I like Howard Snyder's description of atonement in his new book "Salvation Means Creation Healed"
"Atonement is not primarily about punishment, not most basically about penalty. It is fundamentally about overcoming the results of sin, the hurt of violation--which necessarily involves suffering the consequences. It is the death of predation. This is what Jesus, and Jesus alone, accomplished through the cross and resurrection. Jesus is thus the great healer, and by his Spirit he summons the church to join in both the suffering and the healing"
-- Howard A. Snyder & Joel Scandrett in Salvation Means Creation Healed, 2011, Cascade Books, Eugene, Oregon