Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Reader

Ronald J. Feenstra

Second Reader

John Bolt

Third Reader

Arie C. Leder

Fourth Reader

Leanne Van Dyk


The rich history of research in atonement theology has focused its energy primarily on explanations of how the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ leads to the forgiveness of human sin and the restoration of a right relationship between God and humanity. While the biblical text does describe the work of Jesus Christ in those terms, it also makes clear that God's people look forward with hope to the restoration of all creation. Lacking in atonement scholarship is a clear explanation of how the work of Jesus Christ might be connected to and bring about this restoration, described in the Bible as the new heavens and new earth. The biblical narrative portrays human sin as the despoiler not only of the relationship between God and humanity, but also of creation itself and God's intentions for creation. The sacrificial system of the Israelite cult, especially the Day of Atonement rituals, serves to cleanse Israel, thereby restoring the order and beauty of God's good creation and preserving the presence of God in their midst. Drawing especially on biblical sources, this dissertation argues that Jesus' death is an atoning sacrifice that stands in continuity with the sacrificial cult of Israel. Jesus' sacrificial death, therefore, leads not only to the restoration of the relationship between God and humanity as traditionally argued, but to the restoration of all creation. The result of this biblical study will be a model of atonement based on the metaphor of cleansing. This model enhances traditional atonement models by offering an explanation of how Jesus' death also brings about the restoration of all creation, while offering an alternative metaphor to judicial formulations of atonement theology in art effort to deal with issues regarding violence and the atonement.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.