Author Archives: maxelcat

Abelard – The Look of Love

logs on fire

In the previous post we looked at the Satisfaction Theory of the atonement. As we saw, this was developed by Anselm who drew heavily from the honour based culture of the middle ages in which he lived. Now we turn to look at a theory which does not seem have its focus in any cultural […]

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Anselm – On being Satisfied

a knight looking satisfied

Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)[1] – considered by some to be one of the greatest Christian thinkers – wrote a much loved book called ‘Cur Deus Homo’ – ‘Why Did God become Human?’ In this he has a dialogue with one of his students, who goes by the superb name of ‘Boso’. Boso wants to understand […]

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Made for worship…

chameleons vox

First published this post in October 2011…. having re-read it I figured it deserved another shot. Just had an interesting  moment! Running “Spotify” on my phone, plugged into the Hi Fi, listening to “What does anything mean, basically” by The Chameleons  – and its been a number of years since I heard it. Nearly every song evokes a strong, significant […]

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Irenaeus Explains the Atonement.

ball of tangled wool

This post carries on the introduction to the recapitulation theories that were framed by Irenaeus (130-202). Irenaeus was taught by Polycarp, who in turn heard sermons preached by a certain John the Evangelist. Imagine what that must have been like – to meet first generation apostle – someone who knew Jesus the man? So, we […]

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Irenaeus and two Early Atonement Theories

christ the champion

At long last it is time to launch into one of the theories of the atonement, or more correctly one of the early church Father’s writings about atonement. In study group one of these went down very easily, and the other required a bit more wrestling. I could see that their horizons were being opened […]

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What it means to be a theological child

parrots and a tower block

Recently it has been suggested to me that God does not want us to question the ‘how’ of Christianity. Surely God wants us to have a child-like faith they suggest. I never quite understand what people mean when they use that phrase. I sense an implied criticism, though probably none was meant. I have also […]

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A Constellation of Images

constellation of leo

In the last post I introduced two of the creeds. These are recited week in week out by Christians the world over. Given that these blogs are written to support a study on atonement why take this detour into something seemingly so off topic? Simples. These creeds were written at a time when the church […]

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The Creeds

nicene councilby Fresco in Capella Sistina, Vatican

I have become increasingly interested in how the beliefs of Christianity developed. Yawn yawn… Sure, history is cool, but more important to me is how our following of Jesus is to be understood and lived out in a society has changed so dramatically since the documents we use were written. There are gigantic shifts going […]

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What does ‘Atonement’ actually mean?

As you might know I was/am a teacher – having done some 14 years in the classroom. During my time in secondary schools I watched several wonderful new ‘initiatives’ that were ‘bound to raise attainment’ come into fashion and then quietly fade off the agenda as the mandarins at the top of the profession altered […]

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Atonement – plunging in

Edward's siummer reading list on atonement

I began to think about doing a series on the ‘Atonement’ in life group as soon as life group started – sometime in September 2018. I plunged into the idea during July 2019. I began by getting the group to share testimonies, which was very good – though not as I thought it would be […]

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The Fall – Consequences – Part 2

a huge cloud of dust engulfs a farm

In consequences – part 1 we started by saying that on one level the effects of the fall are only too obvious as we look around us. We now have experiential knowledge of evil. We then began to dig into the often stated maxim that you become what you worship focusing on the loss or […]

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Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament

Curried Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament

John D. Currid, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 1997 Reading this book has been really eye opening. As someone who has always nurtured an interest in ancient Egypt, but have been rarely with any opportunity to express it, I could hardly contain my anticipation on opening it. Currid is an associate professor of Old Testament, and […]

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The Fall – Consequences – Part 1

a mountain of waste

Throughout this short series of posts I have been attempting to get across the enormity of the situation that the writer of Genesis so economically presents. Once grasped, the implications are simply gigantic. The myth of Adam and Eve is embedded in our culture, and as such it can be difficult to access its power. […]

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The Fall – Towards What it Was

In the previous post – “The Fall -What it wasn’t” we dismissed the idea that Adam and Eve were trying to become like God in a “divinity” grab or some form of status upgrade. We also saw that it is a good thing to desire the knowledge of good and evil. So what did they […]

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The Fall – What it wasn’t

We have seen something of the awesome task given to our first Mother and Father – that of extending the temple (sanctuary) of Eden out to encompass the whole of the earth. Now it’s finally time to begin to answer that question – just what did they do wrong? Notice they – not Eve. Our […]

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The Fall – What were we doing in Eden?

dead heading the roses

The “Standard Model” of the fall raises many questions. Most important, at least for me, concerns just what it was that they fell from? If your concept of looking after the garden is limited to dead-heading the roses and keeping the ‘large mammals’ off the grass while planting out seedlings and cuddling rabbits then maybe […]

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The Fall – The Standard Model

adam and eve in adverts

In the last post we looked at bringing to life of an idol and what this means to us. Now its time to begin looking into the foundational myth of the fall of Adam and Eve. Even people with no exposure to religion have a grasp on it. You can see this if you look […]

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Human identity – part 4 – godlike

In “human identity – divinity” we cemented the connection between image (tselem) in Genesis 1 and cult statues or idols. To the people of the aNE (ancient near east) an idol was the living embodiment of their god, and not just a physical thing like a statue in the local park. To them it was […]

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Human identity – part 3 – divinity

identity divinity

In the first post “human identity – representation” we looked at the Hebrew words used for image and likeness. In “human identity – crowned” we looked into the royal meaning behind some of the words the Hebrew bible uses to describe Adam and Eve’s role and status. Given that the same ‘image’ language is used […]

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Human identity – part 2 – crowned

identity crownedd

In the first post “human identity – representation” we looked at the Hebrew words used for image and likeness. We concluded that the authors of Genesis wanted us to think-in an holistic manner, which suggests that to their mind the image/ likeness was something included ideas around a statue ie physical. We also introduced the […]

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