The Christian Concept of Salvation Falsifies the Trinity

Major Problems with the Christian Concept of Salvation: The Trinity becomes muddled in Christian Soteriology

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc. (Hons), MCollT

The concept of vicarious atonement is fundamental to mainstream Christianity. It is postulated that salvation is only acquirable through the acceptance of the death of Jesus on the cross as a divinely instituted sacrifice. In this Christian salvific saga, the Father is said to pour all His Wrath onto the Son and in so doing, He satisfies the need for Justice where sin is concerned. The so called tension between Justice and Mercy– a unique concept in western Christianity* –is resolved and God can appropriately offer the latter without dispensing with the former.

Upon close inspection of the above doctrine, which is the most fundamental feature of western Christian faith, several problems and difficulties arise. Firstly, the inescapable impression that the vicarious atonement gives is that the Father is the source of Wrath and the Son is the source of Love. Whilst the Father punishes, the Son gives. These two in Christian theology are supposed to be equal in every respect. They are designated as ‘Persons’ within One God. If that were true, then this God, apparently, did not satisfy the alleged tension between the attributes of Justice and Mercy after all or if He did, then He only managed to satisfy one third of Justice because the rest of God, i.e., the Son and the Holy Spirit, did not pour out their Wrath. And this fact is in direct opposition to John 5:19 which says that the Son does everything and anything He sees the Father does. If John 5:19 were true then the vicarious atonement would be false as it would render the Son as wrathful instead of loving whilst he was affixed on the cross, but if the vicarious atonement were true, then John 5:19 would be false because the Son did not emulate the Father’s wrath but was instead exuding love in his sacrifice. However, according to standard Christian teaching, the Wrath that is said to have been poured onto the Son on the cross was supposed to have been the complete and full Wrath of God as a complete entity. If one accepts that premise, then one must reevaluate one’s reading of those many instances in the Bible where God shows His Wrath. If the cross received the full measure of God’s Wrath and only the Father actually poured His Wrath on it, the necessary implication is that God’s attribute of wrathfulness belongs only to the Father and so the wrathful instances of God in biblical history were instances of only the Father and not the full God, which is supposed to be the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit together. Following this line of thought, one must then necessarily surmise that Justice comes only from the Father who satisfies it with His Wrath. If that were true, then God as a complete Being becomes crippled with disproportionate attributes unevenly distributed to the three members that make up the One Being.

Secondly, in this Christian story of salvation, because the Son shows love and offers himself to be tortured and killed in order that mankind be forgiven and saved from the Father’s frightening wrath, would that not lead a believer to adore the Son more than the Father. The Father would instead be terribly feared, would He not? Could this be the reason why Christians focus much of their attention on Jesus but less so on the Father?

Thirdly, in the love-hate relationship between the Father and the Son on the cross, have you noticed something? The Holy Spirit is missing! He is completely non-existent in the picture. In Christianity’s beloved story of salvation that Christians cannot help but share with the rest of the world, the Holy Spirit is forgotten. Apparently, to save humanity one member of the Trinity can be dispensed with. And that means the vicarious atonement paradigm necessitates the conclusion that God as a complete entity is not required to save mankind, therefore, the statement that “God so loved the world…” is quite misleading in Trinitarian theology.

Notes:

* For clarification on the western Christian belief concerning the tension between Justice and Mercy, you may read the following article:

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