Mark Noll: The Atonement Points Us to Morally Complex Stories

> Since the atonement involves tremendous complexity and great mystery, **the best narratives will not be simplistic** (like movies were resolution comes through a car chase or gunfight). Neither will the best narratives be Manichean (where the good guys are all good and the bad guys are all bad). Nor will they be simply heroic (where protagonists triumph over obstacles through reliance on their own inner resources) or simply nihilistic (where the point is to enact the futility of human existence as in novels of Thomas Hardy like *Jude the Obscure* and *Tess of the D’Urbervilles*). Rather, **the best narratives will be morally complex**, as in fact the enduring tragedies, comedies, and novels — like *Oedipus Rex*, *King Lear*, *Paradise Lost*, and *Crime and Punishment* — regularly are. Such morally complex narratives are most satisfying because, in terms of atonement theology, **they are most true to life**.

Mark Noll, [Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind](, p. 71. Emphasis added.

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