Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

The Atonement was Outside the Walls

April 30th, 2015 by G.

Reading a Catholic priest’s sermon here, I ran across this interesting point.  Both aspects of the atonement, in the garden and on the cross, took place outside the walls of Jerusalem.  That is, symbolically, outside the domain of order and civilization, and in the domain of chaos and disorder.  In other words, in both, Christ put himself in Satan’s power.  The sermoner doesn’t realize, of course, that Gethsemane was part of the atonement, but that makes his argument all the stronger.

There may be another insight from modern thought, from the concept of the local optimum.  The idea is that progress isn’t like a smoothly ascending slope where every bit of upward movement takes you closer to the peak.  The terrain of human action  may be more like a spread of broken ground.  There is a peak, but it is surrounded by ridges and hills.  The traveler can reach a high point which is much lower than the peak, but from which there is no way to go higher up.  Progress, in that case, means going back down.

Jerusalem was a little island of order and civilization in the waste and the wilderness, but it wasn’t very much of one.  Christ had to leave it, back down to the beginning, to make real progress.


Comments (4)
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April 30th, 2015 11:33:20

Bruce Charlton
April 30, 2015

Or, as Pecos Bill might say – but someone else will have to translate it – Often, things have to get worse before they can get better.

May 1, 2015

One thing that really “clicked” for me on Mormonism was that our own choice to enter this world sort of parallels the atonement, or Christ’s life as a whole. Our call to follow Christ seems deeper and more literal that way.

May 1, 2015

Father Elohim and Elder Brother Jehovah took us kids out camping for our rite of passage.

Pecos Bill
April 26, 2016

That there is the kind o’ sitchyation where I reckon it shore has to get a sight worse afore it kin improve a passel.

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