It seems to me that the teaching of the Scriptures relative to the atonement is that Jesus died as a substitute for sinners. The Scriptures also teach that Jesus was sinless and thus not deserving of the punishment. Nevertheless, he volunteered for it, and the Father accepted his punishment in the place of those who did deserve it. The problem with this, as I have been pointing out in my series on the PST, is that it is never right to punish an innocent person in place of the guilty. Theologians have jumped through a lot of hoops to try to argue that it is right and proper and not a miscarriage of justice, but I haven't found one yet who had a satisfactory resolution to the problem.
Let me illustrate the problem. Let's say that a teacher tells his class that he is going to step out in the hall for a moment and talk with a parent. He tells the class that they had better be quiet and read their assignment until he returns. As soon as he leaves, the class erupts. People are talking, running around the room, shooting spitballs, and so on. Every one of the students, except for the teacher's son, is misbehaving. The teacher returns to the class and is very angry. He says that the class will be punished for disobeying his instructions. Instead of punishing the entire class, however, he decides to punish one person as a representative of the class. He asks for volunteers. The only one who volunteers is his son, the one who did not misbehave. The teacher asks his son if he was guilty of violating his instructions to be quiet and read his assignment. The son says: "No, I did exactly as you instructed." The teacher, nevertheless, agrees to punish his son as the representative of the class. The son comes forward and receives three "licks" from a paddle. The teacher's anger over the class' disobedience is now placated and the whole class is forgiven.
I have several questions:
1. Did the teacher act justly?
2. What purpose did punishing his innocent son serve?
3. Why couldn't the teacher forgive the class without paddling anyone?
4. Did the son share culpability with the class simply because he was a member of the class?