The Extent of the Atonement (pt. 3)

II. Notable Differences between & Weaknesses of the Two Views

Obviously these two views differ significantly with respect to the intent of the cross, as well as what was actually accomplished through the cross.  It is worth noting several key differences and weaknesses to each view.

a. Differences

  1. The general view holds that God intended for everyone to be saved through the work of Christ.  In contrast, the definite view holds that God intended to save those whom He had already chosen
  2. The general view holds that the atonement did not accomplish salvation for anyone (unless someone is willing to say that everyone will be saved in the end, i.e. universalist), but rather made salvation available.  The definite view holds that Christ actually accomplished salvation by paying for the sins of those whom God had chosen.
  3. The general view ultimately makes man’s choice the definitive act in one’s salvation.  The definite view ultimately makes God’s choice the definitive act in one’s salvation.

b. Weaknesses

  1. A weakness of the general view is that God intended to save individuals that in the end were not saved.  Thus, God’s intention failed.
  2. A weakness of the general view is that Scripture often speaks of actually accomplishing salvation, rather than just making it possible.
  3. A weakness of the general view is that if Jesus paid for the sins of an individual then it would be “double jeopardy” for God to still punish them (this takes into account that unbelief is a sin, and that scripture often speaks of eternal punishment for sins other than unbelief as well, i.e. Romans 5:6-8, 16-18).
  4. A weakness of the definite view is the many passages in the bible seem to speak of Christ’s work being for “all.”
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