Friday, December 18, 2015

"Love, Not Atonement" from Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi, by Richard Rohr

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Richard-Rohr-s-Meditation--Love--Not-Atonement.html?aid=iXa_UNn2YaQ&soid=1103098668616



"The common Christian reading of the Bible is that Jesus "died for our sins"--either to pay a debt to the devil (common in the first millennium) or to pay a debt to God the Father (proposed by Anselm of Canterbury, 1033-1109). Anselm's infamous Cur Deus Homo has been called "the most unfortunately successful piece of theology ever written." My hero, Franciscan philosopher and theologian John Duns Scotus (1266-1308), agreed with neither of these understandings. Scotus was not guided by the Temple language of debt, atonement, or blood sacrifice (understandably used in the Gospels and by Paul). He was inspired by the high level cosmic hymns in the first chapters of Colossians and Ephesians and the first chapter of John's Gospel.


After Anselm, Christians have paid a huge price for what theologians called "substitutionary atonement theory"--the strange idea that before God could love us God needed and demanded Jesus to be a blood sacrifice to atone for our sin-drenched humanity. With that view, salvation depends upon a problem instead of a divine proclamation about the core nature of reality. As if God could need payment, and even a very violent transaction, to be able to love and accept "his" own children--a message that those with an angry, distant, absent, or abusive father were already far too programmed to believe.

For Scotus, the incarnation of God and the redemption of the world could never be a mere mop-up exercise in response to human sinfulness, but the proactive work of God from the very beginning. We were "chosen in Christ before the world was made," as the hymn in Ephesians puts it (1:4). Our sin could not possibly be the motive for the divine incarnation, but only perfect love and divine self-revelation! For Scotus, God never merely reacts, but always supremely and freely acts, and always acts totally out of love. Scotus was very Trinitarian.
The best way I can summarize how Scotus tried to change the old notion of retributive justice is this: Jesus did not come to change the mind of God about humanity (it did not need changing)! Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God. God in Jesus moved people beyond the counting, weighing, and punishing model, that the ego prefers, to the utterly new world that Jesus offered, where God's abundance has made any economy of merit, sacrifice, reparation, or atonement both unhelpful and unnecessary. Jesus undid "once and for all" (Hebrews 7:27; 9:12; 10:10) all notions of human and animal sacrifice and replaced them with his new economy of grace, which is the very heart of the gospel revolution. Jesus was meant to be a game changer for the human psyche and for religion itself. When we begin negatively, or focused on the problem, we never get out of the hamster wheel. To this day we begin with and continue to focus on sin, when the crucified one was pointing us toward a primal solidarity with the very suffering of God and all of creation. This changes everything. Change the starting point, change the trajectory!

We all need to know that God does not love us because we are good; God loves us because God is good. Nothing humans can do will ever decrease or increase God's eternal eagerness to love."

1 comment:

Horac said...

Un libro publicado en 1999, todavía de plena actualidad:
http://www.capuchinoseditorial.org/libro/99/cristianismo-sin-pecado-original

Una recensión pacata y timorata:
http://www.antonianumroma.org/prof_bibliografiaViewnota.php?lg=es&id=1797

Una recensión más antigua (y bastante mejor) que, desgraciadamente, dejó de estar accesible en internet:

ALEJANDRO DE VILLALMONTE, Cristianismo sin pecado original, Ediciones Naturaleza y gracia, Salamanca 1999, 393 pp.
No puedo menos de comenzar esta presentación, que agradeciendo al autor la labor ingente, larga y paciente, que ha llevado a cabo en este campo de la teología sobre el pecado original. Basta ver la bibliografía de su libro, y las citas frecuentes que se encuentran en él, para convencerse de la dedicación, prolongada y seria, que demuestran. Efectivamente, su libro «El pecado original. Veinticinco años de controversia: 1950-1975», publicado en el año de 1978, en Ediciones Naturaleza y Gracia, de 24 x 16 cm, y 624 pp., y con abundante bibliografía, ha sido superado por éste que hoy se presenta, pues es una buenísima síntesis de todo lo anteriormente escrito por él mismo, y por otros teólogos que han seguido estudiando e investigando bíblica, teológica, histórica y sociológicamente, la doctrina sobre el pecado original y su evolución.
En este libro quedan aclaradas muchas cosas que han pasado a lo largo de quince siglos que hace ya que se comenzó a hablar sobre esta materia, escurridiza, compleja y muy difícil de explicar, aclarar y entender. De hecho, aún estamos esperando una definición satisfactoria de lo que es el pecado original, «el viejo pecado», de sus consecuencias, de su transmisión y de lo que es la entidad esencial del mismo como pecado: ¿natural, personal, colectivo, de los recién nacidos, de los adultos?

Págs 533-539.

http://www.montecarmelo.com/revistamc/mc109-2/recensiones.pdf