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Analyzing the Atonement: Christus Victor

After the lazy day talking about the "Moral Influence Theory" we get to have fun with Christus Victor. This view is an interesting hybrid of the theories we have already discussed. There is very little new to the theory so I strongly recommend reading all the previous theories.

Strictly speaking, this theory was only spoken of in the 1930s by Gustaf Aulén. But Aulén's writing is convincing that this was the original theory of the early church fathers. Instead of harshly separating the moral influence, recapitulation and ransom theories into different views, we find that they are better accommodated together to serve one purpose.

The New Ransom Theory

When everything boils down in the Christus Victor view, it is a greatly refined and more Biblical ransom theory. Now instead of Christ being directly placed against Satan in the battle for our souls, Christ is seen as conquering many enemies.

Creation was subject to sin, death and the devil. The cross accomplished the defeat of all these simultaneously (Heb 2:14-15).  Christ liberated mankind from the destruction of the fall. This liberation occurred by being man—conquering and transforming man. This focus on the full path of Christ's victory is a great inclusion of the recapitulation theory. 

Against Anselm

The major importance of the Christus Victor view is that it came long after Catholics and Protestants had begun to think of the atonement is a substitution manner. We'll be looking at Saint Anselm and his church altering doctrine next time.

It is important to understand that this view is actively against the common Protestant view. They don't need to stand against each other but the Christus Victor view is a part of a growing movement back to "historical orthodoxy". 

Short post today. Nothing seriously new that doesn't already stem from the previous opinions on the atonement.

Editor's Note: This blog post was written in 2013 and would receive significant revision in both personal understanding and representation. Any e-mails should be directed to TorreyGazette@gmail.com.

BBC: Psalm 5:1-7

Bethinking Conference: The Apologetic Task (William Lane Craig)