GUSTAV AULÉN AND CHRISTUS VICTOR. In recent years, the theory of atonement known as Christus Victor (“Christ the victor”) has been both championed. The term Christus Victor comes from the title of Gustaf Aulén’s groundbreaking book 1st published in ’31 which drew attention to early Church understanding of. Gustaf Aulen’s classic work, ‘Christus Victor’, has long been a standard text on the atonement. Aulen applies “history of ideas’ methodology to historical theology.
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The theory teaches that the death of Christ was a ransom, usually said to have been paid to Satan christuz, in satisfaction of his just claim on the souls of humanity as a result of sin.
This particular doctrine of the atonement attempts to explain why the death of Jesus was necessary to compensate and reverse the fall of Adam plus the sins of his offspring. Jesus is understood as the “last Adam” 1 Corinthians The ransom view of the atonement derives from the exegesis of several biblical passages Mark However, the theory was heavily criticized in the Middle Ages when theologians argued that it would be absurd for God to pay the Devil a ransom.
The word “Redeeming” literally means “buying back.
In a theological context, the ransom theory of the atonement developed from both the prevalent cultural practice of ransoming war captives as well as biblical exegesis of Mark Other biblical passages seemed to reinforce this perspective:.
Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so christtus the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.
For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous Romans 5: The ransom theory was the main viftor of atonement through the first thousand years of Christian history, though it was never made a required belief. Essentially, this theory claimed that Adam and Eve sold humanity over to the Devil at the time of the Fall ; hence, justice required that God pay the Devil a ransom to free us from the Devil’s clutches.
God, however, tricked the Devil into accepting Christ’s death as a ransom, for the Devil did not realize that Christ could not be held in the bonds of death. Once the Devil christs Christ’s death as a ransom, this theory concluded, justice was satisfied and God was able to free us from Satan’s grip.
Christus Victor by Gustaf Aulén
The Orthodox Church still holds to the Christus Victor victot, based upon their understanding of the Atonement put forward by Irenaeus, called “recapitulation” Jesus became what we are so that we could become what he is. He argues that a proper understanding of their view is not concerned with the payment of ransom to the devil, but with the motif of the liberation of humanity from the bondage of sin, death, and the devil.
Satisfaction Theory, Aulen claims, contains a divine discontinuity and a legal continuity while the central emphasis of Christus Victor is of a divine continuity and a legal discontinuity. Since Satisfaction Theory arose from the penance based system of Anselm of Canterbury, its focus alen on Law. God is unable to justly forgive without satisfying the Law’s demands and since only a man can fulfill man’s obligations to the Law, Christ must become a man in order to keep the Law perfectly and then suffer the punishment intended for us at the hands of his Father.
This view, Aulen claims, inserts an opposition into the Divine relationship that does not exist in Christus Victor, and maintains a legal emphasis that is reversed in Early victir thought. Instead by suffering a death that, before the Law, meant an accursed status, Christ, instead of satisfying an obligation, overthrew the power of the Law, since its condemnation of a perfect man was unjust. His subsequent Resurrection, a mark of the Father’s favor despite the Law’s curse, deprived the Law of its ability to condemn.
God the Father and God the Son are thus not set at odds by Calvary, but are united in seeking the downfall of the devil’s system of sin, death, and Law that enslaves humanity. This view, Aulen maintains, keeps from the errors of penance systems emphasizing Law and man, and reveals the unity within the Trinity’s redemptive plan and the freedom of the forgiveness shown by God through Christ.
Sin, death, and the devil. While largely held only by Eastern Orthodox Christians for much of the last one thousand years, the Christus Victor theory xhristus becoming increasingly popular with both paleo-orthodox evangelicals because of its connection to the early Church fathers, and with liberal Christians and peace churches vuctor as the Anabaptist Mennonites because of its subversive nature, seeing the death victtor Jesus as an exposure of the cruelty and evil present in the worldly powers that rejected and killed him, and the resurrection as a triumph over these powers.
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As Marcus Borg writes, “for [the Christus Victor] view, the domination system, understood as something much larger than the Roman governor and the temple aristocracy, is responsible for the death of Jesus… The domination system killed Jesus and thereby disclosed its moral bankruptcy and ultimate defeat. The Mennonite theologian J. This trend among Progressive and Liberal Christians towards the Christus Victor view of the Atonement marks a shift from the traditional approach of liberal Christianity to the Atonement known as the Moral Influence view espoused by theologians such as Schleiermacher.
Anselmthe 11th century Archbishop of Canterbury argued against the ransom view, saying that Satan, being himself a rebel and outlaw, could never have a just claim against humans.
Christus Victor – New World Encyclopedia
Anselm himself went on to explicate the satisfaction view of atonement. New World Encyclopedia writers and editors rewrote and completed the Wikipedia article in accordance with New World Encyclopedia aulem. This article abides by terms of the Creative Commons CC-by-sa 3. Credit is due under the terms of this license that can reference both the New World Encyclopedia christjs and the selfless volunteer contributors of the Wikimedia Foundation.
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The history of earlier contributions by wikipedians is accessible to researchers here: History of “Christus Victor” Note: Philosophy and religion Religion Christianity Theology Credited.