Sunday, July 21, 2013


JULY 2013
This blog post is my response to four short essays on 'Atonement Talk- Fine Tuning' by my friend and conservative New Testament  and Historic Christianity scholar Edward Fudge. As I look these over I find I have described four of the most important religious/spiritual/psychological themes which I have come to highly value the past three decades. My response to each is above Edward's essay. All of Edward's words are in italics to make clear who is writing . These can be read as four stand alone essays or taken as a whole. These fundamental views are not just my own but all have been formulated in various ways and places throughout Human history, especially in humankind's religious endeavors. I credit Carl Jung as most helping to connect these themes from their many sources. They are all consistent with the Vision-like experiences I had, especially strong beginning Mid August 1985 and persisting for several years.

The four themes in this order are:
1. The Imperfect Aspect Of God 2.God And Human Mutual Need For Each Other and An Important Role Of ancient Gnosticism 3.The Manifoldness Of The Word Of God 4.The Importance of Jesus Not Being Viewed Humanity's 'One And Only' Literal Sacrifice.

1. The Imperfect Aspect Of God
Hi Edward.  I hope this finds you with minimal pain and many of  moments to enjoy.  I think there is plenty of  room in scripture for your arguments. But there is also lots of evidence  in scripture that make, from the common folk's perspective,  1,2,4 being very  Biblical and very much foundational in Historic Christianity's teaching. The general concept of  Christ as 'atonement for our sin' is very problematic for more and more thoughtful people I think. Maybe similarly as how  people came to question the concept of a literal Hell , an image that has been fully assumed by nearly all believers, from taking the New Testament literally. We know that from a human , and a parent , perspective  the 'atonement concept'  is not a healthy way of relating or of reconciling differences. One can argue, if they wish, that atonement dogma was generated primarily  by the later church and I think there is much truth in that. But the gospels do have Jesus saying, ' The son of man  came to give his life a ransom for many.' But to read the record of Jehovah's dealing with people in the Old Testament and  say that he was not a generally angry God and not pleasant or secure to be around is an understatement.

Yes, like even  many an  out right brute, we can hope Jehovah wanted to be better , had his good moments and people were glad to appease him by making  grand statements about his faithfulness, forgiveness and kindness. I surely believe such  character has been and  is the goal that the Ultimate  Sacred set for itself  and humanity but  just like our own personal moral development and collective psychological/spiritual human development, it is a long time coming.  One does not have to look hard to find Jehovah not coming across according to his own high ideals in his relationships with humans. Often  a more conscious human is seen cajoling  him into being in fact the high moral image that  he has set for himself.  Like Abraham pleading with him to not destroy Sodom or Job asking  him to reconsider his temper outbreaks and outright wrong judgment and immoral treatment  of Job. This darkness of  Jehovah is what led Gnostic thought to see him not as the Ultimate God but a god who had forgot his origins and assumed he was more ultimate than he could possibly be. Also images of God should always be seen as how a people at a given  time viewed and experienced God. That need not  and should not be our image of God today in our situation. Many people have noticed the monumental change in moral character between the Old Testament Jehovah image and that of God incarnate in Jesus of the New Testament. This correct observation needs to be taken seriously if we are to move closer to an image of the ultimate God. Edward, I think you overstate your case and try to talk people out of realities that they know from repeated experience and story  is how the Biblical Jehovah has come across. His nature would demand someone to be slaughtered for him to accept those he is suppose  to already  faithfully love. People are just now letting such Biblical reality become more conscious.  Most have excused and rationalized such  obnoxious behavior coming out of God. We have not let it register consciously the way we would if a social leader treated us or someone else that way.  This development process is not unlike  how we finally let the faults of our earthly parents become hard fact for us. We love them none the less for  it but much more honestly and hopefully mutually.  When people are under the impression that the Bible and Christianity teach 1,2 and 4  they are not, I think,  misinformed to have those reservations. Thanks for your messages. God bless you always. Wish we could have coffee still. The mature shaded  pond  has appeared in my backyard just when I have needed it most.  Jim H.

On Sun, 23 Jun 2013 03:59:00 -0400 "Edward Fudge" <> write


Sometimes Christians hesitate to speak to others about Jesus Christ because they think they know too little. However, we share testimony, not theology, and God gives the words. But our theology shapes our testimony and is shaped by it, making it worthwhile for us to note four theological details that are widely-held but actually are unbiblical.
1--UNBIBLICAL: God was angry with sinners until Jesus came and died in their place, but then his wrath turned to love.
TRUTH: God loved the world before Jesus ever came, and that love motivated God to give his Son to rescue sinners (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9-10).
2--UNBIBLICAL: God "punished" Jesus instead of punishing sinners.
TRUTH: The Bible nowhere says that God "punished" Jesus. It does say that Jesus bore our sins in his own body on the cross (1 Peter 2:2), that he was made to be sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21), that he was made a curse for us (Gal. 3:13), and that the chastening for our well-being fell upon him (Isaiah 53:5).
3--UNBIBLICAL: God was angry with Jesus while he was bearing our sins.
TRUTH: The Bible nowhere says that God was ever angry with his beloved Son, with whom it repeatedly said that he was well pleased (Isaiah 42:1; Matt. 3:17; 17:5).
4--UNBIBLICAL: The death of Jesus satisfied God's wrath.
TRUTH: The Bible nowhere says that God's wrath was "satisfied" or that it needs to be. It does say that Jesus rescues us from the wrath to come (1 Thes. 1:10; Rom. 5:9).
2.God And Human Mutual Need For Each Other and An Important Role Of Ancient Gnosticism
Edward, by denying that historical Christianity  teaches 1,2, and 4 you take practically all the emotion that has driven Christianity historically  out of the story as  taught for all these centuries.  Unfortunately a large part , certainly not all, of that emotion has been fear and anger and pride. Any story of salvation must have  a driving emotion  or it fails to grip the whole person. I  gladly grant we can look at these passages non literally and insist they do not teach what 'Christianity' as understood by Christians from 100 CE on. But is that what you are really willing to say, that you are now at odds with dominant Historical Christianity and its atonement teaching?

That is what I have  eventually become willing to say regarding the literal Idea that God can only fully accept the individual human by Christ  specifically dying 'for him/her.' And I have also arrived at the reality that the Sacred was not yet perfected  in the Trinity Godhead but created humans out of It's own deep need for increased moral consciousness so lacking in the Old Testament Yahweh. At the Creator's impulse and need  historical humanity was the only place  sacredly conceived where the initial imperfection and flaw in the Sacred could be first perceived, then encountered   and potentially redeemed in human history. This could only be achieved in the Sacred's judgment by   'God becoming man' and this is , to my knowledge, a best explanation for  the story of Jesus' suffering and his   truly sacrificial death. And for his awareness of the  human experience of being 'forsaken' by the dark  undeveloped aspect of God. But in that experience  God also became far more conscious.... a giant step in consciousness development in the Sacred  was taken is how I can best comprehend it. 

But that was not the 'one and only and final' redemption of God and man.  Conscious human suffering today is accomplishing this same continuing  redemption of God and ourselves. God's Incarnation is a continuing  process in us humans- not a story 'once and forever' told.   It is forever a truly cooperative  opus of a consciously suffering God and  Humans at the most intimate level. God and Human need  and must have each other mutually yet it is correct to understand that this whole process was a necessary aspect always present in the undifferentiated consciousness that was the nature of the ultimate beginning of all that is and can be.... that is the Sacred before any human ego and thus  any human consciousness in which to suffer in behalf of God was present. God was truly and totally unknown before human consciousness appeared.  To not be in consciousness is equivalent to not existing. This becomes a very mature no blaming  or finger pointing explanation for all conscious  suffering, for the Christ story and for our present and collectively dangerous historical situation on our planet. This is an explanation that provides the highest motivations, with emotions all accepted and experienced(not repressed) and most respectful, empathic and mutual relationship between God and human that I have ever come to imagine or  partially experience. This preserves the integrity, while not denying the imperfections,  of the Sacred , of every human and of all creation.  And as well  it proposes to generate  a higher , broader and more inclusive consciousness in both God and Human. These ideas of God and Humans are what I experienced in the 'vision' experiences beginning in mid August of 1985 and persisting strongly for a least two years. And have continued to be in harmony with my experience ever since.

And (this explanation)  is in  full accordance with the higher plane of the NT regarding the fullness of love  potentially coming into being, such as Paul's ode to the priority of love in I Cor 13. Edward, at some point just as protestant Historical Christianity has finally rejected a literal Hell, with your self-surprised intellectual support, as not consistent with a mature and  morally conscious and loving God, neither is an image of God that blames all the suffering and evil in the world on the created Human. We abhor such self serving and blind  blaming in human behavior. Yet we are told to be imitators of God. There are times when the creature has had to prove himself more moral than some aspect of God for God's own sake is what I am suggesting and seeing  it in the overall Bible story as well.
I suspect you will say of my brief statement , "Jim has become Gnostic."   No I have not become any collective   'ic' or  'ism', but acknowledge that some of  the so called  'Gnostic' interpretations of   the O.T and of Jesus were sincere and as legitimate  and 'revealed' as those whose interpretations which  gained the power to erect Historical Christianity, including the synoptic gospels. (It is important to me that  much of what I am saying can be supported  strongly by the canonized scriptures not taken primarily as history but as spiritual texts, especially John's gospel. We have just historically ignored  these implications that do not fit the majority rule.)  Some 'Gnostics', this became a pejorative term used by the church fathers much like 'anti' was in my youthful experience, were also quite misguided in some of their literal mindedness as were those on the other side of the argument. Historical Christianity has hidden this genuine debate of reality. And well it had to in order for a institutional religion to have been built up. Christianity owes much to Gnosticism in that it was its war against it that produced the powerful institution it became. It is only through the painstaking writings of the church fathers that we can now know what  the 'Gnostics' were trying to say. The psychology they display is parralled in alchemy, all world wide mythologies, Biblical symbolism as well as present day depth psychology.  In these matters I am never saying, 'What should have happened instead is......".  But what we must do is be honest in our interpretation of what DID happen in the early centuries of Christianity's development and what implications and understandings  that brings down to our very moment.

I think the 'Gnostics'  were surely onto something  essential in emphasizing that 'gnosis' , a knowledge by direct experience rather than by  collective story only, has always been central to the birth of any extended  religious movement.  I note that Peter and Paul, both according to sacred tradition, had direct 'gnosis' as the basis of their deepest spiritual  conversion to a new and 'transformed mind.'  The basis was not in informational knowledge of  'what they had been told by others.'   The 'gnosis'  realty of the history of religion should, but it hasn't in general, keep us ever aware that nowhere along the line has  the genuine experience of 'gnosis' been somehow ruled out as the most  transformative, essential for religions to form and  religious experience a human being can have. It does become a question for us all  of how to know when one has actually had such an experience.  And I must add that such an experience would  not make that person fully perfect or whole nor does it protect them  against perhaps the greatest temptation of all ...'to think their personal experience is a one and only revelation of God.'   God help us individually and collectively in finding our way through the present  national and world Chaos that some are more sufferingly aware of than others.  May the greatest present Human  and God cooperative sufferings be accompanied by the highest meanings so it can be borne by  the small but amazingly strong  individuating human conscious ego.  Blessings to you and yours. Jim H.

 P.S. Edward. This is a very spontaneous unplanned writing. It reminds me that you asked me soon after my experiences of Aug. 1985 to write down what I learned from that. That is what I have been attempting to do for 28 years. That is what I have partly made public on my blog the past two years. This two responses may be one concise way of my answering your question. Notice there is no mention of Jung for it clearly was not Jung who taught me through those experiences. But Jung was able to talk about such similar things in ways that were a helpful tool in my  better understanding  what I was being taught by a truly higher power.

On Sun, 30 Jun 2013 03:59:00 -0400 "Edward Fudge" <> writes:

Edward Fudge

Biblical texts such as Romans 4:25; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, 20-21; and Galatians 3:13-14 are sometimes thought to teach the four following statements that I have called unbiblical:
1--God was angry with sinners until Jesus came and died in their place, but then his wrath turned to love.
2--God "punished" Jesus instead of sinners.
3--God was angry with Jesus while he was bearing our sins.
4--The punishing of Jesus satisfied God's wrath.
Although the four passages I just mentioned do not teach the four things I called unscriptural, they do teach us two very important truths. First, that we humans sinned, and that our sins resulted in Jesus suffering and dying on the cross. Second, that Jesus' life and death resulted in our forgiveness and many other spiritual blessings. In these texts, Paul reasons on the basis of three principles from everyday life that enable us to regard the action of one person as the action of another. Those principles are cause and effect, representation, and identification.
Friend Jim,
 Thank you for sharing your heart to me as one invited into your inner circle. Thank you for your good wishes concerning my health.
 As we each come to the threescore and ten year marker  in our lives, each in his own way is  evaluating his own life, his relationship to ultimate reality, and his relationship to those closest to himself by nature and by choice. I wish you only the best, and, convinced as I am of the validity of orthodox Christianity in its most inclusive and ecumenical form, I pray that God will in the end see the humility and obeisance of Abrahamic faith in both our hearts and by the atonement accomplished by Jesus Christ keep us for himself through all the timeless eons that never end.


3.The Manifoldness Of The Word Of God  
Dear friend Edward. I expect that I have  been much a pest in recent years. I desire so strongly that your health is improving and that your pains and physical discomforts are minimal.( I have just received word that  my brother George in Florence is failing rapidly. After he leaves there remain two of us  brothers.  I am grateful  for the important role each of my brothers has had in my life.)
 I'm wish to express some things here  and will  also attach some pages from a commentary on Jung's final scholarly work Aion. He was I think  73 years old.  I hope you may find time to read the pages at the bottom. The order is pages 90-94 followed by pages 75-79 with pages 90 and 75 being partial. (These pages are copied in this order at the end of this blog post.) The book is The Aion Lectures, Exploring The Self In Jung's Aion by Edward F. Edinger. I share these readings  not that they are unusual or all that special for me personally but as  very typical of the manifold ways and places that depict what I think I have experienced as a matter of personal spiritual development. Though very appreciative of my religious heritage I'm generally let down or put off by conservative orthodox Christian teaching in that it suddenly, and I think very unnaturally and dogmatically,  restricts and cuts off  the human from the manifold places the 'Word of God' is free to  approach us from.

 It seems most reasonable to me to expect a manifold of sources that together continue to express a common pattern in what matters most, how the human is most profoundly confronted by and encounters God. This is a  significant disposition of Jung  which is often at variance with Christian orthodox teaching. He was open and intentionally searching in all those places in human history where the brightest and most sincere minds were seeking to find meaning in the human situation and also were often convicted that there is indeed an 'other' that we are prompted to seek and hopefully find. Sometimes people without those credentials have been a mouthpiece unknowingly in such matters. In general the 'other' , God , the Self or the 'Collective Unconscious' is seeking to make itself more conscious through the wide full range of human culture and experience.  Jung did not probe into just any areas but those that were authentic, patiently practiced and had, in time,  offered the most  meaning to significantly  large parts of the human community. He does not fully separate , as any orthodoxy  nearly always does, the so called 'secular' from the 'religious.'  It is all a part of  Sacred creation and development and together holds the secret referred to in more than one place as the 'pearl of great price', the 'narrow path',  a 'treasure hid in a field' and arriving at a perception of having a 'single eye.' How could it  be otherwise that the God of creation would make itself known in manifold ways and places  to human consciousness?  Thus we find Jung drenched from youth  with the  canonical Biblical materials but he surely was not a 'sola scripture' person for he found in human life that God is obviously not 'sola scripture' but  His manifold voice is found in a multitude of sources. But Jung was demanding in his search to find the major  underlying patterns that all these sources reflect in their unique way. Also  at variance with orthodoxy one's actual experience, both inner and outer but especially for Jung inner, is a continuing, vast and acutely  reliable source for finding the fundamental patterns of  human development  with regard to its connection to the other, to God. So this is why we  find Jung quoting and examining the common patterns in scripture, Apocrypha, Kaballah, Christan mysticism, church fathers,  alchemy, gnosticism, Greek -Roman and many other mythologies and  Astrology, as it was found and used by the finest minds in the ancient world, to name a few.  His range and thoroughness  of resources is mind boggling to most any serious reader.


This, though mine more limited to explaining my personal experience and never with  the scholarly and academic standards employed by Jung,  has been the nature of my path for 30 years.  It does make the search far more  daunting but I think also eventually more full. It seeks to truncate nothing from life's history and experience.   My central task in life or fate  is very different than his. My under-girding search, at work long before I had significant consciousness of it, has to do with human love, at the personal intimate level  and collectively with how such personal love is the potential redeeming experience to put humankind on a new, long yearned for and  renewed path of  hope I can only imagine. But the patterns of development that Jung finds in all these manifold places have matched the pattern of my own personal experience, more and more as time passes. So his work has been a primary and essential (It can be said that all other  influences have been also essential. Each conscious raising experience has its effect on the whole of life.) tool in my holding  together in an ever surprising measure psychologically and spiritually.  This has required a most  unexpected and still to me mysterious state of mind and psychological functioning.  In my dealings with family and outside world I think any difference is barely noticed but I sense that my inner reality is not typical, but it is uniquely the one needed to under-gird my specific life challenge.  A simple  example of such functioning is my spontaneously composing such a detailed letter as this to you. This, as with much of my behavior,  is motivated from beyond any rational purpose or goal.
Dr Jim Pancrazio

Dr Joe Bohlen
I received significant personal  professional  counseling support in 1984 from professor-counselor Jim Pancrazio. My only formal 'analysis', a word frequently mentioned in the book pages below,  was near the beginning of such experiences twenty eight years ago with  therapists, Dick Dayringer, my long time  supervisor-counselor, and  Eugene Qualls, a Jungian counselor I  fortunately worked with for three months. My work with Dr. Qualls  immediately preceded my  nearly overwhelming direct  'discovery' of the reality of the  objective Collective Unconscious. (Edward, this is when  you attended me in mid August of 1985, the most    stirring way I think  our paths have or likely ever will cross.) I also found consulting with Dr Joseph Bohlen was most helpful at times when I was assimilating Unconscious contents.

Dr Richard Dayringer
I find it synchronistic  that here you make reference to Christians being like 'fish in the river.'  This is likely what motivated me to write you.  I had just read  these  copied pages below   where a church father is quoted using the same symbol from a dream in  about 500 CE.  But  Jung explains in Aion the development of the 'fishes symbolism' did not stop there. For then Jung shows another Christian dream, about 1500 CE that shows the individual Christian not being  like a 'fish in the river' but like one who 'carries the water' describing a significantly less collective,  more developed, individuated, psychological position than the earlier idea that you are still interpreting as being most  'up to date' and completely applicable. The apocryphal  'fish' story, bottom of page 92..ff , included the three fold process of  such an encounter  with the 'other' which is stated as 'capture, extraction and transformation.'  
Dr. Eugene Qualls

Edward, You were with me at a stage that may slightly  precede these. The 'fish' was  compellingly  and surprisingly discovered by my conscious ego. I guess the fact that I could express to you anything then was the beginning of me both being 'captured' yet also managing to begin 'capturing' something myself.   It came to me like a giant ocean Leviathan with me being like a gnat  on the shore as it came bursting out of the water to give me the first glimpses  of its gigantic spiritual/psychological proportions. When you saw me I was mesmerized and in danger of being engulfed by the shear difference in my smallness and its largeness. It was obvious that I and my conscious ego  were a creation of 'it' , not the other way around. Yet it was my feeble ego doing the apprehending and comprehending of the 'other' which was an ecstatic exhilaration. Thus is my experience of your 'God is God and I am not.'  In the months and years that have followed I have experienced my own stages of 'capturing, extracting and  transformation.' Unlike orthodoxy of any kind, which always degenerates into a 'conventional wisdom'  where ones  group all confess like 'fish in a river', this process I'm convinced  is experienced mutually by 'me and the large fish' or God. Each of us is being 'captured, something precious and needed is  extracted from each, and each is being transformed' in a natural harmony with the needs of both the human and the Sacred. An example of this psychological/spiritual process is laid out in the  Bible story of Jacob 'wrestling with the Angel.' There both 'the Lord' and Jacob experience 'capturing, extracting(Jacob a blessing for himself and the Lord a wound to Jacob's privates) and transformation.'  Each party we can assume was significnatly more conscious of the other after the  horrific encounter.

 These paragraphs may say all that  is on my mind for this communication. And it sounds and feels  like a final one of this type to you. Please take the readings I forward as primarily only an  example of how 'manifold' the ways of God are in that, it seems to me is most reasonable, the ' patterns of development' in an ordered world are presented in seemingly  numberless  ways throughout creation.  Especially through the finest developed minds and most spiritually developed hearts of God's humanity over the course of recorded history does the manifold nature of the Sacred  come into sharper focus. This view of the manifoldness of  'Gods voice'  is what is most at variance with my personal religious heritage and any collective orthodoxy that I have become familiar with, including much of Western Christian which I also claim now as my heritage. 

Edward, in closing, I maintain that as important as intellectual formulations such as this may be , as a partial intellectual expression of whatever is the ultimate reality,  that friendship freely and responsibly  exercised does transcend any differences no matter how painfully felt.

Blessings always to you and yours, Jim

Edward Fudge

Paul uses at least three principles common to law, logic, and rhetoric to describe how Jesus' life record can count for us as if it were our own. He uses the principle of cause and effect when he says that Jesus was delivered up "because of our transgressions," and that he was raised up "because of our justification" (Rom. 4:25). Scholars agree that the Greek text of this verse says "because of" both times, but the second statement is not immediately easy to understand and the New American Standard Bible is apparently the only major version to translate it literally both times in Romans 4:25. Yet, as surely as our sins were a cause of Jesus' death, just that surely God's declaration of our acquittal was a cause of Jesus' resurrection. Just as Jesus' death proved that we were sinners, so Jesus' resurrection proved that God had declared us righteous.
The principle of representation involves a proxy or other authorized representative who is empowered to act in the stead of another. An illustration of representation is Paul's statement that Jesus died "for all" and therefore "all died." Jesus died as the representative or proxy "of all," and when the representative died, in the eyes of God all whom he represented died as well (2 Cor. 5:14-15). Paul has an ethical purpose in his logic. Since the "all" who died now live again only through Jesus' representation, they are morally obligated to live for Jesus their representative and not for themselves.
We see the principle of identification at work in the statement that Christ became a "curse" for us by hanging on the cross, so that "in Christ Jesus" we Gentiles might receive "the blessing of Abraham" (Gal. 3:13-14). Paul is noted for his vision of believers as living members of the spiritual body of Christ, which means we are "in Christ" just as a 'fish is in the river.'(quote marks are mine J.H.) And just as a purified river means that the fish will be purified as well, in the same way whatever is true of Jesus Christ can be truthfully said of everyone who is "in" him.
It appears that the principles of representation and identification both are at work in the statement that God made the sinless Jesus "to be sin on our behalf," in order for us to "become" the righteousness of God "in Him" (2 Cor 5:21). Jesus identified with us so closely that our sin became associated with him. And we are so closely identified with Jesus ("in him") that the divine righteousness he so faithfully and perfectly demonstrates becomes associated with us as well as with him.
When we read the New Testament, we discover a wide variety of illustrations of the blessings that flow from the saving work of Jesus Christ. However, we find no theory of the atonement that attempts to explain its mechanics or inner workings. Perhaps we should be content to believe and to say what the Bible says—and to stop with that. If we did so, we would avoid creating theories and explanations that are human constructs lacking divine authority. Indeed, if everyone had used only biblical language, we would not face the risk today of confusing what God has revealed in Scripture on this subject with what we or other human beings have thought, imagined, and passed on to others.

4.The Importance of Jesus Not Being Humanity's 'One And Only' Literal Sacrifice.
Edward. It's of highest  human spiritual accomplishment and value when a person under the ethical complications of living the human life chooses to sacrifice some measure of itself, even  if necessary to the point of dying.  This is the great spirit of Jesus of Nazareth. That very human and courageous decision is screened from full consciousness when such  a divine/human accomplishment  is interpreted as an appeasement to ones belief of God's disappointment or disapproval of the very ones this individual is sacrificing for. As appropriate as 'obedience' is  when freely chosen, a bit of reflection reminds us that frequently 'obedience' is quite the opposite of  love. Jesus primarily loved, he loved the world. That is enough to know his motivation for dying.  It is important to recall  the gospel speaking of  Jesus 'choosing to lay his life down , not responding to a demand  to prove his  obedience to a higher power.'(paraphrase). For that choice to be diminished  is to ascribe 'obedience' as Jesus' highest value rather than love.  This greatly clouds the richness of  his choosing to die and of our aspiring in a practical way  to such ethical character ourselves. I agree it can help to keep in mind  the idea of 'Jesus being God as human incarnate' makes such sacrifice one that is made mutually by both God and Human suffering together.

This can be true potentially of any Human person. Human nor Sacred integrity is attacked in that view when it is kept clear that Jesus and God is one.  Eventually I think we will understand that God and All, including us, is one. Then it  will become clear that saving sacrifice is a mutual participation, not the action of just one human.  I think most words that Jesus likely said stop here and I think that is where we should stop if we are not going to give homage to an aspect of  God or Human that carries  some evil self grandiosity. There is an aspect of the God Image, especially demonstrated in the Old Testament, that is precisely this negative and destructive. But with increased awareness and consciousness post-modern Christians can and really must stand against demanded sacrifice as a model of moral conduct. Any source, human or Sacred, that says in essence 'One must die in order that 'I' can fully accept the one being died for' is not a source we should give our obeisance too. It is surely a source that is not fully individuated itself. It is a narcissistic source. It is a continuing of the powerful and violent  archetypal energy that inspired literal human sacrifice  in some of the most ancient religions.

This is the kind of  soul-searching work today's believers might pray to have the consciousness and courage to do if we would be like Jesus and desire to stand by Humanity which even God depends on for God's own redemption. Man and God  mutually needing, working  and sacrificing together is the picture of  religious realty needed today and I think that is what we can see in the Jesus story if we so responsibly choose. Thank you for this stimulating  series on the idea of Atonement.  May all Jesus followers continue to explore our deepest heart for how it is that God and Human are becoming One.  Best to you  Always Edward, Jim

On Sun, 14 Jul 2013 03:59:00 -0400 "Edward Fudge" <> writes:

Edward Fudge

When we read the New Testament, we find that all the classic theories of the atonement have some biblical basis, and also some room for improvement. We learn that New Testament writers employ a variety of metaphors to illuminate the atonement, but that none of them creates a full-bore theory to try to explain its inner workings. And we discover that the metaphor used most often for the atonement in the New Testament is the Old Testament sacrifice known as the sin offering. Not surprisingly, the New Testament author who uses that metaphor most broadly and who explores it most deeply is the unknown author of Hebrews (perhaps Barnabas of Cyprus, a Levite no less).
But even the writer of Hebrews works with multiple metaphors and similes. He likens Jesus' atoning work to the activity of a divine rescuer who engages the tyrant who previously held them and their ancestors captive, then defeats him man-to-man (Heb. 2:14-17). Jesus is like a wealthy man who leaves his riches to his brothers and sisters as an unqualified inheritance (Heb. 9:16-17). He is the runner who first completes the marathon, but instead of going home remains at the finish line to encourage the other runners to cross it and enjoy their own prizes (Heb. 12:1-3).
Most conspicuously, Jesus is the high priest who, having once lived and then offered a human record of unbroken faithfulness consistent with every divine wish, was exalted and invested by God as king and high priest in heaven in fulfillment of Psalm 110:1, 4). There he lives forever, serves forever, and saves forever (Heb. 7), dispensing grace and mercy to his people as needed (Heb. 2, 4). As high priest, Jesus was chosen by God from among those whom he represents (Heb. 5). He was chosen with an oath as to his perpetuity (Heb. 6) because he was chosen on the basis of his unchanging flawless character (Heb. 7). One day he will return to gather his people and to give them their full reward in new heavens and new earth (Heb. 11-13).
By definition, any theory of the atonement is commentary, not canon. For that reason, when we create theories and explanations beyond the Bible’s actual words we should always make it plain that they are only as authoritative as our human logic. And we should regularly remind ourselves and others not to confuse what God has revealed with what we or other human beings have thought, imagined, and passed on.

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