isn't christus victor model of atonement better than substitutionary?

in CChurch teaching, the idea of substitutionary view of atonement is not doctrine, but generally is what is beleived. i have heard that even Benedict XVI when a cardinal either didn’t embrace it, or at least tried to downplay it.

some info…
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 ***** 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.

BXI, before he was Pope

It is certainly the Byzantine Eastern Catholic view of the Atonement. Here is part of Doctor of the Church, St John Chrysostom’s Paschal (Easter) Homily that is read each year in Byzantine Rite Churches on Pascha/Easter:

Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness. let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: Hell, said he, was embittered, when it encountered Thee in the lower regions. It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.

O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.


Am I allowed to see both models as true and uncontradictory, just with different direction and focus?

The Orthodox Church’s approach to this question resonates very deeply with me. I find the legal and juridical language of some discussions of atonement to be lacking.

i much prefer it.

Both models are found in Catholic tradition and are acceptable. The Eastern Catholics tend towards the Christus Victor model and the Western Catholics tend toward the substitutionary model. :slight_smile:


that is often a great way to approach things in life, like politics or certain religious ideas. but in this case, at least depending on how you define the theories… they are suppose to be considered opposites. 'no need for a substitutinoary role, cause XYZ from christus victor" etc. while i’m usually one to mesh ideas like that, in this case i choose to be very clear in rejecting the substitutinoary stuff through CV reasonings.

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