Christ for us : a comparative study of the themes of representation and substitution in the theologies of Dorothee Sole, John Macquarrie and Karl Barth
Christ for us describes the essence of the reconciling act initiated and brought to fruition by the Triune God towards God's errant creation. The themes of representation and substitution have figured prominently in attempts to articulate the nature of this divine act of reconciliation in Christ. The intent of this study is not to present a plethora of viewpoints on these themes, arriving at a general survey of the subject, but rather to focus on the theologies of three contemporary theologians---Dorothee Sole, John Macquarrie and Karl Barth---drawing from this select purview a portrait of key issues arising from these themes and the relative adequacy of their particular attempts to address them. Such a study aims to substantiate the following premises: 1. Representation and substitution, far from being mutually exclusive, are complementary concepts which must be held together, each illuminating the other. As such, they express a view of reconciliation which is both cognizant of sin's radically incapacitating effect---necessitating a Substitute who acts in our place apart from human cooperation---and consonant with the inner logic of the incarnation, wherein such substitution ontologically implicates us as those included in Christ's representative existence as Elect Head of humanity. 2. The marriage of representation and substitution presumes a trinitarian view of grace, interpreted not primarily in legal terms but relationally , in the covenantal context of the Triune God's elective resolve to draw humankind within the faithful embrace of His dynamic, self-giving love through becoming the God of, for and with humankind in Christ. 3. The hypostatic union is vital, not only to an understanding of Jesus' Person as both in continuity with humankind and utterly unique, but also in providing the essential bilateral dynamic by which to interpret his atoning mission, i.e., fulfilling the covenant not only from the divine side qua God, but simultaneously embodying the necessary human response---God as man---on our behalf and in our place.