The Courtroom and the Created Order: How Penal Substitution Brings about New Creation

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The Courtroom and the Created Order: How Penal Substitution Brings about New Creation

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Title: The Courtroom and the Created Order: How Penal Substitution Brings about New Creation
Author: Tankersley, Lee
Advisor: Wellum, Stephen J.
Abstract: This dissertation argues that penal substitutionary atonement is necessary for

transformation of the created order. This assertion answers the charge that an atonement

model that deals with forensic judgments, the moment of justification, and a focus on the

individual serves as an obstacle to God's purpose of restoring even the created order


Chapter 1 examines the current setting of the debate, illustrating the need for

this charge to be answered. This chapter also lays out the thesis as well as the

methodology of the dissertation.

Chapter 2 asks the question, "What is wrong with the created order?" This

chapter demonstrates that the plight of creation is that it is held in bondage to a reign of

death which is itself a manifestation of the legal verdict of condemnation that has come to

individuals in Adam.

Chapter 3 demonstrates that the reason numerous evangelicals deny penal

substitution is because of a faulty understanding of the nature of God. This chapter

argues that God's righteousness is broader than covenant faithfulness, that it includes an

element of retribution, that it is intrinsic to God, and that God's wrath includes his

personal inflicting of punishment upon the sinner. After examining God's nature, this

chapter ends by noting the necessity and difficulty of removing condemnation from


Chapter 4 illustrates how penal substitutionary atonement accounts for the

removal of condemnation from individuals in a manner that is in accord with God's

righteousness. This chapter also shows the biblical support for penal substitution through

an examination of Romans 3:25-26; 8:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; and Galatians 3:13.

Chapter 5 demonstrates that far from making the resurrection of Christ

unnecessary, penal substitution demands the resurrection because Christ dies as the

condemned one on behalf of sinners. The reason the resurrection is necessary, then, is

because it serves as and manifests Christ's justification. Furthermore, because Christ's

resurrection serves as his legal justification and appointment as son as well as an

eschatological demonstration of these legal realities, so believers legal verdict of

justification and adoption as sons necessitates a demonstration of these realities in their

resurrection, wherein they will be revealed as God's sons. At this time, the created order

will be restored.

Chapter 6 summarizes the argument of the first five chapters, notes an area of

possibility for further study, and provides a brief note of conclusion. This chapter

concludes that far from obscuring God's cosomological purposes, penal substitution is

required for the redemption of the created order.

Date: 2010-12

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