The view and understanding of atonement is one of the widest in Christian theology. Unlike the dogmas that define the theology of trinity and incarnation and bring unity to Christian understanding, the theology of atonement has many different views that are widely held. The theology of atonement is one of the most important for Christians to understand, as it shapes our images of God, our understanding of salvation and how we are saved.
In this essay, I will be looking at different theories of atonement and how they make a difference to our theology of salvation. I will argue that different understandings and theories of atonement affect our theology of salvation by highlighting different aspects of salvation and answering the
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The second theory is the satisfaction theory. Anselm of Canterbury wanted to replace the ransom theory with a theory that he believed was more rationally intelligible and more biblically faithful. He used the example of a feudal contract based on honour. When a peasant dishonoured his king, he owed his king satisfaction for affront caused to him. Since humans could not pay the satisfaction that is deserved by God, Jesus paid the satisfaction through his death. However, Jesus had to pay this satisfaction as a man, as man owed the satisfaction, and as God, as only God could pay the needed satisfaction. Therefore, Jesus’ crucifixion was a substitutionary payment paid by Christ to God. Though some see this theory as portraying God as bloodthirsty, Anselm credits this to God’s love, mercy and compassion. Through Christ’s death, God is satisfied, his wrath is satisfied and the penalty of death is satisfied. This means that we are atoned and it is up to us now to take part in the restored relationship with God.
This objective theory places great emphasis on the death of Christ and salvation becomes a free gift for us to accept. This theory also emphasises the need for the incarnation in salvation. God had to be both human and divine in order for us to be atoned and saved. Holding this theory of atonement highlights the aspects of love, mercy and compassion that is present in the theology of