Atonement: The Insight Of Edouard Tahmizian 

It is well known that the God of the bible wants a contrite heart, not sacrifice. We read, for instance, God says in Hosea: “I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6). Jesus reiterates this. He says: “Go and learn what this means:: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’” (Matthew 9:13).

In what sense, then, is Jesus a sacrifice? In Yom Kippur, there are two goats that are killed: a pure goat’s death that addresses the unintentional sin of Israel whereby the blood purifies and sanctifies the holy place so God can dwell there. The other much worse intentional sins are “magically” put on the other goat, and that scapegoat is released into the wilderness where it suffers a horrific death (unlike the humane death of the pure goat – Jewish sacrifice usually being humane). The vicious death of the scapegoat is probably meant to figuratively make people aware of the excessive impact of their bad behavior, and thus create a metanoia or change of heart (repentance) where one becomes allergic to sin = a worldly disposition becomes a holy one.

In the bible, Genesis talks about Adam and Eve’s eyes being opened to their nakedness, and this is magnified in the New Testament such as the eyes of vicious Christian persecutor Paul being opened to his wrongful persecution of the Jesus movement. Transgression leads to your eyes being opened to your failings.

Jesus on the cross has been turned on and wronged by the world, and understanding him as the special beloved (agapetos) of God shows how horrific an act has been committed, and our eyes our opened seeing ourselves in those who killed Christ. Similarly we might reflect how if I was a Roman Citizen at the time, I might have been cheering right along with everyone else in the arena as the Christians were fed to the lions. We saw a similar thing with the death of noble Socrates and the impaled just man in Plato’s Republic.

Edouard Tahmizian rightfully notes that the problem of sin in the old testament really implicates God in the sin problem because just as God has a revulsion or allergy to sin he could have created man with in the same way. Edouard writes:

  • The reason why God cannot sin, it is said, is because he experiences an ultimate revulsion toward sin. Nothing can conflict with that revulsion or alter it in any way. Sinning for God is akin to being offered garbage to eat for us. It is so repulsive that he only has a motivation to not partake of it, yet he is still free because he freely willed to choose good instead. If one has no motivation to do something, they will have no reason to do it… So in the Genesis account, Adam and Eve must have been created morally imperfect by God. When tempted, they did not have an ultimate revulsion to the sin that the serpent suggested; for if they had possessed such a revulsion, they could have only chosen to abstain from sin. They could not have experienced temptation to sin (or would have had no motivation to sin) had they been revolted by sin.

This, then seems to be exactly what the cross of Christ is seeking to rectify, with our being implicated in the excessive, horrific death of God’s specially beloved one (a fate similar to ,but far worse than that of the arch villain against the Jews Hamam), our eyes are opened to our wretched worldly disposition and this is replaced by a holy disposition, what Paul calls a circumcision of the heart and being crucified with Christ: metanoia (change of heart). This is why believers are said to have the mind of Christ: they are impervious to the temptations of the devil.