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I then outline in detail the atonement theory presented in Cur Deus Homo as well as briefly summarizing the penal substitution theories I examine. I focus here on just three articulations of penal substitution. Specifically, I examine the Four Spiritual Laws and equivalent evangelistic tracts by US American ministry and evangelism organization Cru formerly Campus Crusade for Christ , and an online evangelism tool by Ray Comfort, an evangelist from my hometown in New Zealand, who has moved to Southern California and become a world-famous open- air evangelism advocate.

Any references I make to penal substitution of course refer only to these specific articulations and others like them.

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As some consolation, I hope my treatment of Anselm is much more careful, nuanced, and detailed. Significance, sources, and self-understanding Cur Deus Homo is highly important in the history of theology, not least because of its influence on the penal substitution theory. It is therefore important to trace the lines of continuity and development. David Brown acknowledges that Anselm was inevitably affected by his context: not only feudal society generally, but his role as an abbot and archbishop of Canterbury. As his famous definition of theology shows, he is conscious that desire for understanding typically does not precede faith, but follows it.

Moreover, this basic understanding is not about explaining why faith is reasonable—both evangelistic presentations simply state the propositions without any argument beyond biblical proof-texts, asking the audience to accept them on authority. The penal substitution proponents are also much more confident about their theory than Anselm is.

In fact, all the figures I examine offer one- or two-sentence summaries of penal substitution.

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I have attempted to break the theory down into three main sections, revolving around the predicament we are in, which God graciously wishes to solve, and how the only solution is for God to become human and offer up her23 life. The problem: Sin prevents us from exercising our mission as humans For Anselm, the central problem with humans and with all creation is sin. God wills some humans to be saved, to replenish the human community. This does not mean God is subject to eternal constraints, nor that she is held back by an arbitrary, human desire for vengeance.

It is a false dichotomy to suggest the only two options are punishment and ignoring sin. Chris Marshall contrasts Greco-Roman models of justice, from which Western ideals of justice are largely drawn, with the Jewish models operative in Old Testament passages. In contrast, ancient Hebrew justice is more a process of restoring relationships within community, has mercy as an indispensable component, and is more appropriately symbolized by a flowing river cf. Amos Of course, Old Testament passages do call for punishment; for example, Israel often asks that her oppressors be punished.

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Anselm is careful to distinguish them with regard to Jesus. Yet there are several vital differences, not least the shifting of agency from one party to the other, and the replacement of passive sinlessness with active obedience. The offender is the subject of satisfaction: she offers restitution to the one she has harmed. Punishment involves the offender passively receiving punishment, potentially against her will.

Comfort uses the analogy of a fine for the punishment sinners deserve, but a fine is more satisfaction than punishment—it can be paid by another, whereas punishments, such as that inflicted on Jesus by Pontius Pilate, typically cannot. Nonetheless, it is not surprising that the subtlety was lost in later articulations of soteriology, nor that Aquinas proved close enough to later penal substitution thinking that Pierced could appropriate him in support of it. Despite the important difference between satisfaction and punishment for Anselm and Aquinas, they do give punishment a major role, and their shared understanding of justice is in fact largely retributive.

We cannot make restitution for our previous failures. Taking the Fall and genesis of death very literally, Anselm suggests we are immortal in our natural, sinless essence, and only made mortal by sin. Moreover, only a God- human life would have sufficiently value to be the satisfaction required. The popular penal substitution theories I examine do not defend or explain this part of their theory, despite its tension with their strong sense that each individual is culpable for punishment.

Brown lists various possible sources of this idea for Anselm. Yet they struggle to find a place for them within their soteriologies, specifically. It is therefore worth examining how well Anselm and the penal substitution advocates incorporate these three factors into their soteriologies. Pierced denies this charge too, listing various significances of the resurrection.

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This tension can be resolved by distinguishing between two types of substitution: replacement and representation. This is even clearer when we clarify that the cross is a punishment, to which Christ submitted so that we need not receive it.

Therefore, ethics has a more tentative role in many penal substitution theories than in the soteriologies of Anselm, Bernard of Clairvaux, Thomas Aquinas, Abelard, Christus Victor proponents, or perhaps any other major atonement model. Abelard as well as the need for grace, and the importance of love and beauty cf. Yet the lines of development between Cur Deus Homo and popular penal substitution are also clear: satisfaction giving way to punishment, and representation simplifying to replacement.

Gregory Beale: Cur Deus Homo

We should thus note both the continuity and the difference if we wish to understand either paradigm. Each highlights how significant Cur Deus Homo has been in the history of theology. Caleb Day Original paper submitted Friday 19 December Revised December-January Fordham University. Accessed September 19, Proslogium, or Discourse on the Existence of God. Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Theologica.

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Translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province. Internet Sacred Texts Archive, Bernard of Clairvaux. On Loving God. Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Accessed September 12, The Complete Collection of St. Customer Reviews See All. More Books by St.

Why God Became a Man: A Conversation with Anselm's "Cur Deus Homo"

Anselm See All. Anselm of Canterbury: The Major Works. Cur Deus Homo.