atonement
In Christian theology, the sacrificial death of Christ as some kind of payment for the sins of mankind. Various theories attempt to make sense of a perfect deity directing a sacrifice of this kind. They include: (a) the idea that the event is the payment of some kind of a ransom to the forces of evil. But since the Son is rejoined with his Father, the forces of evil appear to have been cheated, and this seems incompatible with justice. (b) The Satisfaction theory ( Anselm ). The sacrifice restores God's honour, insulted by sin. But the way this restoration works remains obscure, especially as the insult goes on. (c) The Acceptance theory ( Duns Scotus ). God freely decides to accept this event as a repayment of our dues to him. But then why not freely decide to accept something less traumatic, such as the sacrifice of a sheep? (d) Jesus suffers as a substitute for us. But the morality of using substitutes or scapegoats is particularly unedifying. (e) The Ethical Message or Example ( Abelard ). Jesus is sent to exemplify for us the perfect life. It seems strange, however, to deliver the message in one particular place and time, and especially one with such fragile means of recording the event. The matter is not rendered easier by the doctrine of the identity of the Son and the Father (see homoousion , homoiousion ), and theology continues to address the issue.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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  • ATONEMENT — (Heb. כִּפִֻּרים, kippurim, from the verb כפר). The English word atonement ( at one ment ) significantly conveys the underlying Judaic concept of atonement, i.e., reconciliation with God. Both the Bible and rabbinical theology reflect the belief… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Atonement — A*tone ment, n. 1. (Literally, a setting at one.) Reconciliation; restoration of friendly relations; agreement; concord. [Archaic] [1913 Webster] By whom we have now received the atonement. Rom. v. 11. [1913 Webster] He desires to make atonement… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • atonement — ► NOUN 1) amends for a wrong or injury. 2) (the Atonement) Christian Theology the reconciliation of God and mankind through the death of Jesus Christ …   English terms dictionary

  • atonement — [ə tōn′mənt] n. 1. the act of atoning 2. satisfaction given for wrongdoing, injury, etc.; amends; expiation 3. Obs. agreement or reconciliation the Atonement Christian Theol. the redeeming of humanity and its reconciliation with God through the… …   English World dictionary

  • atonement — index compensation, expiation, reparation (indemnification), restitution, retribution, trover Burton s Legal Thesaurus …   Law dictionary

  • atonement — Satisfaction or reparation of a wrong or injury; to make up for errors or deficiencies. (Dictionary of Canadian Bankruptcy Terms) United Glossary of Bankruptcy Terms 2012 …   Glossary of Bankruptcy

  • atonement — 1510s, condition of being at one (with others), from ATONE (Cf. atone) + MENT (Cf. ment). Meaning reconciliation (especially of sinners with God) is from 1520s; that of propitiation of an offended party is from 1610s …   Etymology dictionary

  • atonement — expiation (see under EXPIATE) Analogous words: compensating or compensation, offsetting (see corresponding verbs at COMPENSATE): conciliation, propitiation, appeasement (see corresponding verbs at PACIFY): *reparation, amends …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • atonement — [n] compensation amends, expiation, indemnification, payment, penance, propitiation, recompense, redemption, redress, reparation, restitution, satisfaction; concepts 126,337 …   New thesaurus

  • Atonement — The atonement is a doctrine found within both Christianity and Judaism. It describes how sin can be forgiven by God. In Judaism, Atonement is said to be the process of forgiving or pardoning a transgression. This was originally accomplished… …   Wikipedia

  • atonement — /euh tohn meuhnt/, n. 1. satisfaction or reparation for a wrong or injury; amends. 2. (sometimes cap.) Theol. the doctrine concerning the reconciliation of God and humankind, esp. as accomplished through the life, suffering, and death of Christ.… …   Universalium

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