On a thread over at www.orthodoxchristianity.net, it was asked whether Collossians 2 teaches penal substitutionary atonement (that Jesus was "punished" on the cross for our sins), which then led to a wider discussion of the nature of atonement period. It was asserted that not only Collossians 2, but also Isaiah 52 - 53 and others, teach this concept.
He is the good shepherd, who lays down His life for His sheep.
He redeems us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.
The righteous suffered for the unrighteous.
Which prompted this absolutely awesome reply by Alveus Lacuna:
You're missing the subtlety.
Yes, there is substitution. He takes the place for us. He is the sacrificial lamb. His perfection and righteousness goes in place of our sinfulness.
What is in dispute is whether or not there is a penal satisfaction, meaning that somehow God had to be healed of His anger. We can speak of God's anger against us in a sense, but not absolutely, as God requires no healing. He is complete and perfect. Rather we are the ones that require healing, and as we are healed, then our position towards God is rectified. Instead of moving against God's presence in a way that destroys us, like something coming into the earth's atmosphere can burn it up if the resistance is too great, we move seamlessly into His infinite presence. Also think of diving into the water versus doing a belly-flop. I hope you get my meaning.
Anyway, God is unchanging. So properly speaking, there is a change in us, not in God. That's the whole difference in the way we talk about it versus many Reformed thinkers. The Son didn't die to help the Father stop being pissed off at us. Then it's the Son saving us from the Father instead of from sin, death, and the Accuser.
There's too much of a confusion of terms here: penal, satisfaction, substitution, atonement, blah blah blah. Here is something very specific that Orthodoxy teaches against, and that is the teaching that the Son somehow affects a change in the Father; that we must be saved from the Father.
Indeed. You may view the thread HERE.