The Courtroom and the Created Order: How Penal Substitution Brings about New Creation
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This dissertation argues that penal substitutionary atonement is necessary for transformation of the created order. This assertion answers the charge that an atonement model that deals with forensic judgments, the moment of justification, and a focus on the individual serves as an obstacle to God's purpose of restoring even the created order itself. Chapter 1 examines the current setting of the debate, illustrating the need for this charge to be answered. This chapter also lays out the thesis as well as the methodology of the dissertation. Chapter 2 asks the question, "What is wrong with the created order?" This chapter demonstrates that the plight of creation is that it is held in bondage to a reign of death which is itself a manifestation of the legal verdict of condemnation that has come to individuals in Adam. Chapter 3 demonstrates that the reason numerous evangelicals deny penal substitution is because of a faulty understanding of the nature of God. This chapter argues that God's righteousness is broader than covenant faithfulness, that it includes an element of retribution, that it is intrinsic to God, and that God's wrath includes his personal inflicting of punishment upon the sinner. After examining God's nature, this chapter ends by noting the necessity and difficulty of removing condemnation from individuals. Chapter 4 illustrates how penal substitutionary atonement accounts for the removal of condemnation from individuals in a manner that is in accord with God's righteousness. This chapter also shows the biblical support for penal substitution through an examination of Romans 3:25-26; 8:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; and Galatians 3:13. Chapter 5 demonstrates that far from making the resurrection of Christ unnecessary, penal substitution demands the resurrection because Christ dies as the condemned one on behalf of sinners. The reason the resurrection is necessary, then, is because it serves as and manifests Christ's justification. Furthermore, because Christ's resurrection serves as his legal justification and appointment as son as well as an eschatological demonstration of these legal realities, so believers legal verdict of justification and adoption as sons necessitates a demonstration of these realities in their resurrection, wherein they will be revealed as God's sons. At this time, the created order will be restored. Chapter 6 summarizes the argument of the first five chapters, notes an area of possibility for further study, and provides a brief note of conclusion. This chapter concludes that far from obscuring God's cosomological purposes, penal substitution is required for the redemption of the created order.