Saturday, January 30, 2021

Atonement - in for a penny, in for a pound

This post continues to explore the implications of my assessment that the word punish should not be associated with the actions of God. 

It is commonplace to hear from Christians that God punished Jesus so that we could be saved from our sins and many other words to that effect. This is known as penal substitution. If God does not punish, as I have assumed from reading the Tanakh, then this statement that God punished Jesus cannot be true.

I think it is more likely that no one can be punished for another's sin. We all suffer when anyone sins. 

Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. This is accurate reporting, but it is not by any means easy to understand. That preposition for is a slippery beast. 

There are verses in the Old Testament that tradition uses to explain the death of Jesus. Like those of Isaiah 53. These words need not be unique to Jesus.

What Isaiah seems to say is that all can share in the suffering of this person that he is writing about and in the sighing of God over evil. Christians believe that God vindicated Jesus. So be it. And God will equally vindicate with him and has vindicated all those who suffer with him. Isaiah did not compose this passage out of thin air. He knew people whose suffering mirrored the sighing of God for his people. And I have no doubt he and others like him bear my sin also as I have shared in bearing theirs. 

There is not punishment here, but gift. What does he say, Go and do thou likewise. Such action is the obedience of faith rather than self-protection, as if we could be shielded from reality. Yet we cannot fail to know both sides of this. That is the knowledge of good and evil.

iwyihu

Isaiah

ng

53

ami hamin lwmuytnu?
uzroy ihvh yl-mi nglth?
1Who believes what we heard?
And the arm of Yahweh, to whom disclosed?
bviyl cionq lpniv vcworw marx xiih la-toar lo vla hdr.
vnrahu vla mrah vnkmdhu.
2He grew up as a sapling in his presence, as a root from arid earth. Not handsome was he, nor was he honoured.
And if we see him, there is no charisma that we should be attracted to him.
gnbzh vkdl aiwim aiw mcaobot viduy koli,
ucmstr pnim mmnu nbzh vla kwbnuhu.
3He is despised and set aside by everyone, a sorrowful person, one who knows illness,
like someone from whom we would hide our faces. He is despised and we did not consider him.
dacn kvliinu hua nwa umcaobinu sblm.
vanknu kwbnuhu nguy much alohim umyunh.
4Nevertheless our illnesses he himself bore and the burden of our sorrows he carries.
And we ourselves consider him contagion, struck by God, answered.
hvhua mkoll mpwyinu mduca myvonotinu.
musr wlomnu yliv ubkburto nrpa-lnu.
5But he was profaned for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities.
The chastening of our wholeness is on him, and in his stripes is our healing.
vculnu cxan tyinu aiw ldrco pninu,
vihvh hpgiy bo at yvon culnu.
6All we like sheep have wandered, each facing its own way,
and Yahweh has compelled into him the iniquity of us all.
znigw vhua nynh vla iptk-piv cwh l'tbk iubl ucrkl lpni gozzih nalmh,
vla iptk piv.
7He is harassed and he himself afflicted and he did not open his mouth. Like a lamb to the slaughter he is escorted, and as a ewe in the face of her shearer is dumb,
so he did not open his mouth.
kmyoxr ummwp't luqk vat-doro mi iwokk?
ci ngzr marx kiim mpwy ymi ngy lmo.
8From coercion and from judgment he is taken, and who will ponder his generation?
Because he was disconnected from the land of the living, from the transgressions of my people, their contagion.
'tviitn at-rwyim qbro vat-ywir bmotiv,
yl la-kms ywh vla mrmh bpiv.
9So he gives the wicked his tomb as one who is rich in his death,
though he had done no violence and there was no deceit in his mouth.
ivihvh kpx dcao hkli am-twim awm npwo irah zry iariç imim.
vkpx ihvh bido ixlk.
10And Yahweh delighted to crush him. He was made illness as if he had set him up as a guilt offering. He will see seed. He will lengthen days.
So the delight of Yahweh in his hand will thrive.
iamyml npwo irah iwby bdyto ixdiq xdiq ybdi lrbim,
vyvonotm hua isbol.
11From his toil he will see. He will be satisfied. In his knowledge, my servant, righteous, will make many righteous,
and their iniquities, he himself bears the burden.
iblcn aklq-lo brbim vat-yxumim iklq wll tkt awr hyrh lmvvt npwo vat-powyim nmnh,
vhua k'ta-rbim nwa vlpowyim ipgiy. {p}
12Therefore I will divide for him among the many and he will divide spoil among the numerous under which he exposed himself to death and was apportioned transgressions,
while he himself lifted up the sin of many and was compelled through transgressions. P


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