Does the Orthodox church teach substitutionary atonement?
I’ll post something until Anyuta64 gets back.
No because the Orthodox church doe not subscribe to the Augustinian view of God as western Christianity does. Western Christianity see salvation as being saved from punishment. They see sin as doing God wrong, and God can not forgive us until someone pays the price.
Orthodoxy sees sin as a separation from God, not living in the image and likeness of God, the way we were created. We see sin as a spiritual disease that needs to be cured, not a legal offence that needs to be settled. We have more of a ransom theory, the Son of God had to bring us back to God, his loving Father. Christ had to do what must be done to remove the biggest obstacle to our reconciliation with God.
Orthodoxy believes in a loving and forgiving God. The problem with our separation with God is not that He is angry with us and won’t love us until someone worthy enough takes the punishment, it is us who keep ourselves from God. Our sins make us feel like God won’t love us, so we don’t try to live our lives close to God. God sent his only Son to save us because He loves us. He did not send his Son so that He can punish Him instead of us. That does not sound like the God of love.
The church teaches that death is the result of sin. It is the final victory of the devil, the result of his destructive activity. If man had not sinned, he would not have died. Man's soul itself would not have been corrupted, losing power over its body and becoming its slave. This is the meaning of the sin of Adam, that man has emerged on the face of the earth, made in God's image and inspired with His Spirit, and has chosen death instead of life, evil instead of righteousness, and so through defilement of his nature, in rebellion against God, brought corruption and death to the world. (cf. Genesis 3, Romans 5:12-21)
"Sin spread to all men because all men sinned" (Romans 5:12); and in sinning man brought death to the children who partake of his mortal nature and life. In a sin-bound world, no person escapes, even those who are personally guiltless and innocent, for all are caught up in the sins of the world. “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalm 51:5)
According to the Orthodox Christian faith, Jesus Christ alone, of all men, as the incarnate Son and Word of God, need not have died. His death alone of all human deaths, was perfectly voluntary. He came in order to die, and by His death to liberate all who were held captive by death's power. So what Christ did for our salvation was to pay the price to death, for all who were held ransom to death. [FONT=Times-Roman]He destroyed death,. and arose on the third day, having made for all flesh a path to the resurrection from the dead, since it was not possible for the Author of Life to be a victim of corruption, He became the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep, the first-born of the dead. Now we can live in Christ, and die in Christ, and share is the resurrection of Christ.[/FONT]