moving into a discussion of the major Christian beliefs. As would be the case with any religious tradition, the complexity of Christian theology and history. A list of free PDF books available on theology through the Online Christian Theological Virtual Library. Systematic theology, because of the nature of the subject itself, calls for . The author is teacher of Systematic Theology in the Anderson Bible School and.
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Tertullian was strongly opposed to making Christian theology dependent on sources “systematic theology”, Origen saw the task of theology as answering the. Now that my Systematic Theology is again being reprinted, the Preface can be very brief. It is not necessary to say much about the nature of the work, since it has. not the least of which was the option for the poor in Christian theology and where it stood as an issue within the church and the academy today. This lunch in.
The presentation is not chronological but thematic. The paper explores seven views of the image of God that have been proposed. Key words: Image of God, likeness of God, original human holiness, history of Christianity, substantialist approach, relational approach.
The third use 5: However, the 3: Biblical scholars observe the and Ecclesiasticus According to Middleton ambiguity of both these phrases. The first important anthropological affirmations, including the meaning refers to the physical cult statues of various dignity and sacredness of human life Gushee, ; false gods, condemned in the Old Testament Num p Several books, articles, and popular writings have The second meaning refers to physical biblical doctrine.
What does it Is there a distinction between subconsciously assuming that the ancient Hebraic image and likeness of God? Likewise image of God located? This substantial view emerged How can the image of God in humanity be restored? The obvious implication of what was the dominant anthropology and theology of this view is that human beings are radically different from their own age pp— Similarly, Clines the other creations because humans alone bear the asserted that conclusions on what the image of God image of God Gen.
This paper explores seven views of the imago desired capacities such as persons with disabilities that have been proposed in the various time periods of Reynolds, ; pp Christianity and the key figures of each view.
This The substantial view of the image was problematic in exploration will introduce the reader to the various ideas explaining what sin did to the image. If reason is the core and the key proponents of each view but will not address of what it means to image God, then, did the fall render the many questions that each view raise. Because it was difficult for theologians to deny the fall or to deny reason, some theologians The Substantial Structuralist View of the Imago Dei resorted to a distinction between image and likeness.
Irenaeus either substantial or relational p and Patristic and His main concern was recapitulation of creation in Christ. Of the various substances, reason was the main death, so through the victory of man we might ascend to appeal of Western theologians. Hall observes: The grace of God coming through Haereses IV. God, the more he or she grows in likeness to God.
Eastern theologians abandoned the radical transformation of his life Confessions 8. The renewal of the image starts with forgiveness of pneumatical-soteriological approach.
Though they sin. Although God undertakes human nature, they were concerned with the relationship renewal of the image through Christ, the believer must between human beings and God in and through Christ by voluntarily cooperate with God in obedience The Trinity, way of the Spirit Zizioulas, ; Chapter 1.
The Renewal soteriological understanding of the imago. For the leads to communion with God and a transformed life The Eastern tradition, the image of God and the image of Trinity, Benedictine monks preserved and propagated his Christ by the Holy Spirit.
Following Irenaeus, they affirm thoughts in the Middle Ages McGinn and Meyendorff, that human beings are created according to the image of ; p God, also of Christ, since the Father and the Son are Thomas Aquinas — advanced the consubstantial Harrison, ; p Christ is the perfect Augustinian concept of the image of God as the rational image of God; human beings are copies of the perfect aptitude of humans to know and love God Thus, it is in Christ that human human beings fallen or redeemed, bear the image of beings achieve the image of God.
Without Christ, there is God. However, he believed in the gradations levels of no imaging of God. But human beings cannot participate the image. Hence, to image God is to be assimilated to God in greater capacity than unredeemed humans. He the Father through the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Thus, to explained this gradations of the image in terms of three image God is to image the trinitarian God. Though he emphasized personal i. It is evident that Thomas continued predecessors. Likeness is restored in mens or reason ratio or intelligence intelligentia Christ, this restored image is called imago re-creationis possesses three faculties memory, intellect, and will.
Whereas Augustine implied relationality 9. They correspond to the trinity in that they are of as constitutive of the image, Protestant theologians such one substance essence , yet they are also distinct and as Luther and Calvin clearly argued for it. Grenz mutually interrelated. He also saw an analogy of the argues that Calvin in particular inaugurated the relational trinity in the mind; the mind loving itself, and the mind dimension of the image p The relational view of the knowing itself The Trinity, 9.
It defines the image of God essence The Trinity, 9. Niesel ; p70 and Gerrish ; view is interpersonal and holistic. Relationship with God p argue that for Calvin, theological anthropology is is the prime emphasis of a relational view of the image. In strongly bound to Christology. Calvin began his addition, proponents of the relational view accentuates discussion of the imago by critiquing earlier views he the damage that sin caused on the image.
For the considered erroneous.
Calvin rejected the following Reformers, imago Dei was equal to the original views: Out the human body Institutes, I. For Luther, view linked to original righteousness: However, though reason is important, Luther this word [imago], when he had full possession of right affirmed that relationship with God is of supreme understanding, when he had his affections kept within the importance Bell, ; p Imago Dei denotes the Even more, Institutes 1: It says: They responded more plainly those faculties in which man excels, and in to God in faith.
In summary, Luther claimed that glory. Human beings need reflection of gloria Dei glory of God. The obvious inference of into sin, effaced and defaced the image of God such that this view is that human beings thrive in community. The fact his state, was by this defection alienated from God. Scholars have condition of humanity before the fall in I. Human beings lost the image of God in rejects the traditional distinction between image and regard to their ability to perfectly reflect the glory of God likeness, noting, like Calvin did, that these two words pp Another approach is Cairns soteriological were put in place for the sake of clarification Berkouwer, approach.
He also rejects the view that dominium gives in the image, then he says it is not wholly lost, but dominion constitutes the image p Following Calvin pp Indeed, Calvin has a strong emphasis on and the Canons of Dort, he asserts that the image of God salvation and sanctification of believers in his discussion can only be clearly defined in connection to conformity to of the imago Dei Calvin, Institutes, III. He argued that who is called the image of God p It is based on re-creation from the fall.
The recovery Corinthians, 1: Furthermore, this Christ through the Holy Spirit. In Summary, the most perfect image of God; if we are conformed to it, Berkouwer posits that the image of God is the newness we are so restored that with true piety, righteousness, of life that Christ renders to believers.
Though the functional approach gained greater original image. For purposes of illustration, this section impetus in recent biblical scholarship, Antiochene Fathers covers only two Reformed scholars, namely, Karl Barth such as, Diodore of Tarsus, John Chrysostom, Theodore and Gerrit Berkouwer.
He posits that the image is the human rational capacity, arguing instead that the image relationship between human beings themselves, is the exercise of dominion over creation McLeod, ; particularly, the relationship between man and woman p McLeod asserts that for the Antiochene Barth, ; p Thus according to this view, relationship between man and woman.
This relationship with God. God invites human beings to a functional approach rests on two arguments. Foremost, it relationship with Him. Human beings encounter and emerged out of the historical-biblical method of biblical respond to God only through the Word, Jesus Christ scholarship.
Secondly, functional possible only in Christ and the Holy Spirit.
On the other view stems from the ancient Near Eastern context, i. Instead of God the Father, God view of the image: Mesopotamian kings are hailed as ; p Thus, for her, creation and incarnation the image of Bel or Shamash, Egyptian kings may boast are connected and inseparable.
Clines also terms of divine and human embodiment help enhance the elaborates on this Ancient Eastern background to the importance of the body in a world that devalues it.
Ruling the earth involves service which might ultimately lead to an attempt to control God and duty not abuse. For a secondary sense.
Deane-Drummond represents Grenz, the image of God should be understood from the this strand of scholarship. As a systematic theologian and lenses of what the New Testament says about it p Furthermore, this view not only understood as a call to particular actions to act connects imago Dei to imago Christi, it also connects it to responsibly toward other creaturely kinds, in accordance ecclesia.
The performative view of beings in His image was so that human beings could the image is pushed further in the anthropomorphites exist in community with God in Jesus Christ. So be treated justly. To mistreat the earth is to mistreat God. According to this view, the Church practically and The Anthropomorphite approach to the image of God concretely lives out the image of God in the world.
The dates back to the 4th century. Neither Augustine nor Calvin denied the structural , relational, and functional aspects of the importance of the body, but they did deny that it could be image as constitutive of what it means to be created in part of the image of God.
Hoekema captures the composite view , , has passionately advanced in recent when he sums up his view of the image: God with Us: A Theological Introduction to the Old Testament. Edited by Geoffrey William Bromiley. Grand Rapids: Similarly, Ware Barth K Church Dogmatics.
Edited by Geoffrey William provides a definition of the image of God which integrates Bromiley. T and T Clark. Bell T Man is a Microcosmos: Historically, the use of psychological analogies is especially associated with thinkers in the Latin-speaking West, particularly from Augustine onward. Augustine himself suggested several important analogies, as did others in the medieval Latin tradition. However, since our focus in this article is on more contemporary models, we will pass over these here and focus instead on two more recently developed psychological analogies.
Thomas V. Morris has suggested that we can find an analogy for the trinity in the psychological condition known as multiple personality disorder: just as a single human being can have multiple personalities, so too a single God can exist in three persons though, of course, in the case of God this is a cognitive virtue, not a defect Morris Others—Trenton Merricks for example—have suggested that we can conceive of the divine persons on analogy with the separate spheres of consciousness that result from commissurotomy Merricks Commissurotomy is a procedure, sometimes used to treat epilepsy, that involves cutting the bundle of nerves the corpus callosum by which the two hemispheres of the brain communicate.
Those who have undergone this procedure typically function normally in daily life; but, under certain kinds of experimental conditions, they display psychological characteristics that suggest that there are two distinct spheres of consciousness associated with the two hemispheres of their brain. Thus, according to this analogy, just as a single human can, in that way, have two distinct spheres of consciousness, so too a single divine being can exist in three persons, each of which is a distinct sphere of consciousness.
Precisely this feature of the analogies, however, also raises the spectre of modalism. In the case of multiple personality disorder, there is no real temptatiom to reify the distinct personalities, to treat them as distinct person-like beings subsisting in or as a single substance.
They are, rather, quite straightforwardly understandable as distinct aspects of a single, albeit fragmented, psychological subject. Similarly in the case of the commissurotomy analogy. It is highly unnatural to treat the distinct centers of consciousness as distinct persons; rather, it is most plausible to treat them as mere aspects of a single subject. Note, too, that it is hard to see how the personalities and centers of consciousness that figure into these analogies could be viewed as the same substance as one another, as the doctrine of the trinity requires us to say of the divine persons.
Again, it is natural to see them merely as distinct aspects of a single substance. This, then, seems to be the primary objection that proponents of these sorts of analogies need to overcome. If this claim is true, then it is open to us to say that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the same God but distinct persons. Notice, however, that this is all we need to make sense of the trinity. If the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the same God and there are no other Gods , then there will be exactly one God; but if they are also distinct persons and there are only three of them , then there will be three persons.
The main challenge for this solution is to show that the Relative Sameness assumption is coherent, and to show that the doctrine of the trinity can be stated in a way that is demonstrably consistent given the assumption of relative identity.
Peter van Inwagen's work on the trinity , has been mostly concerned with addressing this challenge. Their suggestion is that reflection on cases of material constitution e. If this is right, then, by analogy, such reflection can also help us to see how Father, Son, and Holy Spirit can be the same God but three different persons. Consider Rodin's famous bronze statue, The Thinker. It is a single material object; but it can be truly described both as a statue which is one kind of thing , and as a lump of bronze which is another kind of thing.
A little reflection, moreover, reveals that the statue is distinct from the lump of bronze. For example, if the statue were melted down, we would no longer have both a lump and a statue: the lump would remain albeit in a different shape but Rodin's Thinker would no longer exist.
This seems to show that the lump is something distinct from the statue, since one thing can exist apart from another only if they're distinct. If this is right, then this is not a case in which one thing simply appears in two different ways, or is referred to by two different labels. It is, rather, a case in which two distinct things occupy exactly the same region of space at the same time. Most of us readily accept the idea that distinct things, broadly construed, can occupy the same place at the same time.
The event of your sitting, for example, occupies exactly the same place that you do when you are seated. But we are more reluctant to say that distinct material objects occupy the same place at the same time.
Philosophers have therefore suggested various ways of making sense of the phenomenon of material constitution. One way of doing so is to say that the statue and the lump are the same material object even though they are distinct relative to some other kind e. The advantage of this idea is that it allows us to say that the statue and the lump count as one material object, thus preserving the principle of one material object to a place.
The cost, however, is that we commit ourselves to the initially puzzling idea that two distinct things can be the same material object. What, we might wonder, would it even mean for this to be true?
It is hard to see why such a claim should be objectionable; and if it is right, then our problem is solved. The lump of bronze in our example is clearly distinct from The Thinker, since it can exist without The Thinker; but it also clearly shares all the same matter in common with The Thinker, and hence, on this view, counts as the same material object. Likewise, then, we might say that all it means for one person and another to be the same God is for them to do something analogous to sharing in common all of whatever is analogous to matter in divine beings.
On this view, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the same God but different persons in just the way a statue and its constitutive lump are the same material object but different form-matter compounds.
Of course, God is not material; so this can only be an analogy. But still, it helps to provide an illuminating account of inter-trinitarian relations, and it does so in a way that seems at least initially to avoid both modalism and polytheism.
Brower and Rea maintain that each person of the trinity is a substance; thus, none is a mere aspect of a substance, and so modalism is avoided. And yet they are the same substance; and so polytheism is avoided. This account is not entirely free of difficulties however. Critics also object that this view does not directly answer the question of how many material objects are present for any given region, lump, or chunk. Is there an objective way of deciding how many objects are constituted by the lump of bronze that composes The Thinker?
Are there only two things statue and lump or are there many more paperweight, battering ram, etc. And if there are more, what determines how many there are? Incarnation The doctrine of the Incarnation holds that, at a time roughly two thousand years in the past, the second person of the trinity took on himself a distinct, fully human nature.
As a result, he was a single person in full possession of two distinct natures, one human and one divine. The Council of Chalcedon C. For example, it seems on the one hand that human beings are necessarily created beings, and that they are necessarily limited in power, presence, knowledge, and so on. On the other hand, divine beings are essentially the opposite of all those things.
Thus, it appears that one person could bear both natures, human and divine, only if such a person could be both limited and unlimited in various ways, created and uncreated, and so forth. And this is surely impossible. Two main strategies have been pursued in an attempt to resolve this apparent paradox. The first is the kenotic view.
The second is the two-minds view. We shall take each in turn. Phillipians —8, NRSV. According to this view, in becoming incarnate, God the Son voluntarily and temporarily laid aside some of his divine attributes in order to take on a human nature and thus his earthly mission.
If the kenotic view is correct, then contrary to what theists are normally inclined to think properties like omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence are not essential to divinity: something can remain divine even after putting some or all of those properties aside. The problem, however, is that if these properties aren't essential to divinity, then it is hard to see what would be essential.
If we say that something can be divine while lacking those properties, then we lose all grip on what it means to be divine. One might respond to this worry by saying that the only property that is essential to divine beings as such is the property being divine. This reply, however, makes divinity out to be a primitive, unanalyzable property. Critics like John Hick 73 complain that such a move makes divinity out to be unacceptably mysterious.
Alternatively, one might simply deny that any properties are necessary for divinity. It is widely held in the philosophy of biology, for example, that there are no properties possession of which are jointly necessary andsufficient for membership in, say, the kind humanity.
That is, it seems that for any interesting property you might think of as partly definitive of humanity, there are or could be humans who lack that property. Thus, many philosophers think that membership in the kind is determined simply by family resemblance to paradigm examples of the kind.
Something counts as human, in other words, if, and only if, it shares enough of the properties that are typical of humanity.
If we were to say the same thing about divinity, there would be no in-principle objection to the idea that Jesus counts as divine despite lacking omniscience or other properties like, perhaps, omnipotence, omnipresence, or even perfect goodness.
One might just say that he is knowledgeable, powerful, and good enough that, given his other attributes, he bears the right sort of family resemblance to the other members of the Godhead to count as divine. Some have offered more refined versions of the kenotic theory, arguing that the basic view mischaracterizes the divine attributes. According to these versions of the kenotic view, rather than attribute to God properties like ommniscience, omipotence, and the like, we should instead say that God has properties like the following: being omniscient-unless-temporarily-and-freely-choosing-to-be-otherwise, being omnipotent-unless-temporarily-and-freely-choosing-to-be-otherwise, and so forth.
These latter sorts of properties can be retained without contradiction even when certain powers are laid aside. In this way, then, Jesus can divest himself of some of his powers to become fully human while still remaining fully divine.
Feenstra, — Unfortunately, however, this response only raises a further question, namely: if Christ's incarnation required his temporarily surrendering omniscience, then his later exaltation must have involved continued non-omniscience or the loss of his humanity. However, Christians have typically argued that the exalted Christ is omniscient while retaining his humanity. It is hard to see how this view can respond to such an objection.
But for one response see Feenstra Moving away from the standard version of the kenotic theory, some philosophers and theologians endorse views according to which it only seems as if Christ lacked divine attributes like omniscience, omnipotence, and so on. They are views according to which the apparent loss of divine attributes is only pretense or illusion.
Among other things, this raises the concern that the incarnation is somehow a grand deception, thus casting doubt on Christ's moral perfection. More acceptable, then, are views according to which it somehow seems even to Christ himself as if certain divine attributes which he actually possesses have been laid aside. On this view, the loss of omniscience, omnipotence, and so on is only simulated.
Christ retains all of the traditional divine attributes. But from his point of view it is, nevertheless, as if those attributes are gone. Crisp , Ch. One concern that might be raised with respect to the doctrine of functional kenosis is that it is hard to see how a divine being could possibly simulate to himself, without outright pretense the loss of attributes like omniscience or omnipotence.
But perhaps the resources for addressing this worry are to be found in what is now widely seen as the main rival to the traditional kenotic theory: Thomas V. First, Morris claims that the incoherence charge against the incarnation rests on a mistake. The critic assumes that, for example, humans are essentially non-omniscient. But what are the grounds for this assertion? Unless we think that we have some special direct insight into the essential properties of human nature, our grounds are that all of the human beings we have encountered have that property.
But this merely suffices to show that the property is common to humans, not that it is essential. As Morris points out, it may be universally true that all human beings, for example, were born within ten miles of the surface of the earth, but this does not mean that this is an essential property of human beings.
An offspring of human parents born on the international space station would still be human. If this is right, the defender of the incarnation can reject the critic's characterization of human nature, and thereby eliminate the conflict between divine attributes and human nature so characterized.
This merely provides a way to fend off the critic, however, without supplying any positive model for how the incarnation should be understood. In the second step, then, Morris proposes that we think about the incarnation as the realization of one person with two minds: a human mind and a divine mind. During his earthly life, Morris proposes, Jesus Christ had two minds, with consciousness centered in the human mind.
This human mind had partial access to the contents of the divine mind, while God the Son's divine mind had full access to the corresponding human mind. The chief difficulty this view faces concerns the threat of Nestorianism the view, formally condemned by the Church, that there are two persons in the incarnate Christ.
It is natural simply to identify persons with minds—or, at the very least, to assume that the number of minds equals the number of persons. If we go with such very natural assumptions, however, the two minds view leads directly to the view that the incarnation gives us two persons, contrary to orthodoxy. Moreover, one might wonder whether taking the two minds model seriously leads us to the view that Christ suffers from something like multiple personality disorder.
In response to both objections, however, one might note that contemporary psychology seems to provide resources which support the viability of the two minds model.
As Morris points out elsewhere, the human mind is sometimes characterized as a system of somewhat autonomous subsystems. The normal human mind, for example, includes on these characterizations both a conscious mind the seat of awareness and an unconscious mind. It does not really matter for present purposes whether this psychological story is correct; the point is just that it seems coherent, and seems neither to involve multiple personality nor to imply that what seems to be a single subject is, in reality, two distinct persons.
Morris proposes, then, that similar sorts of relations can be supposed to obtain between the divine and human mind of Christ. First, a brief note about terminology. But it is not a neutral term. Rather, it already embodies a partial theory about what human salvation involves and about what the work of Christ accomplishes. In particular, it presupposes that saving human beings from death and separation from God primarily involves atoning for sin rather than say delivering human beings from some kind of bondage, repairing human nature, or something else.
Obviously these terms are not all synonymous; so part of the task of an overall theology of salvation—a soteriology—is to sort out the relations among these various terms and phrases is salvation simply to be identified with eternal life, for example? That said, however, we do not ourselves intend to advocate on behalf of any particular terminology.
In what follows, we shall discuss only three of the most well-known and widely discussed theories or families of theories about what the work of Jesus accomplishes on behalf of human beings. All take the suffering and death of Jesus to be an integral part of his work on our behalf; but the first theory holds Jesus' resurrection and ascension also to be absolutely central to that work, and the second theory holds his sinless life to be of near-equal importance.
Discussing these theories under three separate headings as we do below may foster the illusion that what we have are three mutually exclusive views, each marking off a wholly distinct camp in the history of soteriological theorizing, and each aiming to provide a full accounting of what Jesus' work contributes to human salvation from death and separation from God.
As we have already indicated, however, a variety of terms and images are used in the Bible to characterize what Jesus accomplished and, in contrast with the doctrines of the trinity and incarnation, we do not have for the doctrine of salvation an ecumenical conciliar prononouncement i. Consequently, it is no surprise that many thinkers appropriate imagery from more than one of the theories described below or others besides to explain their understanding of the nature and efficacy of Jesus' work.
One might question, however, whether any of these theologians ever intended to offer the ransom story about to be described as a theory of the atonement, rather than simply an extended metaphor.
What does seem clear, however, is that they at least intended to emphasize victory over sin, death, and so on as one of the principle salvific effects of the work of Christ. The ransom theory takes as its point of departure the idea that human beings are in a kind of bondage to sin, death, and the Devil. The basic view, familiar enough now from literature and film, is that God and the Devil are in a sort of competition for souls, and the rules of the competition state that anyone stained by sin must die and then forever exist as the Devil's prisoner in hell.
As the view is often developed, human sin gives the Devil a legitimate right to the possession of human souls. Thus, much as God loves us and would otherwise desire for us never to die and, furthermore, to enjoy life in heaven with him, the sad fact is that we, by our sins, have secured a much different destiny for ourselves.
But here is where the work of Christ is supposed to come in. According to the ransom view, it would be unfitting for God simply to violate the pre-ordained rules of the competition and snatch our souls out of the Devil's grasp. But it is not at all unfitting for God to pay the Devil a ransom in exchange for our freedom. Christ's death is that ransom. By living a sinless life and then dying like a sinner, Christ pays a price that, in the eyes of all parties to the competition, earns back for God the right to our souls, and thus effects a great triumph over the Devil, sin, and death.
The Son of God became incarnate, on this view, in order to set this example and thus provide a necessary condition for the moral reform that is, in turn, necessary for the full restoration of the relationship between creature and Creator.
On this picture, Jesus' sinless life is as much a part of his soteriologically relevant work as his suffering and death on the cross. Thus far, it may sound as if the exemplar theory says that all there is to the efficacy of Jesus' life and death for salvation is the provision of a fine example for us to imitate. According to Philip L. Quinn , however, to present the theory this way is simply to caricature it. According to Quinn, the dominant motif in Abelard's exemplar theory is one according to which human moral character is, in a very robust sense transformed by Christ's love.
He writes: My suggestion is that what Abelard has to contribute to our thinking about the atonement is the idea that divine love, made manifest throughout the life of Christ but especially in his suffering and dying, has the power to transform human sinners, if they cooperate, in ways that fit them for everlasting life in intimate union with God. On [this] view, the love of God for us exhibited in the life of Christ is a good example to imitate, but it is not merely an example. Above and beyond its exemplary value, there is in it a surplus of mysterious causal efficacy that no merely human love possesses.
And the operation of divine love in that supernatural mode is a causally necessary condition of there being implanted or kindled in us the kind of responsive love of God that, as Abelard supposes, enables us to do all things out of love and so to conquer the motives that would otherwise keep us enslaved to sin.
In Quinn's hands, then, the exemplar theory is one according to which the life and death of Christ do indeed provide an example for us to imitate--and an example that plays an important role in effecting the transformation that will make us fit for fellowship with God.
But, in contrast to the usual caricature of that theory, the exemplary nature of Christ's love does not exhaust its transformative power. These theories go on to note that human beings are absolutely incapable on their own of compensating God for the wrong they have done to him, and that the only way for them to satisfy the demands of justice is to suffer death and eternal separation from God.
Thus, in order to avoid this fate, they are in dire need of help. Christ, through his death and, on some versions, through his sinless life as well has provided that help. The different versions of the satisfaction theory are differentiated by their claims about what sort of help the work of Christ has provided.
Here we'll discuss three versions: St. Anselm's debt-cancellation theory, the penal substitution theory defended by John Calvin and many others in the reformed tradition, and the penitential substitution theory, attributed to Thomas Aquinas and defended most recently by Eleonore Stump and Richard Swinburne. According to Anselm, our sin puts us in a kind of debt toward God.
As our creator, God is entitled to our submission and obedience. By sinning, we therefore fail to give God something that we owe him. Thus, we deserve to be punished until we do give God what we owe him. Indeed, on Anselm's view, not only is it just for God to punish us; it is, other things being equal, unfitting for him not to punish us. For as long as we are not giving God his due, we are dishonoring him; and the dishonoring of God is maximally intolerable.
By allowing us to get away with dishonoring him, then, God would be tolerating what is maximally intolerable. Moreover, he would be behaving in a way that leaves sinners and the sinless in substantially the same position before him, which, Anselm thinks, is unseemly. But, of course, once we have sinned, it is impossible for us to give God the perfect life that we owe him. So we are left in the position of a debtor who cannot, under any circumstances, repay his own debt and is therefore stuck in debtor's prison for the remainder of his existence.
By living a sinless life, however, Christ was in a different position before God. He was the one human being who gave God what God was owed. Thus, he deserved no punishment; he did not even deserve death.