- Author: Jeremy Myers
- Print Length: 232 pages
- Publisher: Redeeming Press (March 21, 2016)
- Publication Date: March 21, 2016
I want to start by saying I am not sure that I agree with all the theological implications presented in this book; something seems to be missing still and left unexplained. I get the sense even Myers feels this tension as he notes several times that some of his later works will seek to reconcile certain topics that fall outside of his theological framework presented in this book. For this reason I could only cautiously recommend this to those who want to expand or challenge their theological view of atonement.
I do appreciate the work Myers put into his research of creating this book and trying to take on such a difficult subject. The title of this book is very theological in nature so I want to unpack it a bit to help my readers understand the topic this book seeks to tackle. The atonement of God deals with a challenging area of theological study and thought that seeks to make sense of what exactly happened when Jesus died on the cross or in other words how Jesus’ death “saves” us. I do appreciate the quote from C.S Lewis that Myers placed in the preface of the book:
As C.S Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity, “The central Christian belief is that Christ’s death has somehow put us right with God and given us a fresh start. Theories as to how it did this are another matter. A good many different theories have been held as to how it works; what all Christians are agreed on is that it does work. I will tell you what I think it is like. … A man can eat his dinner without understanding exactly how food nourishes him. A man can accept what Christ has done without knowing how it works: indeed, he certainly would not know how it works until he has accepted it.
We are told that Christ was killed for us, that His death has washed out our sins, and that by dying He disabled death itself. That is the formula. That is Christianity. That is what has to be believed. Any theories we build up as to how Christ’s death did all this are, in my view, quite secondary: mere plans or diagrams to be left alone if they do not help us, and, even if they do help us, not to be confused with the thing itself. All the same, some of these theories are worth looking at.”
The beginning of the book starts off with presenting four theological views of atonement. Myers does well at unpacking the traditional views on atonement while presenting his fourth view which he calls the non-violent view of atonement. Myers makes some sound assertions in doing so that bear much merit and some that most readers (even myself) could agree with. In Genesis 3 mankind walks away from God and creates distance from God in relationship with Him. We see this immediately when Adam and Eve are hiding in the Garden as God calls them out of their hiding. God has been pursuing us from that time on to restore us to relationship with Him. While there is much that makes sense throughout the book there are many other things missing from this view. The book seeks to convince the reader of this fourth view of the authors non-violent atonement perspective from Chapter 2 on-ward. If other views on atonement have not worked for you this could be a book for you to broaden your understanding on this topic.
Before we look at these views, it might be wise to define the word “atonement.” Lots of pastors and theologians like to define atonement by saying it means “at-one-ment.” That is, atonement is how we become “one” again with God. According to this definition, sin causes a division between us and God, and atonement is how that division is healed so that we regain unity, or “at-one-ment” with God again.
From Genesis 3 onward, I do not ever see that God has separated Himself from humanity because of sin. As we will see later in this book, if there was ever any separation between God and humans because of sin, the separation was one-sided: humans fled from God; God never fled from humans.
We left God; He did not leave us. Despite our feelings, there was never any chasm or gap between God and humans that needed to be crossed. Sin makes us feel like God has abandoned and forsaken us, but the truth is that He has never done so.
I hope to make all of this clear in the following pages. In my view, there is a reconciliation of a broken relationship in God’s work of atonement, but it is not to restore a broken unity between God and man, but rather to show us that He has never left us or forsaken us in the first place. There was always unity with God. God was always with us and among us. But we failed to see it. In Jesus, God made it clear what He has always been doing for all humans throughout all of history.
I appreciate Myers work here and passion to take on a difficult topic and present a fourth view of atonement.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.