The Logic of Penal Substitution, Limited Atonement, Universalism

Why is wrong with this syllogism?

Major Premise: Jesus took the punishment for our sins.

Minor Premise: God cannot justly punish the same sins twice.

Conclusion: Everyone Jesus died for is saved from punishment.

This is the same syllogism that Universalists and Calvinist use, though the former use it to teach that everyone is saved and the latter to teach limited atonement.

So what’s the problem with this syllogism? The major premise is the problem. Jesus did not take the punishment of our sins.

The punishment of our sins is eternal hell. Jesus didn’t suffer eternal hell.

An atonement is a substitute for punishment, not punishment itself. The atonement renders penalty remissible, as Jesus died for the forgiveness of sins.

Given that the atonement is a substitute for punishment and not punishment itself, and that the atonement renders punishment remittable, we can see how Jesus Christ could die for everyone, making salvation available to everyone, without automatically or unconditionally saving everyone. The atonement makes forgiveness of sins available but men must repent and believe in order to receive it.

The Universalists is even more consistent with the Calvinist in their atonement view, as the Universalist says everyone is born saved. That is the real logically conclusion of “Penal Substitution,” or the idea that Christ took our exact and literal punishment.


The Scriptural Doctrine of Atonement by Caleb Burge has been said to be the best book on the Governmental Atonement theory.

Burge expounds upon very profound concepts and presents them in a very intelligent and understandable way.

This book was originally published in 1822.

It contains pure theological gold on one of the most important doctrines of Christianity. It will be an absolute treasure in your library.

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