Mark Noll on Why the Atonement Matters for Christian Scholarship

> If, then, the **act of substitution** is a primordial human reality, the **seriousness of sin** is the essential human dilemma, the **divine initiative in salvation** is the basis for human hope, the **narrative movement of grace** is the primary shape for human knowledge, and the **complex nature of reality** is the inescapable challenge for human understanding — then the **human study of the world should reflect these realities.**

Mark Noll, [Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind](http://www.amazon.com/dp/0802866379/?tag=mikehickcom-20), pp. 70-71, emphasis added.

By “complex nature of reality,” Noll refers to the multiplicity of the atonement. Who put Jesus on the cross? Judas? Pilate? The priests? God? Jesus himself? Yes — they all did. Does God love sinners or punish them? He does both. Was the cross the worst moment in human history or the best? It was both at the same time.

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