Notes on Reconiliation and Redemption in Torrance

– Torrance defines reconciliation as having to do with the repaired or remade relation between God and man/creation, a relation of peace, love and unity. This is effected by God acting in Christ, so while God is the ultimate subject of reconciliation, Christ is the immediate subject.

– Reconciliation is cosmic and reaches out to all things – all things are reconciled, both to God and to each other. Christ is made the head of all things and in Christ all things are reconciled to God. Christ = reconciliation, and those ‘in Him’ live out this reconciliation.

– Redemption is a bit different – redemption here is seen as the destruction of the enslaving powers of sin and liberation from the bondage of sin and death, so that those liberated can become a kingdom of priests in their inheritance. This is clearly eschatalogical.

– There is a very obvious now/not yet dialectic. The ‘now’ = breaking in of God’s kingdom and freedom from sin, and our beginning to live out our vocations as priests in the kingdom. The ‘not yet’ = final state of consummation and final fulfillment of our redemption.

– The whole world is involved in redemption as it is involved in reconciliation. Torrance grounds both of these in God becoming a creature in space and time.

– Creation is under sin/curse, God’s act of redemption frees creation, and now creation waits and ‘groans’ in anticipation of the final eschatalogical redemption.

– Rough summaries: reconciliation is the inbreaking of the kingdom of God thru the removal of enmity between God and man the the establishment of a unity of peace and live. Redemption is the breaking of and removal from the powers of sin and death – man is both redeemed and redeemed into his inheritance and creation freed from bondage.

2 thoughts on “Notes on Reconiliation and Redemption in Torrance

  1. Cal May 20, 2015 / 2:53 pm

    What I’ve begun to appreciate is how Torrance has married certain insights of the East (particularly the theologies of Athanasius, Maximus & the Gregories) to certain Reformed covenantalism and grace. I don’t know if he does Barth justice, but I like his work anyway.

    In what you posit, it seems that Torrance has taken the realism of man (as Humanity) into an Adam/Christ schema, which has allowed him to affirm both universalism and limited atonement. Christ died to destroy sin, rose in a renewed Humanity. Now redemption is limited to those ‘in Christ’.

    I guess a question is which way we want to lean. Is the world still in Adam, slowly being added and reconfigured into Christ (with all those outside to suffer the destruction set for the Devil)? Or is creation now passed into Christ, who has dominion, and (as Torrance argues) to be broken off is a dark ‘surd’?

    He did a good job reviving the Scottish Reformed posture


    Liked by 1 person

    • whitefrozen June 3, 2015 / 7:30 am

      Its the realism that is one of my favourite features of Torrance’s work.


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