Questions for Christians and other theists, part 3: The Atonement

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This weekend, millions of Christians will express gratitude to Jesus Christ for saving them through his sacrifice.  Few of them will be asking the obvious follow-up question: “How does that work, exactly?”

Here’s Christianity’s dirty secret: No one has a good explanation of how atonement works. There is no consensus among Christians, and none of the theories offered actually make sense.

I’ll describe the most widely accepted theories here in the OP. We can dissect them in the comments.

1. The Ransom Theory

Humanity sold itself to Satan via the Fall, and Jesus buys us back through his sacrifice. Another version of the theory has the ransom being paid to God the Father.

2. The Satisfaction Theory

God was dishonored by humanity’s rebellion, and only the obedience of Christ in sacrificing himself could restore God’s honor.

3. The Penal Substitution Theory

Jesus is punished in our place.

4. The Christus Victor Theory

Through his death and resurrection, Jesus defeats the powers of death, sin and evil that hold humanity in thrall.

Christians, let us know which theory of atonement you subscribe to. If none of the above, please summarize your own view in your comment.

49 thoughts on “Questions for Christians and other theists, part 3: The Atonement

  1. Alan,

    Ban Easter and there’d be no omelette de Pâques for me to look forward to.

    No need to ban it. Let’s just reclaim it for the pagans, like Xmas.

  2. Okay, let’s take a closer look at the ransom theory of atonement:

    1. The Ransom Theory

    Humanity sold itself to Satan via the Fall, and Jesus buys us back through his sacrifice. Another version of the theory has the ransom being paid to God the Father.

    Here, the obvious question is: Why would an omnipotent God pay a ransom to Satan instead of just taking us back, as he is perfectly capable of doing?

    If you argue that Satan was truly owed the ransom, the obvious question is: Why? Satan rebelled against God, and so did humanity, so how is it that God owes the ransom? It makes no sense.

    And if you buy into the idea that the ransom was paid to God the Father, then you are arguing that the Son paid ransom to the Father. Is the Trinity a seething hotbed of extortion? Does the Holy Spirit get a cut of the ransom? And why does the Son have to pay the ransom, when it was the Father who screwed up by creating a rebellious Satan, Adam, and Eve?

  3. You’ve missed at least two, the moral example theory, and a complex of ideas central to Eastern Orthodox theology, that atonement occurs through Jesus bringing human life and human experience, including the experience of death, into the divine nature. (“Atonement”, after all, originally meant making things one — at-one-ment — not paying a debt.)

    There are almost as many theories of the atonement as there are interpretations of quantum mechanics.

  4. Given the season, why is it called “good” Friday. It certainly wasn’t good for Jesus. And are Christians so selfish that they would tolerate torture and capital punishment to make their lives better? Any analogy to the Republicans is purely coincidental.

  5. Steve,

    You’ve missed at least two…

    Yes. I wasn’t going for a comprehensive list — just trying to guess which theories would be most common among our Christian readers.

    the moral example theory, and a complex of ideas central to Eastern Orthodox theology, that atonement occurs through Jesus bringing human life and human experience, including the experience of death, into the divine nature. (“Atonement”, after all, originally meant making things one — at-one-ment — not paying a debt.)

    Since you brought them up, I’ll add them to the list of theories to be addressed here in the comments.

    There are almost as many theories of the atonement as there are interpretations of quantum mechanics.

    With the important difference that the truth of QM is well-established and doesn’t depend on the interpretations.

    As a Christian, do you believe in the Atonement, and if so, which theory makes the most sense to you?

  6. Acartia,

    Given the season, why is it called “good” Friday. It certainly wasn’t good for Jesus.

    It’s a very good day for those expecting to benefit from Jesus’s largesse.

    And are Christians so selfish that they would tolerate torture and capital punishment to make their lives better?

    In fairness to Christians, Jesus only had to suffer for a short time in order to save them from an eternity of torment. Which raises an obvious follow-up question: How does that work, exactly? 🙂

    Also, Jesus went sort of willingly to his death:

    39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

    Matthew 26:39, NIV

    How there could have been a conflict between the will of God the Father and the will of God the Son is not explained.

  7. In fairness to Christians, Jesus only had to suffer for a short time in order to save them from an eternity of torment. Which raises an obvious follow-up question: How does that work, exactly?

    True, but it’s not really clear how anything supernatural actually “works,” apparently including the design and manufacture of organisms.

    The whole atonement notion may be all the worse, though, because there seems no clear internal logic to it, while at least a certain consistency is seen in some other notions. Still, I think there’s a certain sense of inscrutability running through at least most religions, which is why this typically gets a pass. OK, it’s not so obvious how and why it works, but it must be important or why would he go through with it?

    I think that to early Christians it probably helped to make sense of the antiquated practice of animal sacrifice. Under more or less Platonic notions of real ideal forms existing in some otherworldly realm, the animal sacrifice becomes a mere foreshadowing of the one True Sacrifice, so give up the animal sacrifices and be thankful for Jesus’ sacrifice (how bad a sacrifice a truly terrible few hours is when the resurrection restores all is a question that seems not to have been given much consideration). Jewish converts would likely just assume that blood had to be shed for sin (for certain sins, anyway), and the idea would at least be familiar to non-Jewish Christians as well.

    Today it’s a potential difficulty for those coming out of modern ideas of justice and science. For the more reactionary types, like the usual UDite, well, you just don’t understand because you’re an atheist materialist unwilling to face the Truth as told by uncorroborated (unless by “fine-tuning” or some other non sequitur) Testimony.

    Glen Davidson

  8. Okay, on to the satisfaction theory:

    2. The Satisfaction Theory

    God was dishonored by humanity’s rebellion, and only the obedience of Christ in sacrificing himself could restore God’s honor.

    This doesn’t make much more sense than the ransom theory.

    1. Why does human sin dishonor God? If God is omni-everything, his honor should be unimpeachable.

    2. If human sin does dishonor God, then the ultimate blame lies with God himself for creating humans — especially since he knew what was going to happen before he created them.

    3. How does the torture and death of an innocent party compensate for the sins of someone else?

    4. Why would a benevolent God demand compensation in the first place, much less such bloody compensation? Why not just forgive?

  9. keiths,

    “Why not just forgive?”

    Better yet, why not, in the first place, design-create only life forms that don’t do anything that needs to be forgiven by ‘him’?

    Nah, just forgiving or creating only life forms that don’t do anything that needs to be forgiven wouldn’t be any fun. ‘God’ gets ‘his’ kicks by creating lots of flaws that need to be forgiven by ‘him’, especially in humans who were allegedly ‘specially created in his image’, so that ‘he’ can then punish ‘his’ creation (especially humans) for having lots of flaws that need to be forgiven by ‘him’. Makes perfect sense, and what a swell ‘guy’.

  10. Some questions for christians:

    Since, according to the bible, ‘God’ is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, why does ‘he’ direct animals to injure and kill some humans, especially if ‘he’ is also omnibenevolent?

    When ‘God’ directs a pack of pitbulls to maul a child to injury or death, are the pitbulls committing a ‘sin’? Does ‘God’ expect the pitbulls to pray for forgiveness? If the pitbulls don’t pray for forgiveness, does ‘God’ send their ‘souls’ to dog hell for eternity?

    What does ‘God’ get out of directing the injury and death of humans by dogs, tigers, hippos, crocodiles, bees, spiders, cows, snakes, sharks, horses, bears, etc.? Does ‘God’ get a thrill out of directing and watching ‘specially created’ humans suffer and die due to the actions of animals? Do the animals that injure and kill humans know any better? If not, why not? Doesn’t ‘God’ have the power, know how, and benevolence to create and direct animals so that they won’t injure and kill ‘specially created’ humans?

    How does injury and/or death of ‘specially created’ humans by animals fit into the ‘sin’ and forgiveness thing?

    ETA: I took out “whether deliberate or accidental” because nothing can be accidental in a universe created and directed by a ‘God’ that is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. In such a universe, such a ‘God’ would be responsible for EVERYTHING.

  11. And if he is omniscient, he must have lied to us about free will. If I know that somebody is going to commit murder and do nothing to stop it, I am complicit. But when god knows that a murder is going to happen (which he must) and does nothing to stop it, he has done nothing wrong. I guess that blows the “made in god’s image” out of the water.

  12. All of these questions illustrate why the gospels themselves are not enough for Christianity. They need the Old Testament. The sacrifice of Jesus makes sense only in the need to placate the angry Old Testament God. That God was never particularly benevolent, nor even omniscient if some of the OT stories are taken literally.

  13. Yes, and things get really weird when you take the Trinity into account, because then you have God placating himself by torturing himself to death.

  14. keiths:
    Yes, and things get really weird when you take the Trinity into account, because then you have God placating himself by torturing himself to death.

    As Jim Carry’s quote from “Liar Liar”: “I’m kicking my own ass!”

  15. On to #3:

    3. The Penal Substitution Theory

    Jesus is punished in our place.

    This also makes no sense.

    1. Why wouldn’t a loving God simply forgive instead of demanding punishment? Jesus taught that we should forgive. Why can’t God manage to do this?

    2. A common response is that while God is loving, he is also just, and justice demands punishment. But in that case, what could be less just than punishing the innocent?

    3. The fact that Jesus was sort of willing doesn’t help. Would anyone consider it justice if a volunteer agreed to be punished so that a serial killer could go free?

    4. If Jesus’s punishment is sufficient payment for all our sins, why must we believe in order to receive salvation? Who is imposing this additional requirement, and why?

  16. And #4:

    4. The Christus Victor Theory

    Through his death and resurrection, Jesus defeats the powers of death, sin and evil that hold humanity in thrall.

    This one makes no sense because an omnipotent God could simply snap his divine fingers and death/sin/evil would be defeated. No need for a messy, bloody, painful death.

  17. keiths:
    With the important difference that the truth of QM is well-established and doesn’t depend on the interpretations.

    That’s the obvious difference between religious beliefs and scientific conclusions. But the absence of a single interpretation no more undercuts the atonement than the similar lack for QM undercuts that.

    As a Christian, do you believe in the Atonement, and if so, which theory makes the most sense to you?

    Yes, and it doesn’t matter, any more than which interpretation of QM made the most sense to me when I was doing physics. I find the two I listed the most appealing, but I place little weight on that.

  18. Steve:

    But the absence of a single interpretation no more undercuts the atonement than the similar lack for QM undercuts that.

    It isn’t the multiplicity of interpretations that’s the problem — it’s the fact that none of them make sense! The former is merely a symptom of the latter. People aren’t satisfied with the existing theories of Atonement (and with good reason), so they keep looking for new ones (Robin Collins, for example).

    In the case of QM, the theory is fantastically well-supported by the evidence and the interpretations make sense.

    There’s no evidence for the Atonement, and the theories don’t make sense.

  19. in evolutionary speek, its a compensation argument.

    good deeds need to be done in order for evil deeds to be paid off.

    so atonement happens, if there’s still money in the bank.

    christ put in a heafty sum, but its obviously run mighty thin.

    john paul II put a nice sum in the moral pension fund, too. thank you, sir.

    and so i try to put is my piddly sum whenever I can. thats what christ meant when he said love your enemies.

    forgiveness has high value. forgiving your worst enemy has the highest value.

    service to others has high value. service to those you loathe has the highest value.

    /// how was I so lucky to survive that cancer???? Answer, you weren’t. It was paid for in full by a little old granular granma thousands of miles away because she has a nice hoard of love and forgiveness stashed in her heart.

    in QM terms, that is some pretty damn spooky action at a distance.

  20. That makes no sense, on many levels.

    With God as “the banker”, he can forgive all debts.
    Banks don’t take from positive accounts to pay off negative ones.

  21. Creodont2 sez: “Since, according to the bible, ‘God’ is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, why does ‘he’ direct animals to injure and kill some humans, especially if ‘he’ is also omnibenevolent?”

    Awe, but no direction is taken. Animals have their predispositions. Humans have a brain to figure that out.

    No animals are capable of killing humans except when humans drop the ball.

    Gargantuan advantage: humans
    No excuses: humans

    ‘pity the human’ is a lazy ass rhetorical ploy.

    btw, as to “omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent”:

    omnipotent, created the universe
    omniscient, created life
    omnipresent, keep it all afloat

    that has absolutely nothing to do with our unwillingness to you know, actually use our noggins.

    except of course it you mean advocating turning humans into robots so they can have an excuse to be lazy asses and let God do all the shit work……hey God, we just started a war in Iraq….clean it up would you?! lost control already…..hey God, clean up those STDs would ya…..we wanna have another one of those orgies like last week…hey God, could you zap our frontal lobes this afternoon?! we dont have much need here for thoughts and feelings…we’re doing ok with our flat screens and smartphones..

  22. False on many levels.

    Off the bat, when credit cards default, how do banks recoup funds? When businesses default and debtors go into bankruptcy, how do banks recoup their funds?

    You, my friend.

    So to answer you question, banks do in fact take from positive accounts to pay negative ones. It would be better if positive accounts did it voluntarily. But then thats the crux of the matter, isnt it?

    Thats what Ayn Rand couldn’t wrap her head around. The haves are only entitled to what the have-nots are willing to let them have. Revolution equals the playing field.

    Smart money gives, in order to keep.

    Richardthughes:
    That makes no sense, on many levels.

    With God as “the banker”, he can forgive all debts.
    Banks don’t take from positive accounts to pay off negative ones.

  23. this is what i am talking about.

    mosquitos kill. NO, people letting other people live in squalor kill.

    Clean up the environment. Provide space and work so that people are not pushed to live in the bush, forest, cave, basement, bridge, garbage can. Mosquito problem GONE.

    Mosquitos are the messengers, not the killers. Their message is:

    Human, stupid human. God i wish I had a brain like you did!! WTF are you doing with that precious organ of yours? If you don’t know how to use it, give it to me, dammit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve got no choice but to live as I do, going where the heat and wettness are. But YOU, you got choices, man. CHOICES.

    Choose, wouldya??!!!!

    Richardthughes: https://twitter.com/BillGates/status/461143337228324864/photo/1

  24. That’s not how finance works, at all.

    You are liable for your own debt. You are not liable for anyone else’s debt. Moreover the bank needs to be liquid whilst God has no such need.

    I am always amazed at Fundies’ tiny conception of omnipotence.

  25. Steve:

    Animals have their predispositions. Humans have a brain to figure that out.

    So this six-day-old baby deserved to die because she had a brain and didn’t use it? And the God that permitted this to happen is perfectly loving?

    Steve, you haven’t thought this through at all.

  26. Steve,

    good deeds need to be done in order for evil deeds to be paid off.

    Who is being paid off, and why?

  27. Actually No Sir Richard,

    Thats’ how is is SUPPOSED TO work?

    Reality Creep finally engulfs the turpid mind.

    Plenty of debtors are not liable for their accounts. Just look at the good ole’ US of A. It is in hock for trillions. No one is in jail, though. thanks to a certain far eastern savior. But see, when Xi Jen-Ping decides to sell that vast stake of useless bills, heads will roll….eventually. And it wont be American heads, either.

    That’s how finance actually works!!

    By the way Sir Richard, its interesting how you reflexively drop all theists into a ‘fundy’ box.

    Is that some serendipitous tonic kicking in or what?

  28. No KeithS, the PARENTS permitted that event.

    What were they thinking not controlling potentially dangerous pets around young children??????????

    Its seems uch a knee-jerky human tendency to put blame on God.

    I know, the speck is to blame. The speck caused humanity to take their eye off the ball. Then it all went to shit.

    We have absolutely NO control over our ‘collective’ actions, do we? We are all islands and do NOT, EVER, have any responsibility for the actions and events that occur in others now, do we?

    Epigenetics is bullshit, evolutionary biology tells us. Nothing we do now will be inherited by our progeny. So we have no responsibility to the next generation whatsoever.

    And NOTHING we do now can change our genes, is there? So we can take comfort in our lives. We need not do any work. we take NO responsibility to work at changing ourselves. well, because our genes make us do it. AND evolutionary biology tells us so.

    oh, what a wonderful world it is, what a wonderful world it is………

    keiths:
    Steve:

    So this six-day-old baby deserved to die because she had a brain and didn’t use it?And the God that permitted this to happen is perfectly loving?

    Steve, you haven’t thought this through at all.

  29. Steve:

    No KeithS, the PARENTS permitted that event.

    Think about it, Steve. If God is omniscient, he knew that the dog was about to eat the baby’s head. If God is omnipotent, he could have prevented it. He knew it was going to happen, but he made the choice not to prevent it.

    Now suppose that the baby’s uncle had been present, that he had observed the dog killing the baby, and that he hadn’t lifted a finger to stop it. Who in their right mind would say, “Oh, what a loving uncle!”

    Your God is that uncle — but even worse, because he could have stopped the tragedy before it even got started. He knew it was going to happen, after all.

    You can tie yourself in knots trying to make excuses for God, or you can accept the obvious conclusion: your omniGod doesn’t exist. If there is a God, he isn’t the omniGod. And more likely still, there is no God at all.

  30. think about it keiths:

    God is not in the business of making robots.

    use your brain, HUMAN !!!

    GOD: “Stop asking me to clean up after you. I gave you all that you need to make the right decisions. you wont use those tools and whine because like the good teacher I am will ask you to THINK.”

    keiths, you can make excuses for yourself all damn day. but it wont change the fact that you wont use the tools in the bag to get the job done. nor will you go out of your way to help other learn how to use the tools in their bag.

    God has and always shows Himself to those that take the plunge into selflessness, humility, and love.

    in case you haven’t taken a complete inventory of the tools in your bag, yes selfnessness, humility, love are the heavy hitters; precisely because they are the hardest to wield. but when one trains oneself to use them, they change the course of lives, society, history.

    but alas, there are so, so few takers. so few willing to train.

    and so here we are in attack and denial mode.

    sure, God is dead…to the lazy.

  31. Sir Richard,

    Absolutely!!!

    We all are responsible for Hilter, Ghengis Khan, Pol Pot, Mao Tze-Dong, ISIS, you name it.

    Are you going to actually tell me Humanity did not, does not have it in its power to prevent the conditions that lead to such barbarity??

    Richardthughes:
    Are you responsible for Hitler, Steve?

  32. Steve:

    think about it keiths:

    God is not in the business of making robots.

    Therefore babies must have their heads eaten by dogs?

  33. I repeat:

    Think about it, Steve. If God is omniscient, he knew that the dog was about to eat the baby’s head. If God is omnipotent, he could have prevented it. He knew it was going to happen, but he made the choice not to prevent it.

    Now suppose that the baby’s uncle had been present, that he had observed the dog killing the baby, and that he hadn’t lifted a finger to stop it. Who in their right mind would say, “Oh, what a loving uncle!”

    No rational person would describe that uncle as loving, Steve. Yet when your God does the same thing, you describe him not only as loving, but perfectly loving. That’s loopy.

  34. Steve is responsible for Hitler. Steve, you *really* should have invented a time machine, broke the laws of physics and stopped him. Also, you’re going on FSTDT.

  35. Steve: in case you haven’t taken a complete inventory of the tools in your bag, yes selfnessness, humility, love are the heavy hitters; precisely because they are the hardest to wield. but when one trains oneself to use them, they change the course of lives, society, history.

    but alas, there are so, so few takers. so few willing to train.

    I agree, Steve. But they are not the sole preserve of Christians, nor are Christians particularly renowned for wielding them. As Gandhi allegedly said when asked what he thought of Christianity: “I think it would be a very good thing”.

    I know a lot of Christians who take the principles you lay out very seriously, because I was brought up as a Quaker. But, oddly, Quakers do not require that you subscribe to any set of beliefs to be one. They have no creed, although most are Christ-inspired, and the movement has Christian roots.

    Most I know vehemently reject the doctrine of substitutionary atonement as, well, “un-Christian”.

    The fact is that you can get just about any set of moral principles out of the Christian bible, and some are admirable and some are appalling. I happen to like the ones you laid out there. But you can derive them just as easily from other beliefs systems, or, indeed, none.

  36. Steve: think about it keiths:

    God is not in the business of making robots.

    use your brain, HUMAN !!!

    Sounds to me like steve is arguing that evil is an unavoidably necessary consequence of God’s having allowed us puny humans the gift of Free Will—that Free Will requires, not just that we have the option of choosing evil, but also that aomew of us do choose evil.

    Is that an accurate statement of your views, steve?

  37. None of the above as far as the question really being asked. The question being asked is, “why would God do business this way?”

    Humans are able to forgive all the time without having to ask a calf be killed before a child gets forgiven for stealing cookies from the cookie jar. From a human perspective, it seems then it shouldn’t be so hard for God to do the same. In fact, from a human perspective, substitutional blood sacrifices seem a ridiculous mechanism for getting someone to find it in their heart to forgive another.

    The mistake theologians make is trying to explain the atonement system in terms of how humans forgive each other — and by doing so, the explanations seem even more ridiculous!

    Jesus himself said “all things are possible” for God. God could have chosen to do things differently, but in order to keep His word and fulfill the prophecies and laws of the Bible, a sacrifice was stated to be necessary.

    But that raises the question, why would God write a law that that required a blood sacrifice rather than writing a law that said, “Just take a bath.”

    The presumption by many theologians is that he couldn’t have written the law differently. I’m not so sure that is what the Bible teaches. So a rhetorical question, “Is God required to write all the details of the law a certain way by His very nature, or is He free to write a law for one covenant and then write another law for another covenant?” 🙂

    God said He would keep the Old Covenant as long as He lived, but well, isn’t there a loophole if He lays down His life? If God in the Person of Jesus dies, I suppose He can re-write the law books.

    Seems to me He is free to re-write the law provided that He keep his word and promises, and part of that is, Jesus must be sacrificed for His beloved to be cleansed and redeemed. But why?

    For some who have any sort of delight in romance stories, the atonement system being instituted makes sense from the perspective of a Playwright in the Sky giving the hero of the story an impossible challenge to have the damsel in distress.

    Love is often testified by the willingness to die for the beloved. What is a more compelling love story, a guy who just caves in and gives his beloved everything she asks for or a guy who is willing to die to be with his beloved?

    Imagine a love story where a woman meets the man of her dreams, she doubts his love for her, and then she rejects him, and then when he heroically dies to save her life, she comes to her senses and realized how much he loved her and what a great guy he was. For a season she thinks for she will live for all eternity without the one person in the universe who really loved her and the he was the one person in the universe that was worthy of her love, but against all odds, she’s given a second chance, her beloved rises from the dead. That’s not exactly the way the Bible tells it, but neither is it far off from what is taught in the New Testament. It hopefully at least gets the basic emotion across as far as what is happening.

    In that light, the law’s requirement for a blood sacrifice makes sense. Rather than God just saying, “I’ll let it go”, God used the law a means to write a compelling love story.

    Are Rube Goldberg machines evidence of a high level of design or not? Life are Rube Goldberg replicators. Love stories are the ultimate Rube Goldberg machine, the atonement requirement was made not because God was required to write the law that way, it was because He wanted to write the law that way. The Rube Goldberg nature of the law was by design — it was part of the greatest story ever told.

  38. No one has a good explanation of how atonement works.

    1. Rube Goldberg machine by design. The Designer said He’ll forgive contingent on an event happening. Nothing more need be said, but I’ll say it.

    2. The physical world is only a picture of the spiritual world. If you kill a lamb and eat it, it becomes a part of you. What is poorly approximated in the physical world is said to happen in the spiritual world. Jesus death and suffering and payment for sins becomes a part of you.

    No accident that communion is an illustration of how payment for our sins can be transmitted to us, because now all the suffering of Christ is joined to us, and we to him. In thermodynamics, you have something cold, you join it with a limitless hot reservoir, it becomes hot and takes on the characteristics of that hot reservoir. The sufferings of Jesus then when in spiritual contact with the sinner, gets the sinner assimilated into that suffering. To quote the Borg, “you have been assimilated.”

    You might complain it won’t work in a court of human law whereby a guilty criminal cannibalizes the remains of a suffering executed innocent human and thereby avoids execution. But there is another way of looking at it. If say an evil criminal gets one of his organs transplanted into an innocent person, should that innocent person be subject to condemnation?

    What the human court would like to do is mete out suffering to the consciousness of that individual criminal, not his physical substance alone. But since consciousness is something of an illusion to you and most materialists, the question shouldn’t matter.

    However, if consciousness and collective experiences can be joined and merged in a certain way in God’s eyes, then the physical analogy of being merged into a larger body applies to consciousness. Christ’s suffering then get joined in a spiritual way in God’s eyes to the sinner, it becomes a part of the sinner.

    You complain how can that be done with consciousness, but you’re the very one that says consciousness can be split apart, which implies consciousness can be merged back together at least in principle if indeed your split brain idea is right.

    Suffice to say, if God wanted atonement to work this way, He has the right to make it work that way, and I’ve given reasons why in one perspective, it make possible a beautiful design.

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