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Professor Robin Collins
Robin Collins (PhD, University of Notre Dame, 1993), is professor of philosophy at Messiah College, Grantham, PA specializing in the area of science and religion. He has written over twenty-five articles and book chapters on a wide range of topics, such as the fine-tuning of the cosmos as evidence for the existence of God, evolution and original sin, the Doctrine of Atonement, Asian religions and Christianity, and Bohm’s theory of quantum mechanics. Some of his most recent articles/book chapters are “Philosophy of Science and Religion” in The Oxford Handbook of Science and Religion, “Divine Action and Evolution” in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Theology (2009) “The Multiverse Hypothesis: A Theistic Perspective,” in Universe or Multiverse? (Cambridge University Press), and “God and the Laws of Nature,” in Theism or Naturalism: New Philosophical Perspectives (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). He recently received a grant from the John Templeton Foundation to finish a book that presents the case for design based on physics and cosmology, tentatively entitled The Well-Tempered Universe: God, Cosmic Fine-tuning, and the Laws of Nature.
The Incarnational Theory of Atonement
Copyright, May 2007, by Robin Collins. Revised August 5, 2009. Anyone is welcome to use this paper as long as it is not for profit and the author is credited along with its web location; further, it may not be edited in anyway except for highlighting [use of underlining, etc.] for classroom or related issues.
In this paper, I will develop a new, participatory theory of the Atonement, which I call the Incarnational theory. I do not claim that this theory offers a complete explanation for how Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection lead to our salvation, only that it explicates a major core element by which the Atonement accomplished its work. Thus, it is not necessarily in competition with other theories. I will first present the theory in two slightly different versions. After doing this, I will then present some key metaphors and symbols the theory uses, discuss how it relates to various relevant scriptures, and the like. The first version gives the general idea behind the theory, whereas the second attempts to make this idea more precise.
Before discussing these versions, however, it is helpful to distinguish between the doctrine and a theory of Atonement. The doctrine of Atonement simply states that Christ’s life, death and resurrection saved us from sin, reconciled us to God, and in some way overcame the powers of darkness. Theories of Atonement, on the other hand, attempt to explain how Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection accomplished this and to at least partly explain why God chose this method. Theories have the power of greatly enhancing (or distorting!) our understanding of the meaning and significance of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection and our salvation. Further, they can have a powerful hold on people’s minds, as has been the case with Anselm’s Satisfaction theory and the Penal theory (which will be explained later).
For a Powerpoint Presentation
To visit Professor Robin Collins Website