Some people today may find it compelling that some Great Cosmic Transaction took place on that day 1,980 years ago, that God’s wrath burned against his son instead of against me. I find that version of atonement theory neither intellectually compelling, spiritually compelling, nor in keeping with the biblical narrative.
Instead, Jesus death offers life because in Christianity, and in Christianity alone, the God and Creator of the universe deigned to become human, to be tempted, to reach out to those who had been de-humanized and restore their humanity, and ultimately to die in solidarity with every one of us. Yes, he was a sacrifice. Yes, he was “sinless.” But thank God, Jesus was also human.
The hope he offers is that, by dying on that cross, the eternal Trinity became forever bound to my humanity. The God of the universe identified with me, and I have the opportunity to identify with him.
— Tony Jones from his blog at Belief.net.
Some day I want to write a story about a man who wants to be a father, but only if his child turns out to live an absolutely perfect, mistake free life. If the child makes a mistake or is selfish in any way, then the father would be justified to express his wrath for the duration of the child’s life. How dare that child be imperfect!? If only the child would have remained perfect, then the father could have loved him or her with all his heart, absent his eternal wrath.