Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The purpose of this research is to offer an analysis of the major conceptual and ethical problems facing penal substitution insofar as it is utilized as an explanatory feature of Christ's contribution to divine-human reconciliation. I present fourteen problems and argue that penal substitution can overcome these problems by embracing a "divine-manifest offering" approach to atonement. On this approach, God mercifully chooses to require satisfaction for sin through penal substitution in order to give God's Self the opportunity to meet this requirement by satisfaction through penal self-substitution. This divine self-substitution is intended by God to elicit a free human response of openness to a personal relationship of mutual love with God. Its effectiveness in drawing humans to such a relationship with God is a result of its ability to create obstacles to human persistence in alienation (e.g. demonstrating the danger of sin and the value of God's offer of personal reconciliation), to remove obstacles to human appropriation of divine forgiveness (e.g. a subjective perception of shame, doubt of divine justice, doubt of divine love towards humans), and to motivate humans toward divine-human personal reconciliation with a display of the depth of God's love for humans.

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