How did the Doctrine of Atonement come into being?
Fearing the anger of the Council, Saul dared not return to Jerusalem; for he had destroyed the letter he was to present to the highest ones in Damascus. Neither did he venture to appear before the companions of Jesus, for he feared they would not believe the truth of his conversion. He resolved therefore to go away and stay some time with distant kin.
And he acted upon his decision.
And there, while abroad, far removed from all clamor and all strife, he searched his heart, and he pondered much on what he had heard and seen.
And he searched for the hidden meaning of the human embodiment of Jesus.
But the Elder, the Servant of the Darkness, was by his side, and slowly arose in Saul's mind the thought that Jesus, the Son of God, was sent to the Earth for the purpose of reconciling God with his mortal children, the wicked and ungodly human beings; for the human being Saul was not only a scribe but also very learned in the law, and he was not fully able to reject all the Jewish teachings of old. And for him the Most High was and continued to be a God of anger whose righteous wrath must be appeased with unceasing sacrifice of blood and sweet incense.
Thus Jesus became in Saul's interpretation of that which had happened, the Sacrifice, the Lamb who by his voluntary death ransomed humanity from judgment, punishment and damnation; yes he became the Lamb whose blood washed away all human sin and impurity.
But Saul understood not that the Elder, the Servant of the Darkness, had introduced this false interpretation into his mind; for Saul was a highly self-righteous man, and the self-righteous are never able fully to discern whether the thoughts they receive are of the Light or of the Darkness; for they often neglect to seek counsel of God in the greatest, though they remember Him in the least.
And thus Saul’s teachings of the embodiment of Jesus of Nazareth became a mixture of the Light and of the Darkness.
When Saul, after remaining some years abroad, returned to Damascus, he began to proclaim his teaching about Jesus there; and he proclaimed it to many—to Jews and to the so-called heathen. Many heard his words and believed his interpretation; yes, many who were formerly disciples of the companions of Jesus, turned away from them and followed Saul.
And when later he reasoned with Simon Peter and other companions and disciples of Jesus, these were still not able to change his perception of Jesus as the Savior and Reconciler of humanity; and Saul continued to preach his doctrine according to the words and thoughts that he believed he had received from God and from Jesus.
Later, when the so-called Communion, or Lord's Supper, was adopted by the congregations Saul had founded, he attempted in his usual manner to explore and to clarify the intent with which Jesus had summoned his companions to the meal on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
And he interpreted the act that when Jesus offered the bread to his companions, by this he manifested to them that as he now satisfied them with his bread that they should not hunger and die, thus would he also give his body for them and by his death fill them with eternal life. And when Jesus gave his companions wine from his cup, he thereby made known that he would shed his blood for them and thus take away their guilt of sin.
And in the mind and thought of Saul were conceived and born these words: My body and my blood I offer to you as a new covenant between the Lord and you.13
And he gave his disciples this interpretation of that which had happened, and they accepted the words, and they used them at their Communions; and they spread far and wide from congregation to congregation.
And people kept the words in their hearts, for they believed that they were spoken by Jesus himself. And when the times came that men put into writing the accounts of the earthly life of Jesus, they ascribed to him these words—the words that had been falsely introduced into Saul's mind and thoughts by the Elder.
Thus did Saul found Christianity with his teaching.
Many congregations were formed among the heathen, many people were won and Christianity was spread far and wide; for Saul never wearied, but traveled far on perilous and arduous journeys. And wherever he went, he proclaimed his teaching of Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God, the Savior and Reconciler for humanity.
But none of the spiritual heirs of Jesus, nor Saul, were able to gather all the people into one congregation that in humble and trusting love as of a child could kneel together before their Heavenly Father; a congregation of deep faith, commending itself to God's guidance; a congregation whose neighborly love would rise above sinfulness, the lust for power, and human selfishness.
And thus became overshadowed by Darkness the commandment which was called by Jesus the greatest: love for God, love for neighbor; for from the very time of the earliest Christian congregations, anger and hatred toward one another, lust for power, and self-righteousness were known.
So became the simple and beautiful teaching of Jesus about love neglected, and thus it failed to thrive.
13) Originally, without later distortion, Paul’s explanation to his disciples after reflection was: “As Jesus gave the apostles of his bread and wine, so he gave his body and his blood to his followers as spiritual food and drink; yes, he gave himself as a sacrifice for sin, a sign of a new covenant between the Lord and us.”