The following are two versions of the "Incarnational theory of Atonement."  The central idea behind the Incarnational theory of Atonement is that because God the Son shared in our life situation through his life and death, a new fully human and fully divine life was created in Jesus, and by sharing in that life, we are saved from sin and reconciled to God.  This is a theory that is very different from typical Western accounts of Atonement, such as Anselm's Satisfaction theory or the Penal Theory; as discussed in the first article listed below, it fits much better with Eastern Orthodox conceptions of Salvation.  As I argue in both papers, I think it is much more plausible than these other commonly held theories.


The most recent version of the atonement paper is here. This is a version addressed to philosophers, but also deals with theological and scriptural issues and so is generally accessible.  It does not contain critiques of prior theories, however.  For that, click here.  Finally, for a power point presentation of the theory and critiques of prior theories, click here.


The first version of the Atonement paper that I wrote was written for a primarily Protestant evangelical audience and has never been published in print.  The first part of this paper contains a critique of traditional theories and a parable which many people have found helpful, especially for sermons. It contains some unfinished appendices that attempt to further elaborate the theory. (Click here for the article)


Another version was written as part of a contribution to the book Violence Renounced: Rene Girard, Biblical Studies, and Peacemaking (Studies in Peace and Scripture, 4), edited by Willard Swartley and published by Herald/Pandora Press in the year 2000.  Since this version was written later, it contains a somewhat more updated version of the theory.  Also, it is written for a more academic audience. (Click here for word version).


A useful link to a view similar to mine is the "Participatory Model of Atonement" by philosophers Tim Bayne and Greg Restall.

For other articles, go to my main webpage at