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The Historical Christ and the Jesus of FaithThe Incarnational Narrative as History$
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C. Stephen Evans

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198263975

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019826397X.001.0001

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Why the Events Matter: 2. God's Atoning Work

Why the Events Matter: 2. God's Atoning Work

(p.80) 4 Why the Events Matter: 2. God's Atoning Work
The Historical Christ and the Jesus of Faith

C. Stephen Evans (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

It was argued in the previous chapter that viewing the incarnational narrative as non-historical myth is a great loss, since without historicity, the narrative cannot be seen as a record of the divine actions whereby a historical relationship between humans and God is established. Nor proposals to view the narrative as myth take seriously the problem traditionally described by theologians under the concept of human sinfulness. It is only when it is seen how difficult it is to establish a proper relation with God that the significance of the narrative that tells how such a relation is made possible gains its full power. It is in the doctrine of atonement that the Christian faith has traditionally expressed its view of how Jesus made it possible for this relation to be healed, and classical theories of atonement are attempts to articulate how God’s actions in history make salvation possible (although the idea that Jesus atoned for humans by his life, death and resurrection is regarded by many as raising more difficulties than it solves). This chapter attempts to show that the need for atonement is still evident in human experience, and that versions of this doctrine are possible that are not vulnerable to standard, popular objections.

Keywords:   atonement, Christian faith, doctrine of atonement, history, incarnational narrative, Jesus, relationship with God, sinfulness

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