Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Philosophy


Richard Alan Fuhr, Jr.


restitution, Biblical law, Law of Moses, Mosaic law, labor, justice, transgressions, restoration, forgiveness


Practical Theology | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the principle of restitution and how it is an essential part of biblical forgiveness. What makes this principle so important is that God wanted to ensure that there was no barrier to the unity of the body of Christ and unforgiveness related to a transgression can be a huge barrier as it creates resentment and anger. Since the ultimate goal of God is the unity of His creation, God provided a system where true forgiveness could be achieved, both from a legal standpoint, where a debt was repaid, and from a moral standpoint, where the person recognized his or her transgression, sought to remedy the matter, and was forgiven so that forgiveness was granted and the relationship restored. The dissertation examines the concept of restitution, providing an analysis which concludes that this is a principle that is taught from Genesis through the New Testament. This was not a concept that was for the Israelite people or the Jews during Jesus’ time, but was one that God expected believers to follow even today. This work evaluates how the different societies of the ancient Near East included restitution as part of their law codes and how that differed in focus from what God viewed as the purpose for restitution. The work also examines how theologians throughout the Christian age saw the necessity for restitution and how it is included as a solution for correcting a wrong in the doctrine of many of the Christian denominations.