaphors combine the narrative of creation with the nar- rative of redemption by integrating universal human experiences—indeed, the entirety of the created order—with a narrative that begins with Israel, reaches its apex in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and continues by the Holy Spirit in the eschatological acts of the Church. Other readers will always be interested in your opinion of the books you've read. But see Marbock 19 71,

Such boundless love and unexpected forgiveness in the face of our own sin and guilt reveals, as in a mirror, the deformity of our own guilt. Becom- ing our own judge, expecting retribution and receiving love in its place, enables us to realize the extent of our sin. Consequently, we repent so that reconciliation and the creation of a new relationship can take place between God and those who repent. If the passion did not take place in order to satisfy God in a violent economy of exchange necessary for forgiveness, why the cross?

What relevance does the passion of Jesus hold for us today? John the Baptist, with whom Jesus was compared, had been executed, and Jesus must have seen the writing on the wall. Bailie, Violence Unveiled, Luscombe Oxford: Clarendon Press, , The non-sacrificial canon refuses a mercantile calculation in God.

Christianity is repaint- ing in new colors the solidarity with the oppressed poor and of the hope of a coming historical change. Aquinas clearly blames the rulers of Jerusalem for the death of Christ, yet, at the same time, he believes that they got away with their wickedness only because Christ submitted to their violence. Baker test against injustice, oppression, and systemic evil. In so doing, he exposed them and simultaneously condemned the violence and offered forgiveness. Christ suffered because human agents killed him; he suffered for us by standing with us in our own suffering.

Aquinas clearly considers the sacrifice of Jesus a sacrifice of love and obedience rather than as the immolation of a victim.