Wednesday, 9 March 2011

The Taboo of Atonement

So Rachel had to present an argument in favour of Penal Substitutionary Atonement. I said (on Facebook) I bet I could do it to a rhyme. Here it is, following her own line of thought but made a bit more focused (I think she has difficulty getting into character). And then the last verses are mine by way of comment back. If the who thing seems naff, then it might just be appropriate.

It's all as red as tomato
But well more than a martyr
When thinking what to say
About this PSA
Or how one can get to comment
On Penal Substitutionary Atonement
With its elongated pain, and spilt blood, to get to death
That is so much more than simply to take away the breath
But what you can say is
With Mors Turpissima Crucis
(To take this angle
Using Martin Hengle)
That whatever may be our concern
Crucifixion was the most horrible contemptuous form
Of execution known to the ancient world
That had ever been unfurled
Given without obvious justice
On to the person of Jesus

To ordinary sense it might well seem hazy
Indeed from Paul it could appear strange and crazy
That by intent of the Father the boss
The Son is glorified in his death of the cross
For people to further come to it
Nudged along by the given Holy Spirit
But Paul sees it as no meaningful loss
To focus so hard upon this particular cross

So who was this for
It was for the fallen
Humanity in general
Who are called upon
To see just how enormous
That Christ though guiltless
Took on our punishment
In a once exchange sent
For guilt neither borrowed nor lent
To cancel our punishment

The point to display
When it comes to PSA
Is that God shows his wrath
Because he so loathed
The way that creation
Had gone by deviation
From the initial perfection
Which was its first direction.

Still it should be told
That punishment is not the goal
But rather in full grip
It seeks relationship
With those that are fallen
And now are called upon
Not further to confess but
Enjoy the loving kindness
That should outward ripple
To all the people

The actions of Father and Son
Are not those of insanity
In that we cannot separate
The combined Holy Trinity
That the eternal plan should comprise
That the chosen people will rise
But only once made so the laity
Do not experience what the deity
Suffered at such loss
There upon the cross

Look it isn't really so much odd
That it is not about us loving God
But beyond the obvious created fuss
It is about God loving us

And following the OT sacrifice
This we do at least surmise
That the model is so provided
In those animals once divided
So that in the main
Jesus is similarly slain
And so there can be our change
Made from this ritual exchange.

It did not take more sessions
To be punished for our transgressions
But it was all of one release
To bring about restorative peace

But with care, it is not just restoration
Nor is it about representation
But rather is a communion
That comes from the union
That this one killing event
Does indeed then represent

So here is but one way
Of describing PSA
And if sure looks shrill
Make of it what you will

But for all it is methodical
It is deeply unethical
Even if your emotion
Delivers the mind's commotion
That this human was a deity
Doing the ultimate for the laity

Whereas looking through my lens
It is but pointless nonsense
Because it is all after the event
And together tacks
By looking back
Relying on Roman power
At a particular hour

And what really should appall
Is that its made no difference at all
In that of it whatever one makes
It is of no impact
On how the world works
And so not wishing to shrivel
I pronounce it as drivel
And not just PSA
Which dismisses away
But the broader construction
In how this does function
In any such way
That makes a deity pay

For what is more sensible
Is that we are responsible
Which involves full acceptance
Without added dependence
In the experience of life
And not in a lost myth
When we have other ways to know
And into a future to go


Seeker said...

Adrian I'm sure you know more about this than I do but what about the circularity of PSA? God in effect kills himself to atone for the mess he made in creation. Can't be omniscient and all-powerful if he can't undo his mistake or if not a mistake then why bother? Original sin and PSA have always been the sticking points for me because they just don't add up to anything for me but confusion and illogical conclusions.

Robert said...

Not only that, but it represents a moral God as setting up something which omnipotence could suirely have avoided. I agree about the sheer illogicality of it all; there are a lot of different ideas about atonement in the NT, developed in various ways by the church. Surely we can do better!