A Less Odious Atonement Requires a More Classical God: Engaging Farris and Hamilton on Christus Odium
Campus minister with Reformed University Fellowship at University of California Irvine and Ph.D. Candidate at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Abstract: Joshua Farris and Mark Hamilton have leveled a serious critique of the so-called Christus Odium variant of Penal Substitution in their article “This is My Beloved Son Whom I Hate?” JBTS (2018), wherein the Son is said to satisfy not only the justice, but specifically the hate of the Father. Farris and Hamilton raise a series of exegetical, dogmatic, and pastoral problems with it—and by extension raise issues with more modest forms of PSA. In this paper, I examine what form the doctrine might take in the context of a classical doctrine of God. First, I attempt to render an orthodox version by retrieving impassibility and analogy to reframe divine hate. I then deploy the doctrines of simplicity, inseparable operations, appropriations, and a Chalcedonian Christology to coordinate the relationship of Father and Son in the activity of satisfying that hate. If my proposal works—renders the Odium less odious—then it will show the same doctrine of God will preserve more modest versions of penal substitution from Farris and Hamilton’s critiques as well.
Key Words: atonement, analogy, impassibility, penal substitution, divine hate, inseparable operations.