Thursday, June 2, 2011

Christus Victor and Penal Substitution Atonement

Christus Victor, or Christ is victorious is a misleading title, a better title would be the original title: Ransom Theory.  Basically, this atonement belief is that Satan owned sinful humanity but God bought us from Satan through Christ's death.  I find that Satan was our former master but nowhere can I find that God had to buy us from Satan.  In fact the thought that God has to pay Satan seems very contradicting to Scripture.  Although through sin we have separated ourselves from God, He has not lost ownership over us.  Even if He had lost ownership to Satan, no sacrifice would be needed to pay Satan for man God is omnipotent and could have easily told Satan to go away without contradicting His nature.

Now let’s see how Penal Substitutionary Atonement stacks up to God’s nature.

Penal Substitutionary Atonement means that God is a punisher of sinners and does so because He is perfect and just.  If God was not a punisher of the wicked He would be an unjust God.  To our advantage He in His grace, mercy, and love accepts substitutions, when Abraham was to offer up Isaac God in His love gave Abraham a substitution.  In this same fashion, God offered up His Son Jesus Christ to bear the sins and took the wrath stored for us upon Himself.  Now this all really lines up with Scripture and what we know about God’s nature.

Christus Victor states that Christ died in order to purchase us from Satan to me the implications of this belief are dangerous if not complete heresy in itself.  I cannot even partially accept, when I had a misconception of what this belief stated I thought it was decent.  However upon actually studying the doctrine I must reject it.

Origen stated, "But to whom did He give His soul as a ransom for many? Surely not to God. Could it, then, be to the Evil One? For he had us in his power, until the ransom for us should be given to him, even the life (or soul) of Jesus, since he (the Evil One) had been deceived, and led to suppose that he was capable of mastering that soul, and he did not see that to hold Him involved a trial of strength (thasanon) greater than he was equal to."

Origen is actually stating that God tricked Satan.

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