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Faith and Philosophy

Volume 36, Issue 4, October 2019

Richard Swinburne
Pages 512-521

Stump On Forgiveness

I claim that all the criticisms made by Eleonore Stump in her Atonement of my account of the nature and justification of human and divine forgiveness are entirely mistaken. She claims that God’s forgiveness of our sins is always immediate and unconditional. I argue that on Christ’s understanding of forgiveness as deeming the sinner not to have wronged one, God’s forgiveness of us is always conditional on our repenting and being willing to forgive others. Her account of forgiveness merely as the expression of love for the sinner leaves her without a separate word for the all-important act of “wiping the slate clean.” Unlike Stump, I endorse the account in The Letter to the Hebrews of Christ’s passion and death as a sacrifice for human sin.

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