A Roman Catholic (at first both Paul Williams and I also thought he was a Roman Catholic and then he later told us he is a Muslim, who goes by the name Mike. ) and Muslims object to the bloody nature of the atonement and the doctrine of Penal Substitutionary Atonement. (see more objections in the comment boxes)
“These comments seem to assume that the cross of Christ is identical to substitutionary atonement but there is no reason to make this identification. It is unfortunate that certain forms of Protestantism are more or less obsessed with substitutionary atonement theory but we need to remind ourselves that John Calvin invented this particular theory about 400 years ago. For the first one thousand years of Christianity the two main theories were “Christus Victor” and “Ransom”; and I have been unable to find any Church Fathers who embraced substitution.” Mike (who later informed us he is a Muslim)
I wrote in response:
Except the first century AD writings of the NT and the OT clearly taught substitutionary atonement.
John the Baptizer said, “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” – John 1:29
1 John 1:5-10 – God is holy; the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin, if we confess our sins, etc.
Genesis 8:21 – when the Lord smelled the soothing aroma of the sacrifice = He was pleased.
Exodus chapter 12 – 12:12-13 – the passover lamb – when the Lord saw the blood on the doorposts, the angel of judgment was turned away. (appeasement for God’s holy and just wrath) Exodus 12:21-30
Leviticus 16-17 – day of atonement – both slaughter and release into the desert, bearing/carrying the sins away. Confession of sins onto the animal.
“He carried/bore our iniquities in His body on the wood” – 1 Peter 2:24
“But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
Isaiah 53:10 – “the Lord was pleased to crush Him, . . . if He would render Himself a guilt offering.”
Iasiah 53:6 – “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each one has turned to his own way, but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall upon/ encounter/strike Him.”
“As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied; [satisfaction of the justice and wrath of God]
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.”
“And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors.”
He bore our sins – this is clear substitutionary atonement, and fulfilled in Christ in the NT.
“He who knew no sin made Him to be the sin offering,
in order that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor. 5:21
“the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45; Matthew 20:28)
“for” = “in the place of”, “instead of”, as a substitute for many”
“Christ died for our sins” I Cor. 15:3
in the place as a substitute for our sins
He gave Himself for me, He died for me – Galatians 2:20
He is the propitiation (satisfaction of justice) for our sins – 1 John 2:2
Romans 3:22-26 –
22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith.
[satisfaction of justice in His blood, and through faith in that work of sacrificial atonement on the cross, one is redeemed and justified]
This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;
26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
The cross demonstrated God’s justice against sin; the satisfaction of justice, and that God Himself justifies those who confess their sinfulness and repent and turn to Christ in faith to save them from their sins.
It was necessary for Him to become flesh and blood (become incarnated – “in-fleshed”)
in order to make the propitiation (satisfaction of justice/wrath against sin) for the sins of the people
Even the Qur’an agrees with the concept of substitutionary atonement:
“and We ransomed him with a mighty sacrifice”
وفديناه بذبح عظيم
The substitution of the ram in the place of Abraham’s son proves that it (the ransom) means “substitutionary atonement”.
Shows the real meaning of Genesis 22 – it was a prophesy and foreshadowing of the Messiah to come in the future.
and “ransom” reminds us of Mark 10:45 and Matthew 20:28
“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many”
Jesus using the illustration of Himself as a servant, reminds of the suffering servant of Isaiah 53.