Friday, October 19, 2012
QUOTATION: Christ's Redemption and Atonement
If we reflect more deeply on this insight, we find the answer to an objection that is often raised against the idea of atonement. Again and again people say: It must be a cruel God who demands infinite atonement. Is this not a notion unworthy of God? Must we not give up on the idea of atonement in order to maintain the purity of our image of God? In the use of the term hilasterion with reference to Jesus, it becomes evident that real forgiveness accomplished on the Cross functions in exactly the opposite direction. The reality of evil and injustice that disfigures the world and at the same time distorts the image of God-- this reality exists, through our sin. But here it is not a case of a cruel God demanding the infinite. It is exactly the opposite: God himself becomes the locus of reconciliation, and in the person of his Son takes the suffering upon himself. God himself grants his infinite purity to the world. God himself “drinks the cup” of every horror to the dregs and thereby restores justice through the greatness of his love, which through suffering, transforms the darkness.
--Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, Volume 2