An anglo-saxon term. At-one-ment ‘a making-at-one. Greek word for reconciliation ‘katallage’ Ro.5:11 God-> Christ <- Man
Without God as a reality the term atonement is inert and meaningless. Consequently its force derives from the divine majesty and Holiness. Before we go into subject proper let us examine what reconciliation would mean in godhead. Reconciliation is an intrinsic part of the divine Essence than as a theological position one takes with regards to God. From many scriptural passages in the Bible we keep in focus it is man’s attempt to explain his position than of God.
Let us look at the Essence: God is love.
God is holiness personified. When we speak of the Lord God as One this reconciliation is the basis. Deu.6:4 The Lord our God is one God Of the same substance such concepts as God the Father and of the Son need be reconciled in the Essence. God is Spirit that we speak as Spirit of Christ and the Holy Spirit. In human terms what shall we know of this statement ‘God is Spirit’? ‘God is a consuming fire’(Deu.4:24) makes sense to us since the quality of fire is universal. So when the Spirit inspired holy men of old to compile the Scripture the term atonement naturally found its place. These occur with meanings related to atonement around 140 times, almost always in the context of practice, as a sacrifice for sins and to provide reconciliation to God.
Quality of fire is to burn away while in blood it is the life implied. In theological sense life that is poured out. For example consider the verse: ‘Without shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.’
When we combine these two in terms of a sacrifice there must be another component in the triad, that is one who is qualified to offer sacrifices. Thus in the Old Testament we see Noah building an altar and offering sacrifice. It pleased the Lord God.(Ge.8:20-21) Now we have found four components that complete reconciliation. Man who wants to please God- Noah in this case is how atonement in relationships of unequal qualities play out. Nature of fallen man is sinful and it cannot please God by his own terms . Neither fire nor blood can change the situation. Aaron’s two sons were destroyed by God for burning strange fires. Lev.10:1-3. When the earth received the blood of Abel God heard its cry but did not please God.
God in his essence demands and man must necessarily offer according to his will and pleasure. This is how reconciliation is effected.
In the case of Noah his sacrifice was after a great deluge. Articles with which he pleased God were redeemed by God’s provision and Noah did accordingly. So clean beast and clean fowl representing of the earth sent out a sweet savour.
We also may keep in mind the type of offering-burnt offering
Place- an altar.
Reconciliation in short is between God and man. Later when God gave Moses the Law we see subtle shift in the components. So reconciliation itself undergoes subtle shifts. Not any man but a High Priest on behalf of the people.
(To be continued)