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christus victor model of atonement is better than substitutionary

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/17/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 497 times Debate No: 35682
Debate Rounds (3)
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christus victor basically says love conquers death, and God wouldn't let Jesus die. it focuses on his incarnation and life, as that is what allows him to trump death, and we when we are part of Jesus' brotherhood in building the kingdom of God, Jesus's death was a sacrifice that bought us life... only he could defeat death and by extension we are only saved by virtue of him being saved, and desiring us to be saved as well.
here is a general website that contrasts CV and penal views.

christus victor was the predominent view of atonement for the first thousand years of christianity, and still remains so in the eastern church. and more on CV...

we shouldnt assume unless we have reson to think otherwise, that the earliest christians were wrong. if they thought something we should defer to them. penal advocates just have obscure academic reasons for not deferring to them. i have just as much basis there. so, we should defer to them.
it brings back the essence of the "good news". we can rise from the dead?? as jesus rose?? and he preached a kingdom of God based on love of each other etc?? great!

'It should be clarified that from a Jewish perspective the purpose of the sacrifices was never to appease God, which is a Pagan concept, but to cleanse us (cf. Heb 9:13-14) and draw us near to God.'

the origianl idea behind sacrifices was giving up of self for another's benefit, or honor. but not in an appeasing wrath kind of way. yes sacrifices are good, even Jesus' sacrifice... but it's all just not done for the reasons thought of westerners.

"Propitiation is a word that in not in common use today. Proponents of Penal Substitution use it frequently, primarily referring to Romans 3:25"

"(Christ Jesus) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God"

"Propitiation literally means "to make favorable". It is similar to words like appeasement (Lit "to make peace") and Pacify (again to bring peace). However with all of these the context is placed on the idea of turning aside another's wrath usually through a gift or offering. The immediate difficulty with such as idea is that God does not need to be "made favorable" since he is the initiator of reconciliation. God is the one who "first loved us"."

"So how did the word "propitiation" get into Romans 3:25? The original Greek word is hilasterion. Hilasterion is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew kapporeth which refers to the Mercy Seat of the Arc. Luther in his translation of the Bible renders Hilasterion as "Gnadenstuhl" which is German for Mercy Seat. In context this means that "God has set forth Jesus as the mercy seat (the place where atonement and expiation happen) through faith in his blood". Jesus is thus "the place where we find mercy"."
So we see that propiation works just as well under CV.

as to how wrath or sin is dealt with. you get what you put in, and people get what they deserve, to quote kid rock. i know that's not an official source, but it says it well. God's wrath is fulfilled when people die and are not resurrected, or when they are put where they belong. are you a robber who is put with other robbers? you got what you deserve etc. many believe in levels to heaven and hell, the consequences of sin, and wrath.
not to mention that as God said, "you are dust, and to dust you shall return", that we are not guaranteed anything in life. if God just lets us live oru natural lives and then die as anaimals are considered to do, how can we really complain? we are not entitled to anything, far as we can see. and if we are given anything, karma's a bitch when we get what we deserve. etc.

Sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice or technical sacrifice doesn't mean too much to God. But for 'turning the other cheek' and self sacrifice and honor, it means a lot.

"The multitude of your sacrifices- what are they to me?" says the Lord . "I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats" Stop bringing meaningless offerings!... wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow". (Isa 1:11,13,16-17)

"For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; And the knowledge of God, more than burnt offering". (Hosea 6:6)

"You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise". (Psalm 51: 16-17)

Yahweh does not need a bribe to convince him to be just or merciful because he is the very definition of justice and mercy. God does not need an appeasement to forgive. On the contrary Jesus tells us that Yahweh is our model for loving our enemies:
" But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteousA533; Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. " (Math 5:44-45, 48)

"And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross" (Colossians 2:15)

By the cross God triumphed over the System and crucified it, he nailed the law to the cross.
"Having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross" (Colossians 2:14)

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:1).

"Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Eph 6:12)

"I will ransom them from Hell. I will redeem them from Death
O Death I will be thy plague. O Hell I will be thy destruction" (Hosea 13:14)

The true gift to God is to "wash and make yourselves clean" and to seek justice by defending the oppressed and the broken. The Hebrew word translated as "sacrifice" is korban. The root karev means to "draw close." Sacrifices are to help us draw close to God. The New Testament understanding of sacrifice as an act of self-sacrificing love traces back to this Old Testament understanding of the korban. There is certainly here the concept of vicarious atonement, meaning that through the sacrifice we are reconciled to God, but not understood in the legal context of a requirement or an appeasement but as an act of communion.

"Unlike Satisfaction-Doctrine which focuses on the death of Jesus, the pivotal event of Christus Victor is the resurrection. It was through the resurrection that death was overcome and where love emerged as victor. It was in the power and hope of the resurrection that the first-century church set their hope that they too would be raised up.


Hello again. I've noticed that you once again submitted this argument twice, so I took the liberty of accepting both debates. Now, I had to give a little effort, so props to you for once again forcing me to read scripture. Now, onto the debate.

My first movement will be defense for the substitutionary view, and my second will be an attack on the christus model. Now, even as someone who is not religious, I can see the benefits of the sub. viewpoint. Firts of all, it would show God's true devotion and love for his people by giving up his own son, as he had previously asked Abraham to do the same, and while Abraham only offered to do it, God showed that he returns favors and values covenants and agreements. Now, the sub view also means that humans can sin and still be accepted into heaven. Jesus died for our sins, so if humans don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing. This means that no one is morally perfect, not even God, but he shows that no one has to strictly follow his teachings, but they can still receive paradise and eternal life. This seems to be a good choice, but was capitalised by priests who demanded feelings of guilt for it.

Now, Christus Victor seems to portray God as someone who cheats on deals, trickin the devil who punishes sinners into releasing humanity, rather that the previous sub view which does acknowledge both humanity and god's sins, redeeming both. This new viewpoint creates a much more sneaky, deceptive God, not one I or anyone else would swear loyalty, because he may just trick us too.

Awaiting your response, Duncan.
Debate Round No. 1


i'm not trying to argue the substutition view has no merit. all your points about willingness to die, to let a son die, are all greatly respected. it is decently defended biblically and rational.
i'm trying to argue, that early church beliefs should give deference to CV, and that CV seems more in line with the good news as orginally understood, and it should be viewed that way still.

is it really better to say that Jesus' death was the only way to pay the price of a legal requiremet? what was actually accomplshed? and the bible says innocent people should not be held accountable for other's sins, so i doubt others could take the punishment. a pointless death to satisfy a technical requirement just does not seem what a truly loving and forgiving God would do.

i'm not sure what you mean 'no one is morally perfect, not even God'. as most accept that God is morally perfect. this doesn't really seem to be much to teh essence of the debate, but it's good debate form I suppose to bring up points that are too off for good argument.

i dont see how CV says that Jesus died for nothing. only by dying could he defeat sin. only by dying could he give himself as a sacrifice for God and others. only by dying could he turn the other cheek to his attackers.
this point is only to stress the importance/necessity of his sacrice in another way, not that sub view doesn't include the reasoning. as Jesus said, he gave up his life voluntarily, no one made him do it. in fact, he by most standards of christianity would be entitled to self defense, but he choose not to opt into that option, in favor of letting his captures prevail in his life. and favoring not confusing everyone as to whether he was someone who was willing to cheek turn or let things slide or forgive etc. (i do know some question the view that self defense is a christain belief, but i'm making the point, to emphasize the voluntary nature of it)


It does not matter if few consider God morally imperfect. Since we're going on Scripture here, then I could pull up a list of times when God violated his own 7 deadly sins. But in sub view, it's also proof that God does not have double standards. CV view seems to violate Jesus' own love thine enemy view, as God lies to the Devil, and oh yeah, on the topic of the Devil trade, you said that in Sub view, it was a legal requirement? But CV view is also known as the Ransom Theory, as the Devil was holding Humanity hostage due to Adam and Eve's corruption, and God traded Jesus to the Devil, knowing that Jesus would not die, instead returning to Heaven and cheating the Devil. Morally wrong actions towards bad people are still morally wrong actions, or are you still saying we should murder murderers? Regardless, the debate's topic is which is better, but you suggested that it is more about which is more in line with the "good news", which I guess is some teaching about Christ? No, more modern religions only take the bible in a figurative context, but your cv view seems to draw from the old testament too. Not a good source of teachings, considering the amount of times God kills people (plus the homophobic laws)
and so not a good theory for this purpose.

Oh yeah, some rule about multiple debates with the same person stopped me from accepting your other debate, but once this one is finished I will. Awaiting your response,

Debate Round No. 2


even if you could show that God committed sins, what point is there in bringing it up in this debate?
i could go into how it's probably not sins you are seeing, but this point is so off it's not really worth getting into it.

as i said in the comments section, you are focusing too much on some of the theories of CV, like bargaining with the devil or bribing the devil etc. i gave my best view in the comment section on the theory behind CV. CV is the best in love thine own enemy view,cause it is love and forgiveness that conquers death, and Jesus chose to let people kill him than to fight back. sub view has to get into legalities and pointless deaths and appeasing God's wrath before forgiveness can be given... worst on loving thine own enemies.
your response against the good news point doesn't really follow. the old testament has some issues in it, therefore it's not good news, therefore sub view beats out CV? i can concede the OT has some issues in it, but it doesn't have anything to do with which atonement theory is best. i could see some tenuous arguments trying to branch off from what you said, but you need to make yoru own points.


You know what I love? I love the way that you try and belittle and talk down everything . Some issues in the Old Testament? You ignore everything I have said. I point out that sub view would mean God is not a hypocrite and a cheat. Love your enemy, but still kill them? If you love your enemy, then that would make them a friend. If you hurt your friend, that is betrayal. Jesus has surely has enough betrayal by now. The sub theory means that God may ask people to follow his rules, but it also means that he will follow them too, as an equal with his followers. He does not smite and lay waste while telling others thou shalt not kill. And this means that he acknowledges that in the past, he has broken the rules that he set for his people. The second part of the bible is the New Testament to his repentance and atonement. A newer, more forgiving and loving God is born from this.

But just saying love thine enemy? That conquers death? Don't make me laugh. Love has not conquered death. Neither has forgiveness. You cannot deny the demise that spreads worldwide by just sitting in church asking people to forgive. That does not eliminate death, a process as natural and infinite as God himself. What would god do when people forgave? Fire Azrael, his chief Angel of Death? No. God says in CV theory (or only part of it, does that mean the title should be "a specfic bit of christus victor model of atonement is better than substitutionary"?)
love thine enemy, and every day, Christians pray for forgiveness to God. Do you see the same conclusion that I see to this? God sees the people of Earth as enemies, and when his son returns, he will judge the living and the dead. I suppose if he kills everyone, then no one can die anymore. Is that how he intends to conquer death? By outright then and there deciding who is to enter the afterlife. And as Judge, he stands above us. As a clear superior. I, and I am sure others stand with me that a God that has atoned for his crimes has more of an appeal than one who just says, oh I don't need to apologize, you need to forgive your enemy (so forgive me without my apology), and acknowledges that while perfection is a goal all strive for, none may obtain it, a goal as distant as the heavens.

Sub view and CV disagree on the portrayal of God. I know that you do not fully support CV theory, as you will only accept one part of the theory, and reject the majority. If even you ditch half your theory, then you must be admitting the flaws of it. Sub theory atones for its flaws, and for this reason, I find it the better theory to follow.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Duncan 3 years ago
Both theories suck. But the debate is solely about which one sucks less.
Posted by dairygirl4u2c 3 years ago
you could say OT issues show maybe God does need his wrath appeased, technical deaths etc, innocent deaths etc are needed etc. but, i also showed OT scripture and arguments that emphasize less about that stuff. so academic arguments equal, CV is better in terms of a philohpy, and has the church father stamp to go with it.
Posted by dairygirl4u2c 3 years ago
"i could see some tenuous arguments trying to branch off from what you said, but you need to make yoru own points.

since i wont have a chance to respond at the end. perhaps we could conclude that the OT shows there's issues with the religion, sure. so maybe we shouldnt assume good news is really as good as we'd hope? therefore substitutionary view is better? that's almost like conceding the debate. sub view sucks, so that fits better with a sucky religion, is a terrible argument. OT issues only show not everything in the religion is true. doesn't mean the religion itself is untrue. if we want to stick with good news, we should pick which one fits ebst with 'good news' and that is CV.
all else equal in terms of academic argumetns, CV has better good news, and it has the foudnation of the teachings of church fathers on its side as well.
Posted by Duncan 3 years ago
Uh, evidently it doesn't. There is still a lot more evil than good in the world, and the dead are in numbers that we can't fathom. I would not say that love has conquered death or evil.
Posted by dairygirl4u2c 3 years ago
i forgot to add, that CV is not wholly encompassed by the wikipedia artical. it has a lot of ideas about ransom, cheating the devil etc. but the essence of CV is a little more open for interpretatino. i prefer to focus on how Jesus' death shows that love conquers death, his and others... and triumphs over sin and evil.
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