instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Love your enemies

Camassia, revisiting the mystery of the Atonement, writes of her dissatisfaction with the Substitutional Atonement theory:
There are a number of things, it seems to me, that this leaves out.... Why love your enemies? According to this line of thought, the suffering on earth are only getting their just deserts ahead of schedule.
And of the "Christus Victor" theory:
One of the few things it has in common with SA is that it remains myterious why you should love your enemies. Especially since your enemies also seem to be enemies of God.
I thought we are to love our enemies that we may be children of our heavenly Father, who loves our enemies. That, at least, is the context for Jesus' teaching to love our enemies in Matthew 5.

I'm told that, to the Jewish way of thinking in Jesus' day, what you do is who you are, which is why for instance His saying "your sins are forgiven" was such a scandal. It wasn't just that only God can forgive sins, but, put the other way, that whoever forgives sins is God.

The extension of the commandment to love from one's neighbor (necessary for the survival of Israel) to one's enemy occurs in Matthew as Jesus is preaching the Sermon on the Mount, the Good News which in its fullness tells us we are intended to become true children of God. As Camassia quotes, "God became man that man might become God." And a child does as his father does.