On Sunday I played the organ in a chapel service for the third time, and then went for a walk to the local Lake with friends, spending half-an-hour sunbathing in the heat.
Without deadlines the last couple of weeks have been a major time to spend reading and thinking, and having joined the recently formed Philosophy Society in Lampeter university, there have been lots of topics to discuss, and lots of ideas to think about.
I’ve also been researching and discussing atonement and salvation theology with a friend from the university chapel, Nathan. Here’s a quote I found during my research which I particularly liked:
[There] are costs that God bears wherever sin impairs a possible divine-creaturely relationship. The crucifixion of Jesus, in so far as it is the act of God as well as the self-offering of a human life, is the particular and definitive historical expression of the universal sacrifice of God is bearing the cost of sin. Sin is a harm done to God, inasmuch as it causes God to know, and to share, the suffering and reality of evil. The ‘ransom’ God pays is to accept this cost, to bear with evil, in order that it should be redeemed, transfigured, in God. The ransom is not paid to anyone. The offering God makes is accepting the harm done by humanity, in order that it might be transfigured, accepted yet overcome, in the divine being itself.
– Keith Ward, What the Bible Really Teaches: A Challenge for Fundamentalists (London: SPCK, 2004), pp.109-10
In short, I came to the conclusion that God as Jesus expresses an understanding of human emotion and suffering. Jesus as a divine being lived with us to show us peace and healing, and that in his alienation and death he understood the negatives of human experience, understood pain too. His vision of love and peace within the expression of human emotion in growth with free will was what Jesus was willing to die for. Rather than a salvation theology view of Jesus dying to take on our sins as a blood sacrifice, a liberation theology of Jesus living and dying to show an understanding and connection, a liberating from darkness and sin, makes more sense. He shows us a way to light.