If God Requires Atonement, Does He Lack Something?

Is God really God if He needs something? Tim responds.

00:13 When Christians talk about God, they mean

00:17 something very specific. They're referring to a being with essential

00:20 attributes, and one of these attributes is divine aceity. Now this means that

00:25 God is self-existent. He is not dependent on anything else. Therefore, there could

00:30 be no lack or need in God. Now, underlying this challenge is an equivocation on the

00:37 word "require." The question treats the word "require" and the word "need" as if

00:42 they mean the same thing. In the context, the word "require" implies a demand, when

00:47 the word "need" implies a dependency. Here's a question to help flesh out the

00:53 distinction. We could ask, if a tenured professor required a passing grade, does

00:58 he lack something? Well, of course, the answer is "no." A teacher demands a passing

01:03 grade but doesn't need or depend on a passing grade. It's the student who needs

01:08 or depends on the passing grade. Well, likewise, God demands an atonement but

01:15 doesn't need or depend on an atonement. It's sinners who need an atonement. So

01:21 when Christians talk about God requiring an atonement, they're talking about a

01:26 demand, not a dependency. Because God is perfectly just, He demands atonement

01:32 for sin. We're all guilty of breaking God's law and rightfully deserve to be

01:37 punished. But because of God's perfect goodness and love, He graciously

01:42 offers an atonement for sin through His Son. He didn't need to save anyone.

01:48 Therefore, it is not as if God needs something, but rather, God is owed

01:53 something. He is owed a payment for sin. So the lack isn't in God. The lack is in

01:59 us. We lack the ability to pay what is owed. But thanks be to God. What God

02:04 requires, Christ provides.

video |
Tim Barnett

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