A Luminous Hint

Holy wisdom is not clear and thin like water, but thick and dark like blood.  C. S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

My sophomore year of college Kristin Donaldson and I walked into Dr. Tom Schmidt’s office (bottom floor of Porter Hall, terrible blue carpet and wall to wall books) with a burning question. “How,” I asked Dr. Schmidt, a New Testament scholar, “does the atonement work?” (Verbatim.) At the time, and I recall this with crystalline clarity, I wanted a functional answer, some explanation that linked sin and redemption in an equation. What’s the mechanism here for Jesus actually saving me by dying on the cross?  I thought Dr. Schmidt could map it out for me, almost like providing a recipe for muffins. Instead, he dutifully, and appropriately, offered a brief overview of the New Testament images – substitutionary atonement, ransom, blood sacrificeand my response was to push him, again, to tell me how it functioned: “Yea, but how does it work?” He gave me the same general response. I left dispirited and unsatisfied. Continue reading “A Luminous Hint”