Rebecca Stark is the author of The Good Portion: God, the second title in The Good Portion series, a series written to encourage women to immerse themselves in the depths of Christian doctrine.

The Good Portion — God explores what Scripture teaches about God in hopes that readers will see his perfection, worth, magnificence, and beauty as they study his triune nature, infinite attributes, and wondrous works. 

Rebecca also blogs at Out of the Ordinary.


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Theological Term of the Week

recapitulation theory of the atonement
The view, first emphasised by Iranaeus, that Christ came to the earth to reverse the curse of Adam by living the perfect human life, remaining obedient through all the phases of human life, succeeding where Adam failed, and thereby restoring those united with him to the state in which Adam existed before the fall.

  • From Irenaeus, quoted from The Christian Theology Reader by Alister McGrath: 

    But when [Christ] was incarnate and became a human being, he recapitulated in himself the long history of the human race, obtaining salvation for us, so that we might regain in Jesus Christ what we had lost in Adam, that is, being in the image and likeness of God. 

  • From Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhof:  
    Irenaeus, who also expresses the idea that the death of Christ satisfied the justice of God and thus liberated man, nevertheless gave prominence to the recapitulation theory, that is, to the idea, as Orr expresses it, “that Christ recapitulates in Himself all the stages of human life, including those which belong to our state as sinners.” By His incarnation and human life He reverses the course on which Adam by his sin started humanity and thus becomes a new leaven in the life of mankind. He communicates immortality to those who are united to Him by faith and effects an ethical transformation in their lives and by His obedience compensates for the disobedience of Adam.

Learn more:

  1. Got What are the various theories on the atonement?
  2. Frank Griffith: The Nature of the Atonement (pdf)
  3. Reclaiming the Mind Ministries: What is the recapitulation theory of the atonement? (video)

Related terms:

1From Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhof

Filed under Defective Theology.

Do you have a term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.

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