06 November 2006

Patristic Quote for the Day

And so for our sake He submits to death and dies and offers Himself to the Father as a sacrifice for us. For we had offended Him and it was necessary for Him to take upon Himself our redemption that we might thus be loosed from the condemnation - for God forbid that the Lord's blood should have been offered to the tyrant! (John of Damascus: *The Orthodox Faith* Book 3, Chapter 27)


Anonymous said...

The translation you give leans heavily towards a Protestant bias. Another translation leaves out the "offense" language, an assumption of the Protestant paradigm:

"Since our Lord Jesus Christ was without sin (for He committed no sin, He Who took away the sin of the world, nor was there any deceit found in His mouth(6)) He was not subject to death, since death came into the world through sin(7). He dies, therefore, because He took on Himself death on our behalf, and He makes Himself an offering to the Father for our sakes. For we had sinned against Him, and it was meet that He should receive the ransom for us, and that we should thus he delivered from the condemnation. God forbid that the blood of the Lord should have been offered to the tyrant(8). Wherefore death approaches, and swallowing up the body as a bait is transfixed on the hook of divinity, and after tasting of a sinless and life-giving body, perishes, and brings up again all whom of old he swallowed up. For just as darkness disappears on the introduction of light, so is death repulsed before the assault of life, and brings life to all, but death to the destroyer."

The point of the selection is also not one of a particular understanding of forensic atonement, but of the type of subsitution and 'trickery' common in Irenaeus.

William Weedon said...

Dear Anon,

I've not seen the original - was it Syrian or Greek? Syrian wouldn't help me. : ) But the passage is not offered to "justify" some particular theory of the atonement - for all theories fall short of a describing the fullness of what God has wrought for us in the self-oblation of the Son - but simply because it is a beautiful testimony to the love of the Son of God for the wayward race of men. I'm a preacher and I like to preach that! : )

William Weedon said...

By the way, Anon, do you hear the "condemnation" solely as death? If so, how do you define death? This whole thing has for some time struck me as a total non-issue since "death" is separation from the God who is LIFE, and this is also what sin is. Sin IS death. Death IS sin. To argue that the big problem is sin or the big problem is death is simply to miss the boat.