Atonement (Term)

Atonement in Christian theology refers to the reconciliation between God and humanity achieved through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Stemming from the Old English words “at one,” the term conveys the idea of restoring a relationship that has been broken, specifically the rift caused by sin between humans and God.

The doctrine of atonement is central to Christian faith, as it addresses how Christ’s sacrifice on the cross serves as the means to forgive and remove sin, thus allowing humans to enter into a right relationship with God. This sacrificial act fulfills and transcends the Old Testament sacrificial system, where the blood of animals temporarily covered sins. In the New Testament, Jesus is portrayed as the ultimate and perfect sacrifice (Hebrews 9:26), whose death was sufficient to atone for the sins of all humanity once and for all.

Through atonement, believers receive not only forgiveness but also the possibility of moral transformation and eternal life with God.