Eastern Orthodox and the Atonement

I’ve read elsewhere that the EO do not hold to the Catholic view of the atonement, that since the split in the 1000s the views of both Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy diverged. Here is one explanation of the Eastern view that I found: toughquestionsanswered.org/2011/11/09/the-recapitulation-theory/ My question is, is this accurate? Is there any way to reconcile the views of both churches?

Sounds right to me.

I wonder if there is a good treatment of this history of this ostensible divergence. II am afraid that people like to stake out claims of differentiation Of Catholics and Orthodox on this point, but often what is presented as Catholicis a weird mix of Catholic and reformed ideas, while the Orthodox view is modern theologizing by Westerners.

Here are a couple of links that give a bit more of the Fathers than in your link:
razilazenje.blogspot.com/2005/06/some-patristic-quotations-on-divine.html
razilazenje.blogspot.com/2005/06/some-patristic-quotations-on-divine.html
razilazenje.blogspot.com/2006/07/divine-justice-substitution-and.html
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Interesting links. It would seem the Orthodox are closer to Catholicism than I was originally led to believe. In your opinion, what causes this distortion of beliefs? Are people just desperate to drive a wedge between Catholicism and Orthodoxy?

Which part sounds right? The explanation of the Orthodox position on the atonement? What do you think of the links dvdjs provided? In your opinion, are the Eastern and Western accounts of the atonement fundamentally different or can they be reconciled?

Yeah

What do you think of the links dvdjs provided?

I didn’t read them.

In your opinion, are the Eastern and Western accounts of the atonement fundamentally different or can they be reconciled?

From what I understand one cannot speak of a singular Western account. There are several, after all, including the Eastern one as expressed in Western language. There is sometimes legal language in the Orthodox world, but people debate whether or not it is meant to be legal or pastoral, that is ‘Western’ or Eastern, and discuss interpretation and meanings. I generally don’t pay attention to such debates, so I’m not the best person to ask.

I do know that there are certain aspects of the Substitutionary Atonement that are not just unacceptable to Orthodoxy, but abhorrent. I say this because I’ve seen the reactions Orthodox have to them. The idea that God had to receive blood punishment for sins doesn’t make any sense to us. The idea that the Father dealt the punishment we were to receive to Christ has been described as Divine child abuse. That the Father and Son somehow turned away from One Another is impossible, heretical Trinitarian theology.

As to whether they can be reconciled, I don’t really see why they need to be.

I’ve encountered several myself. I’m still struggling to understand which one the Catholic Church specifically teaches or if a diversity of opinion exists with the RCC about this.

Is blood punishment part of the standard western teachings? Or are there some where it is absent? I kind of agree with you about the necessity of blood atonement. It is making me increasingly uncomfortable and is part of the reason I am interested in the Orthodox account and whether or not a Catholic would be free to embrace it.

Would they not need to be reconciled if there is to be a reunion between East and West or could a united Church tolerate diverse opinions about an important (perhaps most important) subject?

I honestly don’t know. I don’t know all the models.

whether or not a Catholic would be free to embrace it.

I believe, but note that I’m not a Roman Catholic, that the Orthodox ‘model’ wouldn’t be acceptable as the primary one for a Roman Catholic. I’m pretty sure Roman Catholicism holds to some aspect of Substitutionary Atonement irrevocably, judging by their hymnography, iconography, and prayers.

Would they not need to be reconciled if there is to be a reunion between East and West or could a united Church tolerate diverse opinions about an important (perhaps most important) subject?

In case of reunion they would need to be reconciled, I suppose, yes. I don’t believe reconciliation will ever happen this side of Eternity and the Parousia, however, so their incompatibility isn’t a big deal to me.

While Scripture often employs the use of judicial terms or terms such as “ransom” or the “wrath of God” regarding the Atonement, and while the RCC acknowledges that something needed to be done about sin, something man could not accomplish on his own, the Church does not teach the penal substitutionary theory, or that man had to be saved from the wrath of God. Rather she teaches that God was exceedingly satisfied by the supreme act of love and obedience performed by Jesus on the cross for our sakes, plain and simple. The Atonement is all about the love of God for man. And the Church also teaches that Jesus, by His life, recapitulated the history of humankind beginning with Adam, restoring what Adam lost by his rebellion. Having said that, we have much to benefit from-a fuller understanding to be gained IMO- by hearing our Eastern counterpart’s wisdom on these matters.

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