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"Forgive them, for they know not what they do"

Discussion in 'Controversial Theology (Christians only)' started by Ripheus27, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. Ripheus27

    Ripheus27 Sinner

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    Anselm, the originator of the satisfaction/related tradition of theories of the Atonement, wrote in Cur Deus Homo that knowingly killing the Lord would have been a transcendental crime with which no others could be compared. Now if the Son of God could ask for people to be forgiven who were killing Him, and if He asked after their forgiveness despite their belief that He was not the Son of God (i.e. despite their unbelief), wouldn't it be peculiar for Him to not ask for other people to be forgiven their sins despite their unbelief, especially considering that no one else in all of history has had his or her unbelief serve as inspiration for murdering God Incarnate?

    In other words, if the supreme sin possible (even if done out of ignorance) was able to be forgiven, and forgiven apart from any faith or for that matter any observable virtues whatsoever on the part of the sinners who committed it, why would any other sin merit perdition? Why would the least of all sins merit this?

    Does Christ's request for His killers' pardon indicate that some people can be saved without having any faith in Him?
     
  2. g_n_o_s_i_s

    g_n_o_s_i_s Newbie

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    How do you reconcile "satisfaction theory" with Jesus being a "ransom" in Mark 10:45?
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
  3. Phantasman

    Phantasman Newbie

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    Those who think they are following God can still do things against God out of ignorance. God forgives ignorance, but not defiance.(blasphemy)
     
  4. Ran77

    Ran77 Senior Contributor

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    Interesting question.

    Is the request for Heavenly Father to forgive them of a salvic nature, or is it a matter of Jesus asking that the full fury of the Father's wrath not be unleashed upon them? Or could it be a matter of Jesus showing the ultimate degree of love by forgiving those who have wrongfully used him?


    What a great topic.


    :)
     
  5. Hillsage

    Hillsage One for Him

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    I remember an apostle of Jesus himself who had to SEE to believe? We now know him as 'doubting Thomas'. Is 'seeing' faith?
     
  6. Heterodoxus

    Heterodoxus Former mainline Protestant pastor (1978 - 2005)

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    Does the pardoning (forgiveness) of Jesus' killers necessarily mean that they were "saved"? And from the Greek texts I've looked at, "Father forgive them" (Luke 23:34 KJV) is not the best way to read ΠΑΤΕΡ ΑΦΕΣ ΑΥΤΟΙΣ (cp. P75 (ca. 175-250 CE) to 01, 02, and 03 (ca. 350-499 CE, collectively)).
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
  7. he-man

    he-man he-man

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    Father forgive them (Pater, aphes autois). Second aorist active imperative of aphiēmi, with dative case. Some of the oldest and best documents do not contain this verse.

    Luk 23:34 διαμεριζομενοι δε τα ϊματια αυτου εβαλον κληρον Codex Sinaiticus

    Luk 23:34 And they parted his garment, and cast lots.

    Mark says:
    Mar 15:24
    And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take.

    Matthew says:
    Mat 27:35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
     
  8. Ripheus27

    Ripheus27 Sinner

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    Tsk, tsk. This is not a thread about satisfaction vs. ransom theories of the Atonement, m'lord. I wasn't citing Anselm to defend his overall theory, just to note someone's opinion about the magnitude of evil involved in killing the Son of God. But even if this thread were about what you seem to think it is, I would answer your question by observing that parables abound in the Gospels especially, wherefore it is no entirely straightforward thing to make sense of all the various words used to describe the meaning of the Crucifixion in the Atonement. And as such obliquity is the case, whether the concept of a ransom may be rightly squared with the concept of Anselmian satisfaction is by no means clear to me.
     
  9. Ripheus27

    Ripheus27 Sinner

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    Well, Christ would've been speaking in Aramaic originally, wouldn't He? So who knows what He really said. I'm just going with the classical translation of the passage. I know that salvation doesn't relate to something so convoluted as faith in an interpretation of an ancient statement that was itself transcribed rather less than firsthand.

    As for salvation going along with forgiveness, well, if it's not our sins that stand in the way of our salvation, then what does? And if God Incarnate would forgive the most heinous sin possible, directed directly at Him, even when the sinners didn't confess Him as Lord, why wouldn't He forgive other, lesser sins, whose offensiveness to Him is not so direct? (I would cite, for instance, an infidel college student cheating on a test: even if this sin can be plausibly interpreted as somehow offending God personally, why would God forgive His very own murder by Rome's hands, but not the student's cheating, regardless of the fact that Rome and the student did not confess that Christ is the Lord?)

    Also, if Christ knew that His killers were otherwise damned, what difference would it have made to forgive them for killing Him? Why go through the trouble?
     
  10. Ripheus27

    Ripheus27 Sinner

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    So an atheist who has not been provided with sufficient evidence for God's existence will be forgiven his or her atheism? (You might reply: "But natural reason is sufficient evidence for theism, wherefore atheists are without excuse." But though you might reply in this way, do know that I will mayhap entirely disagree with you, on anecdotal grounds alone if necessary (i.e. when I was an unbeliever, it was precisely because I, entirely conscientiously as far as I can remember, saw the reality of the Lord as unproven to me, even by natural reason).)
     
  11. Ripheus27

    Ripheus27 Sinner

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    I'm not historically competent enough to get into a debate on the historical validity of this or that copy of ancient scriptures. And if knowledge of the means of salvation depended on such obscure details, I daresay almost no one ever would be saved.
     
  12. Ripheus27

    Ripheus27 Sinner

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    In light of several responses to this thread, I want to quickly remark: I am not going to debate anyone who thinks, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," was not actually said by Christ. This is not a thread about whether He said that: it's about what the implications of Him saying that are, IF He did so. I don't have the intellectual patience to see this point derailed due to issues that only dedicated research can resolve. Did Christian villagers in the 200s or 300s have the means to figure out which Biblical passages were historically legitimate enough to be in the canon or not? I doubt that on average they did, unless we're going to appeal to the raw guidance of the Holy Spirit. But if that's our court of appeal, then as far as I'm concerned, substantial sections of the Bible might just as well be cut into thousands of little pieces for all the Spirit tells me about those pieces' value.
     
  13. Noxot

    Noxot Arcanist

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    if me and you both did the exact same things in life, God would still judge us differently because I am more than what i do in this earth and so are you. let me add this to you, what if we have existed for many different ages/aeons? that would change a lot of things. search the bible, God speaks that this is an age we are in, and that there are some to come. that there was also some past age is obvious, because angels have different ranks, the devil was already fallen, ect.

    here is what i know, that not even the highest of angels enters into salvation but through Christ and the Spirit of God. what is faith? it is part of the Spirit of God, just as goodness and holiness and justice and truth and knowledge and wisdom are all the same Spirit. how is one saved if they do not have the Spirit of God? but I know God is full of mercy and that he pardons very much, and his punishments are aiming towards our salvation. he orders all things to good and He is omnipotent. you can only kick again the cosmic goad for so long before you become convinced that it is stupid to constantly drown yourself in delusions.

    I was reading about how God is both good and just. i think this might give you a better view of things.

    De Principiis 2
    - Highlight Loc. 403-11
    And with regard to Sodom and Gomorrah, let them tell us whether they believe the prophetic words to be those of the Creator God--of Him, viz., who is related to have rained upon them a shower of fire and brimstone. What does Ezekiel the prophet say of them? "Sodom," he says, "shall be restored to her former condition." But why, in afflicting those who are deserving of punishment, does He not afflict them for their good?--who also says to Chaldea, "Thou hast coals of fire, sit upon them; they will be a help to thee." And of those also who fell in the desert, let them hear what is related in the seventy-eighth Psalm, which bears the superscription of Asaph; for he says, "When He slew them, then they sought Him." He does not say that some sought Him after others had been slain, but he says that the destruction of those who were killed was of such a nature that, when put to death, they sought God. By all which it is established, that the God of the law and the Gospels is one and the same, a just and good God, and that He confers benefits justly, and punishes with kindness; since neither goodness without justice, nor justice without goodness, can display the (real) dignity of the divine nature.


    most human beings do not at all even know what true justice is imo, they are trapped in delusions of common mindsets that have for a long time now infected the mass of believers.

    judge not by outward appearances. we can not base someone being saved in so simple a thing such as "this guy seemed to not believe Christ according to outward appearances". an angel said in a certain book, "this age is winter and the living tress have not their leaves shown and the dead trees also do not show their leaves" but in summer we will know who has the leaves and who bares much fruit, and who was a dead tree that gave no leaves or fruits.

    no doubt God will judge everyone perfectly, but human beings can't even make internet that works 100% of the time =) but all i know is, this age is darkness and those who cling to Christ through this test will indeed have the things Christ spoke of, for "the meek shall inherit the earth" but yet you see the meek are trampled upon in this earth, but I know that a better earth is coming. and some people called "poor in spirit", shall "reign in some heavens"

    Jesus spoke of us in parables, saying things such as that if we are faithful in small things, that he shall then give unto us great things.

    in short, "how unfathomable is the wisdom and judgments of God!" but men would that, people get tortured forever or deleted, "away with them!" says their wicked/blind/ignorant hearts. Father forgive them for they know not what they do! people murder Jesus all the time.
     
  14. Phantasman

    Phantasman Newbie

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    Where do you find evidence of Gods existence? Their disbelieve comes from no evidence. We base or beliefs on faith. Have you seen God? Or Jesus? Did you meet the authors of the very scriptures you read? No. But those scriptures are what you have to go on. And they say that man is forgiven for all sins if asked before God, except blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. That is when the Holy Spirit works and you teach that it is the work of the opposing forces. Are the atheists who believe in no God, worse than the heathen idol worshipers that worshiped false Gods, and were still saved by Apostles? Luke was one of them.
     
  15. A New Dawn

    A New Dawn God is bigger than the boogeyman! Supporter

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    As was noted above in the thread, there are so many different types of forgiveness, and so many different graces that God bestows on all of his creation, not just his children, that it is impossible to know what Jesus meant (or might have meant) by saying this. I, personally, do not believe that Christ was talking about forgiving them their unbelief, but that God shouldn't be vengeful towards them.
     
  16. Enkil

    Enkil Guest

    I think the obvious meaning was that the charge of killing the Messiah, which is described in parables as a heinous act that would result in the destruction of Jerusalem, should not be laid to their charge. It's what He said after all. "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do." What were they doing? They were crucifying the Lord. (Of course, He was dying FOR them in the first place, though their rejection was an instrument of God's.) And so it wasn't placed upon them specifically, as the destruction of Jerusalem occurred roughly 40 years later, as only some of those alive in those days would have lived to experience that horror. It rightfully could have occurred at any time after the crucifixion, but it was a manifestation of God's mercy that they would be given time to repent before the Romans would take away their homes, livelihoods and freedoms totally, while killing roughly 3 million or so of their people. Not all of them did (repent), unfortunately.

    But as to the idea of being saved without faith. It obviously has no bearing on it at all, and the words of Christ cannot be contradicted. The OP would have us believe that Christ rescinded what He Himself established in the Gospels.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 24, 2013
  17. he-man

    he-man he-man

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    :confused: Since he did not say it, your argument is futile and ambiguous and antithetical to what Christ taught.

    Psalm 1:1: "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly."

    Mat 26:52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

    Rev 13:10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

    Father forgive them. Some of the oldest and best documents do not contain this verse.

    Luk 23:34 διαμεριζομενοι δε τα ϊματια αυτου εβαλον κληρον Codex Sinaiticus

    Luk 23:34 And they parted his garment, and cast lots.


     
  18. Heterodoxus

    Heterodoxus Former mainline Protestant pastor (1978 - 2005)

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    It might be the "classical translation," yet it is blatantly spurious; e.g., an academically verified addition within post-Nicean (pro-Catholic) codices issued later than P75.

    And, if Jesus "really said" these words, then debate as to the implication(s) of those words is warranted and encouraged. If not, then
    subjective commentary based upon conjecture is pointless. :)
     
  19. he-man

    he-man he-man

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    :thumbsup::amen::clap:
     
  20. Ripheus27

    Ripheus27 Sinner

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    As a devout Kantian, my faith is based on Kantian arguments. (The guy I'm speaking of is Immanuel Kant.) Apart from that, the Father and the Son have surely not come to me in person, but I daresay the Holy Spirit has. The presence of the Holy Spirit in my life is one of the reasons I gave up considering myself an atheist.
     
    Noxot likes this.