Note on Externalism

‘In the west, dualism between the person and the work of Christ (the accidental result of combat with a prior God-world dualism that rendered the Incarnation inconceivable) lodged itself in soteriology, among other places, and more specifically the doctrine of the atonement. The atonement was understood as something Jesus did, not something he was. It was merely an external transaction – the payment of a debt, whether to God or to the devil or to both – that altered juridically, but not ontologically, the relation between God and man. Atonement, we might say, was an act *by* Christ without being the self-enactment *of* Christ. Which cannot be if he is truly God, for in God person and act are one.’

– Douglas Farrow

7 thoughts on “Note on Externalism

  1. guymax January 10, 2014 / 3:34 pm

    This seems to be an important observation.


    • whitefrozen January 11, 2014 / 12:36 am

      Indeed. This was in an essay on T.F. Torrance and his problems with Latin theology. Very few theologians have gotten this as well as Torrance/Barth have.


  2. guymax January 11, 2014 / 8:17 am

    I don’t know about theologians, but I think you’ve highlighted an ancient and central problem and given the correct solution. And all in a just a few simple words.


  3. guymax January 11, 2014 / 9:40 am

    Yes. It seems to me that all the problems of making logical sense of the Holy Trinity are caused by dualism of one kind or another, and are solved by reference to the identity of God (or the identity of all phenomena) – in line with what you say here only generalised. That is to say, nondualism would be the answer to life, the universe and everything. I cannot find a problem that arises for it. Sorry, propagandising again. .


    • whitefrozen January 11, 2014 / 9:41 am

      I think the answer to life, the universe and everything is roughly 42. But that’s just me 🙂


  4. guymax January 11, 2014 / 12:48 pm

    Yeah, sorry. I shouldn’t bang on. Douglas Adam’s was a bit of a genius. .


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