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The soteriological significance of the cross of Jesus : metaphor, meaning and salvation

Staines, Robert George (2008) The soteriological significance of the cross of Jesus : metaphor, meaning and salvation. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The Nicene Creed (AD 325), expressly states that Jesus Christ "for our salvation came down from heaven" and that He "was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried and the third day He rose again, according to the scriptures." Here the structure and sequence of soteriological events are explicitly stated in creedal formulation, where Christ's crucifixion holds the strategic centre point, where Jesus not only dies, but dies for our salvation. The Cross is the emblematic sign of Christian authenticity, the kernel of the kerygma of faith and paradoxically the preferred mechanism that God uses for salvation. Indeed, St Paul proclaimed to the world in the first century: "We preach Christ crucified a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." Even in the Gospels the apparent contradictory sign of the Messiah being nailed to a tree is highlighted, with taunts from onlookers and the last satanic tempatation, to "save yourself and come down from the Cross", is used to psychologically torment him in a last ditch attempt to abort the salvific enterprise; but salvation transparently can only come through the acceptance of the Cross. For as the great Spanish mystic and doctor of the Church St John of the Cross declares: "If you desire to possess Christ, never seek him without the Cross ... whoever seeks not the Cross of Christ, also seeks not the glory of Christ." Jesus indicates the magnetic pull of the Cross when He says in His own words: "and I, when I am lifted up from the Earth, will draw all men to myself", thus indicating the portal or ladder to heaven that the Cross symbolizes, where the divine glory shines diaphanously through the wood of the Cross. "It is as well to remember, however, that when we speak about the glory of God we are in fact speaking about the disclosure of his nature, which means that in his death, Jesus glorifies God and he himself is glorified; in other words, we see here the nature of God, and the nature of his Son. The glory of God is revealed." On Good Friday the centrality and instrumentality of the Cross is venerated, "behold the wood of the Cross on which hung the saviour of the world." The Cross is thus heavily laden with soteriological significance but we should never look at the Cross without being reminded of the resurrection, for the death and resurrection of Christ cannot be separated, since both are part of the mysterious purpose of God.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BS The Bible
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisor's Name: Newlands, Prof. George
Date of Award: 2008
Depositing User: Mrs Marie Cairney
Unique ID: glathesis:2008-567
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2009
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2013 14:46
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/567

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