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The Cross and Aslan’s Table

Aslan's Sacrifice on the Stone Table from The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe

An interesting take (a little old, but still worth pointing out to my readers) on looking at the Cross of Christ not as Christ saving us from God’s wrath, but instead as God saving us from our own deserved punishment. Here is the first bit of the article:

Last week, I wrote about my belief that the cross is too beautiful to fit many popular theologies.  It isn’t beautiful in itself, for a Roman cross represents the power of Empire, a power that is always opposed to the way of Jesus.  Rather, the beauty is in the One who chose to endure unjust suffering, knowing that the grave would not be able to hold God’s Messiah down!  The beauty is in a Jesus who models what it means to love our enemies while humbly reminding us that we all were God’s enemies (Romans 5.10).

One thing that I’m convinced of is that God did not pour out Divine wrath against Jesus on the cross in order to be appeased. This view, as Mark Baker states, “can too easily lead to a situation in which we might conclude that Jesus came to save us from God.” I plan to nuance this statement in future articles, but for now it suffices to say that we need alternative ways to think about the cross.

In fact, part of the problem is that we’ve limited the cross to one primary explanation (God’s wrath being poured out on Jesus as a substitute for sinners to appease God’s bind to the Law).  I want to suggest that the New Testament gives multiple images and metaphors for expressing the multifaceted significance of the cross.  Today, lets explore one of these through the lens of a popular story.  Notice that this is one example of how substitution can still be present in atonement theology without the appeasement of God’s wrath (which, as popularly understood, isn’t in the New Testament).

As a child, I remember reading C.S. Lewis’ wonderful masterpiece – The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in public school.  What I didn’t know then that I know now, is that the scene where Aslan is killed on behalf of Edmund the traitor is a wonderful picture of a theory of atonement that is often called, Christus Victor (or, Jesus’ victory over the powers).  So, let’s try to look at how substitution works out in this understanding of the cross, which some would consider the central story from out of which all other atonement images arise.

You can read the rest here.

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