How did Christ Redeem Mankind?

Bishop Brian J. Kennedy, O.S.B.

"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. " (Isaiah 53:5)

Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them.  The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, "Peace be with you."  Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing."  Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:24-28)


There is a significant difference in the teachings of Eastern Orthodoxy and Celtic Orthodoxy on how mankind is saved.  Celtic Orthodoxy believes by the Sacred Wounds of Jesus we are healed and by His Precious Blood we are redeemed.


The Eastern Orthodox Church holds to the heresy termed the Recapitulation Theory.

The Recapitulation Theory teaches through the Incarnation,

Christ took on human nature, becoming the Second Adam,

and entered into every stage of humanity, from infancy to adulthood, uniting it to God.  He then suffered death to enter Hades and destroy it.  After three days, He resurrected and completed

His task by destroying death.


By entering each of these stages and remaining perfectly obedient to the Father, Christ recapitulated every aspect of human nature. 

He said “Yes” where Adam said “No”

and healed what Adam’s actions had damaged. 

This enables all of those who are willing to say yes to God to be perfectly united with the Holy Trinity.



It is true that Jesus took our humanity and raised up our sinful human nature by uniting our humanity to His divinity.  It is true that Jesus became the second Adam and said “yes” where Adam said “no” but Jesus said yes even unto the Cross and it is on the Cross that our redemption was completed.


We are saved by the Blood of Jesus. 

We are healed by the Sacred Wounds of Jesus.


The Recapitulation Theory denies the

propitiation” or the Blood Atonement. 






     The word atonement is a theological concept used to describe the substitution work of Christ. The word occurs in Romans 5:11 and has the meaning of reconciliation. The word is many times used in the Old Testament to translate the Hebrew words ‘kipper’ and ‘kippurim’, which mean “propitiation” or “expiation”.


The main event to which the whole Old Testament pointed and what is taught in the New Testament is Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross. The New Testament writers ascribe the saving efficacy of Christ’s work specifically to His death, or His blood, or His cross Rom 3: 25; v. 9; I Cor. 10:16; Eph.1:7; 2:13; Col. 1:20; Heb. 9:12, 14; I Pet. 1:2, 19; I John 1:7; v. 6-8; Rev. 1:5.


The Eastern Orthodox Church regards the idea of the atonement as barbaric. They often say: “Why would God require or even allow His Son to be tortured and killed in such a bloody humiliating manner? Isn’t God a God of love?  They believe firmly the Father did not require the Cross.  They deny we are healed by the Wounds of Christ and Redeemed by His blood. The Eastern Orthodox Church does not understand the Scriptures or the power of God.


     Phil 2:8: “And being found in appearance

as a man, He humbled Himself and

     became obedient to the point of death,

even the death of the cross.”  


     Jesus spoke of his death and resurrection

numerous times. Matt 16:21 “From that time Jesus

began to show to His disciples that He

     must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things

from the elders and chief

     priests and scribes, and be killed,

and be raised the third day.”

     The Scripture says it was necessary.


     Luke 24:46-47 Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, "and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His

     name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

     The Scripture says it was necessary.     


We give the Father thanks and praise for by His will and favor we are healed by the Sacred Wounds of Jesus and by the Precious Blood of Jesus we are redeemed.