The Incarnation and Universal Atonement

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Puritan Board Freshman
The other day I went to a local Christian bookstore to purchase "Debating Calvinism." The owner of the store asked me where I stand and I replied that I'm a five-pointer. He read me a paragraph from "The Mediation of Christ" by Thomas Torrence. This said essentially that because Christ was the 2nd Adam he had to have represented all men on the cross otherwise his mission was a failure, as Adam represented all men in the fall. I've never heard this before, but as I thought about it more this morning in the shower two thoughts came to mind:

1) When one considers this arguement in light of God's eternal decree it becomes somewhat mute. If it was God's plan to save some and not others for his glory from all eternity then this arguement becomes irrelevant (somehow I think people will jump on me for this one, but I don't know why).

2) I don't see the logical nessessity that all men must be atoned for simply because Jesus had a nature common to all people. This is logically disconnected.

Any help developing this? Any additional thoughts?



[Edited on 5-13-2004 by Richard B. Davis]

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
Easy way to deal with this is through CT.

Adam represents X.

Jesus Represents Y.

So far so good.

X does not equal Y.

X is its own group (Federal headship of Adam over a certain limited number of people.)

Y is its own group (Federal Headship of Christ over a certain limited number of people.)

X = All of humanity - Jesus. (A limited number)

Y = a certain number of humanity. (A limited number)

Adam represents X perfectly.

Jesus represents Y perfectly.

Adam is the representative head of all men - Jesus.

Jesus is the representative head of all those the Father gives Him.


If one does not understand the OT, he will NEVER understand the NT. Federal Headship is a basic tenant of theology that most evangelicals miss. If you can help him to understand this concept, then he should be bale to get over the hump. Even go simpler - ask him if he is a head of his family. If he is, then ask him if he is head over your family. If he is not, help his see the connection between Adam being head over his family and Jesus being head over his family.

May the light shine! :candle:


Puritan Board Freshman
i would say that your reply to that fellow is in the word "new." This is a theme that runs through the NT. What kind of Adam was Jesus? He was the new Adam (Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit." 1 Cor. 15:45 ESV) for a new mankind. He makes all things new. This new race does not include all peoples. It is only the elect. Christ clear and repeatedly stated that His mission was not to come to save every soul on earth but to redeem those whom the Father had given him. Adam was the rep. for all of mankind, and in his fall we fell. Christ came as a rep as well, but for a new people. Adam was the rep for his children and bride. Christ would be the rep for the children of God.

Look at this passagge:

Hebrews 2:11-16 (ESV)
For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, [12] saying,
"I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise."

[13] And again,
"I will put my trust in him."

And again,
"Behold, I and the children God has given me."
[14] Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, [15] and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. [16] For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham.

1. Jesus calls the children of God his brothers
2. God has given His children to Jesus
3. Jesus took on flesh and blood for the purpose of redeeming those who are ABRAHAM'S OFFSPRING.

It was not fro the offspring of Abraham that he came to redeem but for those of Abraham. Now the question is who are the children of Abraham? Well those are the ones who have the faith of Abraham and that faith is by grace alone. I think you know where I am headed withthis so I will stop here. I also have a diaper too change now. bye.


Puritan Board Freshman

I think the guys did a pretty good job answering this, but let me add that RC Sproul covers that very issue in the beginning of Chosen By God. It made perfect sense to me from the reading. You may want to check it out. (I know, this board is a VERY expensive place. And I'm becoming frightened of moving out of my apartment. Books are HEAVY. I can only presume that all you fellas are going to come on up and help when I have to move, right?!)

Mary :bs2:


Puritan Board Post-Graduate

[quote:7b1b613a6c]...because Christ was the 2nd Adam he had to have represented all men on the cross otherwise his mission was a failure, as Adam represented all men in the fall. [/quote:7b1b613a6c]
I don't see how Christ's incarnation would have been different if He represented a partial and limited mumber Adam's descendants. Would He have been smaller? Would He have been see-through?

He was fully Human, and in His death He represented mankind in taking upon Himself the punishment for it. Because He was the Son of God, the efficaciousness of His death was more than sufficient for all of mankind, and more. But that, and His incarnation itself, does not mean or imply that it has been counted for everyone. All men fell; but not all will be saved.

[quote:7b1b613a6c]2Pe 2:21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known [it], to turn back from the holy commandment having been handed down to them. [/quote:7b1b613a6c]and,[quote:7b1b613a6c]Mat 26:24 "Indeed, the Son of Humanity is going away just as it has been written concerning Him. But how horrible it will be to that man through whom the Son of Humanity is betrayed! [It would have been] good for him if that man had not been born!" [/quote:7b1b613a6c]

This idea turns the gospel into a public relations gesture, because the need to know about this salvation is not important anymore. The response to the gospel message will then merely give a higher place in eternity; but a lack of response will not forfeit it. So preaching to Word is nothing more than a public relations effort, and could itself be done with selfish motives.

Yet the Word speaks of "all men" and the "world" in terms of salvation. All those whom Christ came to save will be saved; those for whom He did not die are dead in themselves, and so are not part of that inclusive term, the object of God's saving love.

Skeuos Eleous

Inactive User
Romans 5:18 (ESV)
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.

Everyone in Adam is comdemned (Original Sin).

Everyone in Christ is justified.

If this were the only passage in Scripture it could be put to use to defend a [i:d23f1d1cd4]Universal Salvation[/i:d23f1d1cd4] stance (every single human being will be saved including Pharoah, Judas, and Hitler), but it still would not defend Arminianism, because it does not talk about "potential salvation" but actual justification that actually happens to every person [i:d23f1d1cd4]in[/i:d23f1d1cd4] Christ.

The Bible does not speak of Universal Salvation however. The only ones saved are those who hear the Word (Rm 10:17), repent (Ac 3:19), believe (Ac 16:31), etc. And all of this is by grace; it is the gift of God (Ep 2:8-9).
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