Substitutionary Atonement In The Light Of Vicarious Liability


Patrick Omutia
John M. Kiboi


Classical atonement theories can be divided into two major categories: objective and subjective. Objective theories are not well received in contemporary society. The idea of the death of Jesus Christ being substitute to human punishment undermines the principal of morality; one dying in place of another person who does not even know why the other is dying for them is not readily received. In modern society, Christians would prefer to regard Jesus’ action in terms of moral influence. Nonetheless, the Bible teaches the work of Christ as being both objective as well as subjective in nature. Since it is the aspect of one man dying for many (objective) that is problematic to modern moralists, this article argues that by use of vicarious liability; a modern legal concept familiar to modern moralists, the death of Christ as being vicarious could be best understood. The vicarious liability is both subjective as well as objective. Thus, this article argues that the work of Christ should be considered in its entirety. The article makes brief survey of some of the classical, medieval, Reformation and contemporary period atonement theories that attempted to explain the work of Christ as an atonement. In the research, the authors realized that some of those theories cannot find full acceptance today due to change of worldviews. The article applies the principle of analogia entis and nexus mysteriorum and uses contemporary doctrine of vicarious liability, a philosophy that is familiar, as its lumen sub quo in explaining the doctrine of substitutionary theory. The research is both library and field. For field data collection, a non-probability sampling was used.


How to Cite
Omutia, P., & Kiboi, J. M. (2022). Substitutionary Atonement In The Light Of Vicarious Liability. African Multidisciplinary Journal of Research, 7(2), 89–100. Retrieved from