Considering the satisfaction theory (not penal substitution), I have the following question: under this theory the good resulting from Christ’s sacrifice was greater than the evil of the whole world’s sins.

If the good of Christ’s sacrifice was not His punishment by the Father, what was it?

I’d say it was His love for us, demonstrated in no uncertain terms by His willingness to die for our sake.

God is infinite goodness and love. The amount of evil in the universe is nothing compared to that.


I post these all the time but I don’t think anyone ever listens to them. :stuck_out_tongue:

Either way I highly recommend this podcast. It answers your question very thoroughly and patristically. Please note it is from an Orthodox source not a Catholic one. I believe it is consistent with Catholic teaching as I understand it.

The Wrath of God

The good was the sacrifice itself. It was not a punishment (Jesus did not deserve punishment). It was Our Lord’s own freewill sacrifice, offered so that others (even sinners) could benefit:

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.[Romans 5:6-11]

Jesus was not an unwilling victim in this plan. It’s not like God snatched a mere mortal off the street and forced him to minister and die. Jesus, as the Second Person of the Trinity, was part of the plan from the beginning of time (and he was actually the Author of the plan).

If he wasn’t being punished how was it “for our sake”?

Thanks I’ll listen when I can can you summarize in the meantime?

Benefit how? Why is a freewill sacrifice good? If I just let someone chop off my hand is it good?

Consider this for context. Were the lambs and other animals sacrificed as sin offerings being punished for their sins? Of course not, right? They were innocent and so it is with Christ who though without sin suffered and died as the atonement for all mankind’s sins. He did this willingly as an expression of God’s love for us. Love that we do not deserve.

How is it an atonement for anything to get yourself killed?

Did what? Get himself killed?

If it is not a punishment - H.O.W. does his death atone for us?

…[If he wasn’t being punished how was it “for our sake”? ]…

Did what? Get himself killed?

If it is not a punishment - H.O.W. does his death atone for us?

Do you presume that atonement can only come through punishment?

What He did was offer Himself as a perfect sacrifice for a people who could only offer imprefect sacrifice.

It was for our sake that He offered Himself because He didn’t need to do it for His own sake. He didn’t even need to do it for us, except that He loves us so much that He chose to.

As Michael asked above, were the lambs and other animals sacrificed as sin offerings being punished for their sins?

If not, then how did their death atone as sin offerings? What good did it do for those lambs to get themselves killed?

That’s exactly what I’m asking.

What good did it do anyone? You’re not getting the question.

What is the **connection **between the death of the lamb and the atonement of humans with God. How is it that offering Himself up to be murdered atoned for our sins?

No, you asked if Christ’s atonement wasn’t a punishment, then how was it for our sake. Which is why I aksed you why you were presuming that atonment can only come via punishment, if you indeed were presuming such. Are you? If so, why?

It was someone else who brought up lambs, pointing out that their death was not a punishment for them, yet was still an act of atonement.

Your question and concern seems to presuppose that atonement can only come via punishment. Why do you believe that?


Do you presume that atonement can only come through punishment?

Were the lambs and other animals sacrificed as sin offerings being punished for their sins?
If not, then how did their death atone as sin offerings? What good did it do for those lambs to get themselves killed?

Don’t just keep parroting the word “sacrifice” - you’re blithering. He could have been a perfectly obedient yak farmer in Patagonia. What is the connection between** being murdered** on a cross and **atoning **for sins which has nothing to do with being punished?

Let’s presume no.


See also “Restitution”

I’ve read it many times.

In a certtain and limited sense, by virute of the fact that man had to sacrifice, give back to God, of the good He had given us. God blessed man with wonderful things, among them, animals. In offering God a perfect, unblemished lamb, man was giving back to God from among man’s choicest and valuable possessions. Yet, as unblemished and precious as that lamb was to man, we could still only offer an imperfect sacrifice in an imperfect manner. Christ became the perfect Lamb for us, and offered Himeslf in a perfect manner.

That’s an incomplete picture, but that’s as far as I understand it. Maybe someone with more learning or understanding can clarify more.

I won’t but I’ll quote St Gregory the Theologian. Of course he says it far better than I ever could. It is worth reading a couple of times.

Now we are to examine another fact and dogma, neglected by most people, but in my judgment well worth inquiring into. To Whom was that Blood offered that was shed for us, and why was It shed? I mean the precious and famous Blood of our God and High priest and Sacrifice. We were detained in bondage by the Evil One, sold under sin, and receiving pleasure in exchange for wickedness. Now, since a ransom belongs only to him who holds in bondage, I ask to whom was this offered, and for what cause? If to the Evil One, fie upon the outrage! If the robber receives ransom, not only from God, but a ransom which consists of God Himself, and has such an illustrious payment for his tyranny, a payment for whose sake it would have been right for him to have left us alone altogether. But if to the Father, I ask first, how? For it was not by Him that we were being oppressed; and next, On what principle did the Blood of His Only begotten Son delight the Father, Who would not receive even Isaac, when he was being offered by his Father, but changed the sacrifice, putting a ram in the place of the human victim? Is it not evident that the Father accepts Him, but neither asked for Him nor demanded Him; but on account of the Incarnation, and because Humanity must be sanctified by the Humanity of God, that He might deliver us Himself, and overcome the tyrant, and draw us to Himself by the mediation of His Son, Who also arranged this to the honor of the Father, Whom it is manifest that He obeys in all things? So much we have said of Christ; the greater part of what we might say shall be reverenced with silence. But that brazen serpent (Numbers 21:9) was hung up as a remedy for the biting serpents, not as a type of Him that suffered for us, but as a contrast; and it saved those that looked upon it, not because they believed it to live, but because it was killed, and killed with it the powers that were subject to it, being destroyed as it deserved. And what is the fitting epitaph for it from us? O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? You are overthrown by the Cross; you are slain by Him who is the Giver of life; you are without breath, dead, without motion, even though you keep the form of a serpent lifted up on high on a pole. - Orations 45:22

Well I don’t have better understanding but I will add one thing. The Jews did sacrifice animals to God. That doesn’t mean those animals were being punished. That doesn’t make any sense at all. It was a eucharistic and doxological action, thanking God for all of his blessings and glorifying Him.

Christ is the last and perfect sacrifice because He was completely and perfectly righteous keeping all of the law and being perfectly obedient to the Father. Jesus voluntarily took upon Himself the sins of the world, even “becoming sin” as St Paul would say. And He expiated those sins through His righteousness, not because of God being able to let us off the hook because of some necessity of law.

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