the christus victor model of atonement is better than substitutionary view
christus victor was the predominent view of atonement for the first thousand years of christianity, and still remains so in the eastern church.
that wikipedia article mentions that aspect of a thousand years, and it also details the basics of christus victor. that article is just one view though, and is not the end all be all of the model.
christus victor is about overthrowing the power of the law, not about satisfying an obligation to it, arguably.
"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"."
"If a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law" (Galatians 3:21) But rather the law points us to faith: "Now that faith has come we are no longer under the supervision of the law" (3:25)
"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)
'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.'
"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 atonement is the incarnation, the transforming or being the 1st born of many brethren. The purchase or ransom is His life, lived as a son of man, a sacrafice as I might sacrafice for my wife and children. "
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.
"Jesus would not back down. He stood up for love, for the small, for you and me. even though he knew that it would cost him his life. So the Powers stripped him naked, exposed him and shamed him. They crucified him as a common criminal to show that no one can oppose the System. But when the people saw that the Powers had killed Love, they realized what a travesty of justice this was. The people realized what a sham the oppressive System was. As Love hung on that cross the authorities were exposed, unmasked in their hatred. The illusion was lifted."
"He crucified what would condemn us and keep us captive, he took the monopoly away from the temple, tearing the curtain in two. He took away the power of condemnation to keep us oppressed. He broke the vicious cycle that death had us in. God in effect said to the Powers and Authorities: "Death, this child is mine, you have no rights over her. You will not define who she is anymore. She doesn't belong to you" ."
"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. That it was worth it to believe in love in a world that could be so loveless; to fight for justice and reform in a world that could be so unjust, to believe in yourself in a world that calls you the least. The resurrection was God's definitive yes to life. It said that in the final analysis love conquers all, and nothing, not death or hell or trouble or persecution or sword can separate us from that love. This is Christus Victor. It is about liberation. It is about revolution. It is about God's battle to break through to us with his love."
I will present a counter case for the substitutionary view and support that both views have merit not that one is not better than the other. For the most part you have built your case referencing the bible so I will present a biblical case to counter yours.
I am playing devils advocate and do not support either position. I do think that the biblical case is stronger for Substitutionary view.
The Early Church accepted the Christos Victor model for the first 1000 years.
Assuming for the moment that this is true how does this make the view better? I could just as easily argue that the view was primitive and modern interpretation of the scriptures has improved as in any other field. The fact that a view is archaic or that it was held for a long period of time in no way supports it’s accuracy or merit.
The early church has been wrong before; they assumed that Jesus would return in their lifetime . Slavery was accepted or tolerated by the church until 1839  and was specifically endorsed by Paul in Colossians 3:22. The idea of purgatory was not introduced until around 1160 and remains in the Catholic Catechism.
“Christus Victor is about overthrowing the power of the law, not about satisfying an obligation to it, arguably.”
Then there are several scriptures that directly contradict your view. Matthew 5:17-18 Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them… not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Also see Luke 24:44, Romans 10:4 and many others.
PropitiationTo explain how the idea of propitiation got into the bible (Romans 3:25, John2:2 etc.) you reference this ‘source’: http://www.therebelgod.com...... This is just a link to a blog cover page. I could find no reference to propitiation using a word search but the blog does attack the infallibility of scripture.
Essentially you’re pointing out that you believe there are errors in the bible and this may be one of them. This is ironic since you are using scriptures to support your case, should I throw out your passages as well? Not to mention that an error-ridden bible contradicts with the bulk Christendom including the teaching of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Catechism states, “the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God… ”
Your problem with the view is that you see no need to turn aside God’s wrath, “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’s wrath against sin and sinners is referenced 585 times in the Old Testament alone . In the New Testament see Romans 1:18, Ephesians 2:1-4, 1 Thessalonians 2:16, John 3:36, Revelation 14:9-10, 19:15. John 3:36 states: “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” It is very clear that Gods wrath and anger over sin is a major issue that needs to be dealt with in order to reconcile his relationship with mankind.
The need for atoning sacrifice
You argue that there is no need for sacrifice because God was often displeased with some sacrifices. You’re neglecting the context that God is displeased with sacrifices from sinful men and pleased with others.
In Genesis, God was pleased with Abel’s sacrifices displeased with Cains, “ but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry… If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door… Genesis 4:5-7.” In context this is also true of your reference to Isa 1:11,13,16-17 and Psalm 51: 16-17. I concede that the God of the bible is often displeased with sacrifices but he also makes it clear pleasing sacrifices are necessary.
God was pleased with many animal sacrifices, see Gen 8:20-21, 22:13-17, 46:1-4 and many others. God commands sacrifices, See Exodus 18, 21:24, 29:19, Leviticus 3:9, 4:10, 4:35, 7:29, 9:4-5 etc.
It is clear that God has a lot of wrath against sin and sinners even though he also loves mankind. A sacrifice is required for the forgiveness of sins:
Leviticus 4:35, “and the priest shall burn it on the altar, on top of the Lord’s food offerings. And the priest shall make atonement for him for the sin which he has committed, and he shall be forgiven.” Hebrews 9:22, “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”
There is strong biblical evidence that favors the position that Jesus is a substitute sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin:
-Hebrews 7:27 indicates that Jesus is the final sacrifice needed for sin:
“He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.”
-First Tim 2:5-6 indicates that Jesus was a mediator to reconcile men to God and acted as a ransom to satisfy God and supporting the case that he died intentionally:
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.”
-John 10:11 illustrates that Jesus death was intentional and for his followers:
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
-In Galatians 2:20 Paul takes credit for being crucified by referencing Jesus’ crucifixion:
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God.”
-Romans 4:25 reiterates that Jesus died in order to justify us for our sins:
“He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”
-First Corinthians 15:3 indicates that Jesus died for our sins:
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures”
Second Corinthians 5:14 again indicates that Jesus died as a substitute:
“For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died”
“Yahweh does not need a bribe to convince him to be just or merciful because he is the very definition of justice and mercy.”
I concede that God makes it clear that he loves mankind and is full of mercy. You reference Math 5:44-45, 48, Colossians 2:1415, Romans 8:1, Eph 6:12 and Hosea 13:14. Then you elaborate explaining that Jesus’ act was one of love to reconcile our relationship, that he desires acts of charity toward the oppressed and that he ‘defeated’ death. I won’t dispute these points but I do not see how these support your view over Substitutionary Atonement.
I agree that something like a legal requirement to satisfy God is part of the substitutionary view which I have demonstrated. You acknowledge both God’s Mercy and Justice. It is clear that God has wrath against sin because of his justice but mercifully offered a final sacrifice for sin.
Unlike Satisfaction-Doctrine which focuses on the death of Jesus, the pivotal event of Christus Victor is the resurrection.
I agree that the death of Jesus may be more important to those with a substitutionary view but I do not see how this supports your case.
whether CV overthrows the law or satisfies the law, isnt really the essence of CV. one could argue the law is satisfied by our deaths, even with CV. death doesnt necessarily have to be eternal. but i like to say CV is about overthrowing the power of the law, cause that's usually how forgiveness works, "just letting it slide".
this is basically how id address your wrath point too. and id add that it is a pagan idea that sacrifices are to appease God's wrath. 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 by the people. 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. doing good, sacrificing for the poor etc, is what God wants, even if substitutionary view doesnt preclude these ideas, these ideas emphasize CV. and the emphasis on his resurrection doesn't preclude substitutionary, but it is better emphasized by CV.
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.
im not sure what you mean, that you say i'm just pointing out errors. i dont find error with the word propiation in the bible. all im doing is saying if you define propiation as mercy seat or whatever, it doesnt necessarily have the legalistic connotations usually attached to the word. we would as a culture attach our own ideas onto words, so our interpretaion is bias from the get go.
Look, I can’t argue with you until you make up your mind:
“Christus Victor is about overthrowing the power of the law, not about satisfying an obligation to it, arguably.”
“whether CV overthrows the law or satisfies the law, isnt really the essence of CV.”
This is the core issue and what we are arguing about. You made it clear that there was no need to satisfy God’s wrath and that Jesus came to overthrow the law and Not to fulfill it... That was your argument.
“just because it's the first beliefs doesn't make it best necessarily, but it gives it credibility, and the earliest Christians probably knew more than we do.”
When your view is based on a tradition you assume the founders necessarily knew more than you but this is a brazen assertion with no evidence to back it up. The early years of the church were chaotic and a variety of contradictory views were supported . All modern doctrines were questioned from the divinity of Jesus to ironically the meaning of Jesus’ death.
The early church operated based on word of mouth since there was no accepted scripture or doctrine . There were many books were in circulation that were read by churches as teaching but not ultimately accepted as part of the bible. Paul himself warned of the forged letters in circulation which were not reliable in 2 Thessalonians 3:17.
“but i like to say CV is about overthrowing the power of the law, cause that's usually how forgiveness works, "just letting it slide". this is basically how id address your wrath point too. “
There are 613 commandments in the Old Testament and, as I mentioned, 595 references to wrath against sin. Why was the law/wrath tossed out without being satisfied?
“and id add that it is a pagan idea that sacrifices are to appease God's wrath. 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...”
That Jesus overthrew the power of the law in no way is contrary to the idea of Substitutionary Attonement and I agree this idea is clear in scripture. I demonstrated that sacrifice was needed to atone for sin, which is your objection in the first place. You assert that this is a pagan idea, which is irrelevant. If sacrifices are not about appeasing God’s wrath then how does your view deal with wrath or sin?
“…and the emphasis on his resurrection doesn't preclude substitutionary, but it is better emphasized by CV.”
If your view includes Substitutionary Sacrifice then how is it better? How is it that this is a debate in any sense of the word?
Biblical accuracy is a point you have conceded
You have not been able to counter the biblical case I have set up. You have essentially conceded that Substitutional Attonement is clear in the bible and have now tried to include it as part of your view.
“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,”
Better than what? You have agreed that our positions are compatible. The bible does not acknowledge that anyone is free from sin, see Romans 3 and many other references to original sin.
“im not sure what you mean, that you say i'm just pointing out errors. i dont find error with the word propiation in the bible.”
Sure, I may have focused too much on your source. I would appreciate a better link. My case does not rest on your refutation of Romans 3:25 and I would tend to trust linguists on their interpretation of scripture.
Please fix your shift key. Great debate!
wrath isn't necessarilhy tied to this.
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. those are the consequences of sin, too.
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.
this stuff is also how i deal with God's wrath and sin, which you later questioend me about.
as to the earliest beliefs, 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. you just have obscure academic reasons for not deferring to them. i have just as much basis. so, we should defer to them.
i didn't mean my view includes the substitutionary view, i meant that while the substitutiopnary view doesn't preclude praising the resurrection, it is better emphasized by CV. and suddenlyu whn things that should be praised are praised, emphasize and chriastaintiy itself makes more sense.
again, a bottomline line is that you think a death of an innocent person, which essentially establishes nothing, should be viewed as something that appeases God's wrath, and a technical legal requirement. you must think this is the best way of things, or at least the biblical way of things, when i have shown reasonable alternatives to both notions.
here is the general website that contrasts CV with substitutionary
and here is the part where he focuses on what are thought of as the more stronger points of substitutionary...
Fulfillment of the law is the key issue that separates our positions:
“Fulfilling the law or overthrowing the power of the law not doesn't mean CV is right or wrong. If you want to insist that Jesus didn’t come to destroy the law, then I won't argue the point.”
You don’t seem to understand that this is central to the debate. The view of CV that you presented did not allow a need for the fulfillment of the law and this is the main reason why I accepted the debate. To quote your source, “By contrast, Christus Victor depicts Christ's sacrifice, not as a legal offering to God in order to placate his justice, but as the decisive moment in a war against the powers of darkness .” You clearly argued that a sacrifice was not necessary and stated that CV is about tossing the Law out and not fulfilling it which is consistent with your source.
The key issue is how atonement is achieved. You argued that there is no need to fulfill the law, which I refuted. The Wikipedia page was the only source you referenced to clarify your position and makes it clear that CV has a specific view of atonement that does not include fulfillment of the law. CV is about overthrowing the power of the law and the Devil whereas in Substitutionary Atonement (SA) Christ fulfills the law . See section on Atonement theories that pits the two views as different methods to achieve the goal, SA is referred to as the, “Satisfaction Theory,” (theory number Two).
The section on the Role of the Trinity further clarifies:
“(In SA) Christ must become a man in order to offer perfect penance to God. He does this by satisfying the demands of the Law for a sinless life and by suffering the wrath of the Father for past sins... Aulén goes on to argue that Christus Victor reverses this view by uniting Jesus and His Father during the Crucifixion in a subversive condemnation of the unjust powers of darkness.”
Christus Victor does not offer or require any satisfaction of the law or God’s wrath. Again there are 613 commandments in the old testament and 585 references to God’s wrath against those breaking them with sin. How is it that the law does not need to be satisfied even though Jesus clearly stated that the law must be satisfied in 5:17-18?
Here you concede that there is a need to satisfy wrath or sin, which is consistent with my position, and suggest that karma and death satisfy God’s wrath. The idea that the natural consequences of our behavior bring justice is absurd. There should be no need to bring up any number of atrocities that punish fairly innocent people and reward criminals etc. You may well be familiar with the, “Problem of Evil,” and the apologetics that attempt to resolve the issue . Life clearly does deal out justice.
Again, this is just a brazen assertion with nothing to back it up and you haven’t attempted to refute my arguments that the early church was less reliable or presented any evidence to support your position.
You have essentially hedged back to the position that CV makes more sense to you and allows you to feel better about God. How does your position make more sense when you have completely conceded biblical accuracy to me? How do you feel better about God when the law has not been fulfilled and the bible makes it clear that it must be? If it is just personal preference then you should read another book.
The Book of Mormon allows you to become a God and inherit your own planet which sounds a lot better to me. If your view is better then it must make sense given your book. I would have even been ok with some references to the apocrypha.
"So how did the word "propitiation" get into Romans 3:25?
This is more of a side note; I just want to be sure I addressed this. You have still not built an augment there was a mistranslation and many translations that do not use the word still support my case. I would also trust the linguists who translated the bible without strong evidence. My position in no way depends on this verse or John 2:2 that also references the word in some translations.
You have done nothing to make your case credible. You have essentially conceded biblical accuracy to me doing nothing to refute the scriptures that clearly support my position. You cite the Early Church as an authority with no evidence and have not refuted my arguments that they are not an authority.