There are three common theories of the Atonement. We will briefly review 2 of them and then look at the scriptures and the writings of the early church fathers for a better understanding.
- The Satisfaction Model
The Satisfaction Model (Objective or Latin or Vicarious Atonement): This is the view that most Christians are very familiar with when it comes to the Doctrine of Atonement. According to this view, Jesus Christ provides propitiation for God’s judgment to reconcile sinners with God. The Objective atonement occurs in this model as to change God’s attitude toward sinners, as once we were God’s enemies. Vicarious atonement is the view within Satisfaction Model that Jesus is the substitutionary sacrifice who died in our place.
This theory was first penned by Anslem, Archbishop of Canterbury in the 11th century. Essentially this theory of atonement was not the original understanding of the work of Christ from the early Church but instead was an extension of the medieval culture that Anselm lived in.