Monday, March 12, 2012

Atonement: Ransom Theory

My last big paper for a theology class:

Christus Victor: Ransom

Nathan Goldbloom

Seattle Pacific University

Theo 6060

February 10, 2012

Throughout the course of history many have attempted to address the mystery of the atonement, how we have become reconciled to God through the person of Jesus Christ. To explain this different models have been proposed such as: Penal Substitution, Satisfaction, and Christus Victor. Variants of these models have tried to strengthen many of the arguments and observations of each. “All the theories of atonement are but probing into mystery, the mystery of a love that did not have to be but was, and is.”[1] We continue to investigate the mystery of how we are at one with God through the saving work of Jesus Christ.

As we probe this mystery, we will be focusing on the Christus Victor model. This model holds two main ideas within, recapitulation and ransom, which the later has caused concerns with theologians as they have examined its implications. Unlike other models, Christus Victor has a long history of different ways to articulate the concepts and ideas within. Even so, modern detractors of the model have set up the ransom theory of the Christus Victor model as a straw man, making it easier to “defeat”. The real ransom theory has many nuances and varied positions. As a result, it is more difficult to pin down the Christus Victor model to provide one simple and formulaic understanding of ransom. The ransom theory concept, within the Christus victor model, has a varied history that must be taken into account to address the varied and nuanced articulations throughout history, if it is to be rightfully understood and critically addressed.

Foundations and limitations of project

Before beginning this project, we must acknowledge the limitations and barriers present. The primary limitation is that of language. Talking about a subject such as atonement is difficult without differences in language, connotation, and context. These must be taken into account before we proceed. All the church fathers examined were writing at a different time, language, and addressing specific groups and heresies. As such we must acknowledge this project will be limited by the interpretations and translations given of the various fathers’ writings. Much of the language used also has a vastly different context now as we discuss theology. Certain words will evoke natural reactions, hesitations, or feelings in us, such as devil or ransom. We must fight against this inclination if we are to fairly consider the possibilities and views of those that have come before us. Our current context will shape different ways we interpret the church fathers.

To accomplish our goal of understanding the ransom theory of atonement and addressing the different developments and arguments for and against, we must lay a foundation for understanding of atonement and ransom. The ransom theory is arguably the oldest of the atonement theories dating back to roughly the second century.[2] In the theory humanity is seen as captive and to gain their freedom a price, or ransom, had to be paid. This simple summary has been articulated by many of the early church fathers in various forms: Athanasius, Irenaeus, Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Augustine. These authors have been chosen to demonstrate some of the earliest articulations and how ransom theory was articulated differently over time. Several of the authors, like Augustine, were chosen to demonstrate that the idea of ransom was present even within those who are attributed to other atonement theories. We will examine each of these church fathers to explore how each approaches the idea and the differences in the view of ransom that result from their study and theology.

Irenaeus (ca.175-202)[3]

Irenaeus takes the Christus Victor idea and stretches it in a way that few others will for ages. He illuminates the idea that Paul articulates in 1 Corinthians 15:22 where he explains that Christ, as a second Adam, connects us with God through his sacrifice. This is the idea of recapitulation. “One of the most intriguing elements of Irenaeus’s atonement theology is his ability to combine the various atonement models by means of his understanding of recapitulation.”[4] Irenaeus is also viewed by some to have more of a juridical view of the atonement. This is resolutely rejected by Gustaf Aulen:

Irenaeus shrinks from the assertion which some of the later Fathers are prepared to make, that the devil has gained, in the last resort, certain actual rights over man; he is restrained by his sense of the importance of maintaining, against the Gnostics, that the Devil is a robber and a usurper. Yet the underlying idea is present; the 'apostasy' of mankind involves guilt, and man deserves to lie under the devil's power. In his reply he [Irenaeus] goes no further than to say that God acts in the way 'that befits God'; even with the devil God deals in an orderly way. To call this a juridical doctrine of the Atonement is nonsense. [5]

Irenaeus hints at the idea of ransom. The idea of the Devil as a robber is continued and will later get flushed out by Gregory of Nyssa. “And since the Apostasy (i.e. the rebellious spirit, Satan) unjustly held sway over us, and though we were by nature the possession of the Almighty God, estranged us against nature, making us his own disciples.”[6] God is right and just in dealing with the unjust nature of the devil having taken dominion over us. For Irenaeus the devil is still a robber and tyrant, taking that which does not belong to him.[7]

Irenaeus keeps away from elaborate analogies that other fathers will use in the future. Instead, he stresses that in paying this ransom God acts fairly. “Therefore the Word of God, mighty in all things and not lacking in his own justice, acted justly even in the encounter with the Apostasy itself, ransoming from it that which was his own, not by force in the way in which it was secured the sway over us at the beginning, snatching insatiably what was not its own; but by persuasion.”[8] There is no deceit, trickery, or force from God in dealing with the devil. Instead, God wins a victory by acting in an orderly way so that God’s creation might not perish. This may be a result of Irenaeus’s “stress and interpretation of salvation as life.” [9] Seeing life through salvation leads to a focus on the resurrection and the ascension rather than centering on the cross. This is also where his understanding of recapitulation comes into play.

Origen (185-254 AD)[10]

In establishing a deeper understanding of the ransom theory of atonement we must consider one of the key proponents, Origen. He developed ransom theory by taking references in scripture to Christ being a ransom very literally: For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many,”[11]and “For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all —this was attested at the right time.”[12] These translations of ransom led Origen to ask the question of who was this ransom paid to. “But to whom did He give His soul as a ransom for the many? Surely not to God. Could it, then, be to the Evil One?”[13] For Origen, it was clear that God would not ransom God’s soul to himself. There must have been another, which Origen traces back to Genesis and the fall of Adam and Eve. “The serpent, being inspired by the devil, was the cause of Adam and Eve’s transgression.”[14] The payment as a result would need to go to the Devil, in order to liberate humanity.

The fall lays the ground work for this idea that through sin humanity had come under the power of the devil. Origen considers that because of the consequence of sin, we become the lawful property of the devil. He had us in his power until the ransom could be paid. “It is clearly shown that a certain spirit, from his own (free) will and choice, elected to deceive (Achab), and to work a lie, in order that the Lord might mislead the king to his death, for he deserved to suffer.”[15] It is here that Origen establishes that the Devil does not have rights to be respected, as trickery would be deserved. It is important to note that the responsibility is laid on the devil for falling for this trickery as a result of his pride and arrogance.

The Son comes in human flesh and the devil is enticed to take this soul. Satan takes the soul of Jesus as he believes he could master this soul, and thus master God. “He (the Evil One) had been deceived, and led to suppose that he was capable of mastering that soul.”[16] Satan fails to keep Christ because it was beyond his capabilities. Thus Satan was tricked to accept this ransom in Christ, by his desires for the power of God. To Origen, Christ is given as a ransom not to God, but to the Devil, in order to free humanity from being slaves to death and the devil. In the end God frees the people and Christ escapes Satan’s grasp.

The focus for Origen is on the victory won by God over the power of the Devil and death. To make this possible it is the resurrection that becomes crucial for Origen. "To Origen it was Christ's resurrection on the third day that turned Christ's death into victory over death and him who has the power of death, the devil".[17] While many key on Origen’s idea of trickery used by God to overcome the devil, the main point for Origen was that of the victory being won through the death and resurrection of Jesus. The apparent trickery on God’s part does lead to some issues and questions of the nature of God for later theologians.


Athanasius at first glance seems distanced from ransom theory. As we dive in, we will see that the theme is present and he appears to agree with several other of our church fathers. To begin, he recognizes the fall by where sin, death and corruption come into play for us. “’Ye shall surely die’ – not just die only, but remain in the state of death and of corruption.”[18] From this point we find an apparent hesitation from Athanasius to use the term Devil. Gustaf Aulen argues that the idea of Devil is present within Athanasius, but that we must recognize death and Devil as similar, if not substitutable words.[19] It is clear that throughout Athanasius there is a personification of death as he explores the powers it has, and how God does battle with it for our sake. Christ’s victory comes at the expense of death. The reason for this is “the desire to assert the guilt of mankind, and the judgment of God on human sin.”[20] This must be cautiously taken into account as we examine the idea of ransom within Athanasius.

Athanasius examines how God could have saved us from death. In doing so he explores many different arguments, but ultimately the incarnation, taking on humanity, was the only way that the Word could redeem humanity. “It was by surrendering to death the body which he had taken, as an offering and sacrifice free from every stain, that He forthwith abolish death for His human brethren by offering of the equivalent.”[21] The battle with death is won through giving up the body to death. If Aulen is correct here, this is an offering that meets the needs, or requirement, to abolish death. The idea of ransom is further supported in Athanasius as he explores death and the devil.

Death to Athanasius is likened to that of a robber or enemy. This idea will later become a favorite in describing the devil, but for Athanasius it is clear that there is a battle between God and the enemy described as death. “He [God] has come into our country and dwelt in one body amidst the many, and in consequence the designs of the enemy against mankind have been foiled.”[22] God as king then fights the evil (death and devil), which is done through the incarnation and dwelling among humanity.

Accepting that Athanasius is talking about the Devil when discussing death, in this instance, we see that this sacrifice offered by Christ is described as fulfilling what was “required”, and later we see he discusses that a due is owed. “There was a debt owing which needs be paid, as I said before all men were due to die.”[23] Athanasius continues and explains that “Death there had to be, and death for all, so that the due of all might be paid.”[24] While this sounds like the satisfaction theory, Athanasius tells us the purpose of this debt paid shortly thereafter as he quotes Hebrews 2:14: “Might bring to nought Him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might deliver them who all their lifetime were enslaved to him.”[25] The payment of the debt is done with the purpose of destroying death, and the hold that Satan has on humanity because of the fall. If then a debt is to be paid, it must be to emancipate those who are in captivity. The incarnation then is not limited to life, but impacts those who were previously under the dominion of the devil.

As a result we can ascertain that Athanasius did in fact support a form ransom theory, though not as explicitly stated as other church fathers. His view of ransom appears to be one that Christ was the sacrifice on behalf of all so that we might become free from the bonds of death and the devil. This would eliminate the power that the devil has and “make a way for us up to heaven.”[26] Athanasius’ writing is not clear how this is done; by trick, or why the Devil would accept this as payment, or if this was just the natural actions of all involved.

Gregory of Nyssa (330-ca. 395)[27]

One of Athanasius’ contemporaries, Gregory of Nyssa, builds off Origen’s understanding of ransom by examining what it would tangibly look like. He too affirmed that it was through the fall that humanity had voluntarily given themselves into the Devil’s dominion through sin. For Gregory the redemption of humanity and liberation could not be taken by violence or it becomes invalidated. This necessitates the payment of the ransom to the Devil in order to liberate man.

As Gregory examined the ransom theory, he sought to address the question of if God is justified in deceit of the Devil. Gregory employs a classic analogy of the Devil as a fish. Christ’s human flesh is then the bait by which to lure the fish. Once swallowed, the fish is caught and Christ’s divinity, the hook, is revealed. Rufinus of Aquileia reproduces Gregory’s argument in his work:

The purpose of the incarnation… was that the divine virtue of the Son of God might be as it were a hook hidden beneath the form of human flesh…to lure on the prince of this age to a contest; that the Son might offer him his flesh as a bait and that then the divinity which lay beneath might catch him and hold him fast with its hook. …Then, as a fish when it seizes a baited hook not only fails to drag off the bait but is itself dragged out of the water to serve as food for others; so he that had the power of death seized the body of Jesus in death, unaware of the hook of divinity concealed therein. Having swallowed it, he caught straight away; the bars of hell were burst, and he was, as it were, drawn up from the pit, to become food for others.[28]

This analogy allows for the action to be the Devil’s. God does not force the devil to take the bait. It is rather the pride, arrogance and thirst for power that leads the Devil to fall into the trap. Gregory also believes that the Devil is reaping what he sows in this instance. He has deceived others and brought sin and corruption into the world. As a result, God is bringing justice through the ransom paid that lures the Devil in. God’s deceit is for good and justice in the world and violates no rights as the evil one has no rights. This is what ultimately helps answer Gregory’s question of if it is just for God to deceive the Devil.

By the reasonable rule of justice, he who practised deception receives in return that very treatment, the seeds of which he had himself sown of his own free will. He who first deceived man by the bait of sensual pleasure is himself deceived by the presentment of the human form. But as regards the aim and purpose of what took place, a change in the direction of the nobler is involved; for whereas he, the enemy, effected his deception for the ruin of our nature, He Who is at once the just, and good, and wise one, used His device, in which there was deception, for the salvation of him who had perished, and thus not only conferred benefit on the lost one, but on him, too, who had wrought our ruin. For from this approximation of death to life, of darkness to light, of corruption to incorruption, there is effected an obliteration of what is worse, and a passing away of it into nothing, while benefit is conferred on him who is freed from those evil.[29]

For Gregory of Nyssa, the devil is tricked by the flesh and body of Christ. The devil cannot withstand Christ, once taking him, because of the light and life within. As a result the devil is not able to hold onto Christ. As the power is broken, the others taken are then freed from the devil’s grasp.

One interesting note on Gregory of Nyssa’s view on evil is that he does not believe it is permanent. For Gregory even demons and the devil will be redeemed and saved. “The references to the devil, the opponent, the enemy and the demons seem to lose some of their significance from the fact that he expresses his belief that even they will be saved.[30] This takes the sting off of the battle as redemption is always the end for Gregory.

Gregory of Nazianzus (329-389 AD)[31]

As Gregory of Nazianzus around the same time, he engages the theory of ransom he has some affirmations and several critical questions. As he starts out he affirms that we were held in captivity by the devil. The fall leads to our necessitation of liberation by the work of God. While he affirms our captivity, he struggled with the question of God owing the Devil a payment. The other option to answer the question of God paying God a ransom was equally disturbing to Gregory. This led him to pursue ways to address these perplexing ideas in regard to the idea of ransom. “Was it paid to the evil one? Monstrous though! The devil receives a ransom not only from God but of God. …To the Father? But we are not in bondage to him…. And could the Father delight in the death of his Son?”[32] This question would lead Gregory to a different take on that of ransom.

As a result Gregory of Nazianzus denies the devil’s rights to any such payment from God. Here he returns to the analogy of the Devil as a robber. A robber legally is not owed anything to get the return of what was stolen. The robber does not get a payment, or have any rights under the law. “But if the ransom belongs exclusively to him who holds the prisoner, I ask to whom it was paid, and why. If to the Devil, how shameful that that robber should receive not only a ransom from God, but a ransom consisting of God Himself, and that so extravagant a price should be paid to his tyranny before he could justly spare us!"[33] If the Devil has no rights then this leads to the possibility of the ransom being paid to God. The idea of God delighting, or needing a ransom of his own Son was detestable to Gregory. How then do we affirm captivity and the need for ransom for liberation?

Gregory brings great questions to the discussion of ransom. As we mentioned at the onset, ransom could linguistically become a sticking point for us in this discourse. It certainly does for Gregory as he wrestles with the implications of payment when considering a ransom. Gregory addressed this idea by thinking of Christ’s work on the cross more as a sacrifice.[34] “The truth rather is that the Father accepted it, not because He demanded or needed it, but because in the economy of redemption it was fitting that sanctification should be restored to human nature through the humanity which God had assumed.”[35] The sacrifice then restores humanity and the Devil is vanquished. This is how Gregory solved his dilemma of a ransom and whom it would be paid to.

Augustine (354-430A.D.)

Our final church father, Augustine of Hippo, is primarily used as a proponent and example of how the church fathers recognized the satisfaction that God received and then bestows His pardon. While true, Augustine has a secondary motif in the articulation of the ransom theory. For our purposes we will be focusing there as we explore the adjustments he brings to the table.

               Augustine affirms many of the previous ideas about the ransom that we have examined. He affirms the claim that the devil has over man as a result of the fall. “For we fell into the hands of the prince of this world, who seduced Adam, and made him his servant, and began to possess us as his slaves.”[36] The Devil though has no rights and thus no ransom was due to Satan. God instead frees humanity through Christ’s sacrifice as Gregory of Nazianzus articulates it. The idea of Christ as bait is continued here from Gregory of Nyssa. “For our ransom he held out his Cross as a trap; he placed in It as a bait His Blood.”[37]  Augustine however uses the idea of a mousetrap with the cheese that draws in the mouse before the trap is sprung.[38] Instead of paying the devil then, the bait idea brings about a battle implications with the devil. The caution from this again rests on the idea of deceit.  Augustine addresses this caution as he brings a few new concepts to the table for the ransom theory.

Augustine then addresses the battle images within the view by discussing how exactly God took back humanity. He adheres to a theological understanding of God as a just God by stressing how God does not take humanity back by force. Instead the reason for the defeat of the devil is that he has abused his position by taking Christ. The Devil has overstepped his bounds by taking innocent blood in Jesus, which he has no right to take. He is then forced to give up his power, and all those under it, as penalty for overreaching.[39]

Is there just one view of ransom within the church fathers?

These varied views on the ransom theory of atonement set up not just one uniformed view, but a nuanced articulation of ransom within Christus Victor model. We have demonstrated that the church fathers surveyed here agree on a few points, but greatly differ in their explanations. The fall tends to be seen as the beginning point for the necessity of a ransom, though there is some disagreement on if this is man’s doing or the devil’s. Another commonality among several of the fathers is that of the Devil not having rights to man. This was most likely adopted to address criticism that continues today, “Aversion to the idea that God would either acknowledge certain rights of the devil, or stoop to overcoming the devil through trickery.”[40] As we have seen in several of our church fathers, specifically Gregory of Nazianzus, there are many who avoid the connotation of tricking, but most deny the need to respect the rights of the Devil.

Questions have been raised as to who the payment is going to, where faith comes into play, how do we understand sanctification as a result, and the nature of evil.[41] Unfortunately, many others fail to engage, understand, and instead set up overgeneralizations to topple like a straw man. This is evident as the internet is littered with simplistic and wrong summaries of the ransom theory as we have seen it. We see this in Wikipedia, “The theory teaches that the death of Christ was a ransom, usually said to have been paid to Satan, in satisfaction of his just claim on the souls of humanity as a result of sin.”[42] We have demonstrated that that the church fathers did not feel Satan had rights to humanity as he was described consistently as a robber. Other articles focus simply on Origen, ignoring the other church fathers, and claim that God deceitfully tricked Satan when it was clear that Origen claimed it was the devil’s arrogance and pride.[43] These different generalizations stem from taking the weakest argument present within the ideas we have examined and address them. Some critics focus on Satan making demands on God. Yet, in our research we do not see any of the church fathers claiming that Satan has such rights to make demands.

Others dismiss ransom theory based on arguments like aversions to God interacting or “dealing” with the devil.[44] The fathers, when identifying the need for ransom, tend to reject the idea of a ransom paid to God. The assumption then is that the ransom goes to the evil powers, death, or devil. This can obviously become a sticking point for those who reject the idea of the devil having rights (which was already denied by the majority of the church fathers). Some reject the idea of God dealing at all with the devil. This seems short sighted as scripture gives us testimony of God “dealing” directly with the devil, or Satan, in Job and in the desert (Matt 4:1-11). As a result, this might be an uncomfortable thought, but is biblical in understanding that Satan and God have interacted.

Another issue that comes up is that of violence within this, and other, models. “Discomfort with the motif’s military and battle imagery.”[45] Denying violence because of discomfort is to place ourselves in place our own feelings in place of scripture. If this is true grounds to dismiss an argument then adherents will need to chop out large sections of text that have violence or violent imagery: Genesis 19:24, Exodus 4-14, Joshua, Judges, 1Samuel 17, 23:1-14,30, Psalm 144:1-2, Matt 10:34, Luke 2:35, 14:31, Ephesians 6, and Revelation. This is just a small and quick sampling of text that deals with battle imagery and wars. With examples of Jesus using battle and war imagery, it is clear that this is not a reason to dismiss this view. Irenaeus, as an example, manages to hold this imagery in tension and deal with “discomfort” by incorporating in recapitulation and the life and teachings of Christ into the view of atonement.

As I have noted with several of the church fathers, some might say that when we are taking nuance and variety, that in reality is a different view of atonement. To accept this argument, we would have to demonstrate that the church fathers were starting a new point of view. Throughout the paper we have demonstrated key aspects of ransom within the writings of each church father. Athanasius appears to not have the ransom theme, yet Aulen demonstrates its presence.[46] Irenaeus, Augustine, and Gregory of Nazianzus all interact and engage with the idea of ransom also. While their articulation is not as explicit as Origen or Gregory of Nyssa, they each have their own unique incorporation of elements of the ransom idea. This would be like saying that the “Narrative Christus Victor” model is a complete rejection of “Christus Victor.”[47] As a result, it would be a mistake to assume rejection of ransom when the language slightly differs.

We have demonstrated throughout the argument that while there are points that the church fathers agree on, there are many points and items that they vary on. It is clear that if we set up a uniformed view of ransom we do a disservice to debate as we set up a straw man, easy to debate and dismiss. The ransom theory, while having its issues and questions, is a valuable theory and deserves to be addressed on a respectful and critical level. It has varied support and has been articulated in many different ways. As a result it cannot be limited and constrained to overgeneralizations and simplistic arguments.


1. Armstrong, David. Last modified November 24, 2006. “The ‘Ransom Theory’ of Atonement in the Fathers: Development in the Doctrine of the Work of Christ.” Accessed February 10, 2012.

2. Athanasius, St. On the Incarnation: The treatise De incarnation Verbi Dei. Translated by A Religious of C. S. M. V. Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1953.

3. Augustine. Sermon CXXX.

4. Aulen, Gustaf. Christus Victor: A Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the idea of Atonement. Translated by A.G. Herbert. United States of America: The Macmillian Company, 1969.

5. Bettenson, Henry, and Chris Maunder. Documents of the Christian Church. Oxford: Oxford Press: 1999.

6. Boersma, Hans. Violence, Hospitality, and the Cross: Reappropriating the Atonement Tradition. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004.

7. Culpepper, Robert H. Interpreting the Atonement. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1966.

8. Dunstone, A.S. Atonement in Gregory of Nyssa: The Tyndale Lecture in Historical Theology. The Tyndale Press, 1964.

9. Green, Joel and Mark D. Baker. Recovering the Scandal of the Cross. Downers Grove: IVP, 2000.

10. Gregory of Nazianzus. Oration 45.

11. Gregory of Nyssa. “Great Catechism.” Ed. Philip Schaff. Grand Rapids: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 1892.

12. Kelly, J. N. D. Early Christian Doctrines. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1978.

13. Origen. “On the Opposing Powers.” In De Principiis: Book III. ed. Philip Schaff. Volume 4 of Ante-Niceene Fathers. Grand Rapids: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 1885.

14. Robinson, B. A. Last modified October 16, 2007. “The Christian Concept of Atonement: The Ransom Theory.” Accessed February 10, 2012.

15. Shelton, Ray. Last modified November 8, 2011. The Problem of the Atonement: The Ransom Theory of the Atonement. Accessed February 10, 2012.

16. Weaver, Denny J. The Nonviolent Atonement. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001.

17. Wikipedia. Last modified January 16, 2012. Ransom Theory of Atonement. Accessed March 5, 2012.

[1] Hans Boersma, Violence, Hospitality, and the Cross: Reappropriating the Atonement Tradition. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), 13.

[2] Joel Green and Mark D. Baker, Recovering the Scandal of the Cross (Downers Grove: IVP, 2000), 119.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Hans Boersma, Violence, Hospitality, and the Cross: Reappropriating the Atonement Tradition. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), 113.

[5] Gustaf Aulen, Christus Victor: A Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the idea of Atonement, trans. by A.G. Herbert (United States of America: The Macmillian Company, 1969), 28.

[6] Henry Bettenson and Chris Maunder, “Adversus Haereses v. i. 1”, Documents of the Christian Church. (Oxford: Oxford Press: 1999), 33.

[7] Gustaf Aulen, Christus Victor: A Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the idea of Atonement, trans. by A.G. Herbert (United States of America: The Macmillian Company, 1969), 26-28.

[8] Henry Bettenson and Chris Maunder, Documents of the Christian Church. (Oxford: Oxford Press: 1999), 33-34.

[9] Gustaf Aulen, Christus Victor: A Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the idea of Atonement, trans. by A.G. Herbert (United States of America: The Macmillian Company, 1969), 29.

[10] Joel Green and Mark D. Baker, Recovering the Scandal of the Cross. (Downers Grove: IVP, 2000), 122.

[11] The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (Mk 10:45).

[12] The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (1 Ti 2:5–6).

[13] Gustaf Aulen, Christus Victor: A Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the idea of Atonement, trans. by A.G. Herbert (United States of America: The Macmillian Company, 1969), 49.

[14] Origen. “On the Opposing Powers.” 733.

[15] Ibid., 734.

[16] Gustaf Aulen, Christus Victor: A Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the idea of Atonement, trans. by A.G. Herbert (United States of America: The Macmillian Company, 1969), 49.

[17] Robert H. Culpepper, Interpreting the Atonement. (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1966), 76.

[18] St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation: The treatise De incarnation Verbi Dei, trans. A Religious of C. S. M. V. (Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1953), 29.

[19] Gustaf Aulen, Christus Victor: A Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the idea of Atonement, trans. by A.G. Herbert (United States of America: The Macmillian Company, 1969), 48.

[20] Ibid.

[21] St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation: The treatise De incarnation Verbi Dei, trans. A Religious of C. S. M. V. (Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1953), 35.

[22] Ibid., 35.

[23] Ibid., 49.

[24] Ibid., 49.

[25] Ibid., 49.

[26] St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation: The treatise De incarnation Verbi Dei, trans. A Religious of C. S. M. V. (Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1953), 55.

[27] Joel Green and Mark D. Baker, Recovering the Scandal of the Cross. (Downers Grove: IVP, 2000),122.

[28] Henry Bettenson and Chris Maunder, “Comm. In Symb. Apost. 14 ff.” Documents of the Christian Church. (Oxford: Oxford Press: 1999), 38.

[29] Gregory of Nyssa, “Great Catechism.” 930-931.

[30] A.S. Dunstone, Atonement in Gregory of Nyssa: The Tyndale Lecture in Historical Theology. (The Tyndale Press, 1964).

[31] Ibid.

[32] Henry Bettenson and Chris Maunder, “Orat. Xlv. 22”, Documents of the Christian Church. (Oxford: Oxford Press: 1999), 38.

[33] Gregory of Nazianzus. Oration 45, 22.

[34] Gustaf Aulen, Christus Victor: A Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the idea of Atonement, trans. by A.G. Herbert (United States of America: The Macmillian Company, 1969), 50.

[35] J. N. D Kelly,. Early Christian Doctrines. (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1978), 383-384.

[36] Augustine Sermon CXXX, 2.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Gustaf Aulen, Christus Victor: A Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the idea of Atonement, trans. by A.G. Herbert (United States of America: The Macmillian Company, 1969), 53.

[39] Ibid., 51.

[40] Denny J Weaver, The Nonviolent Atonement ( Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001), 15.

[41] Joel Green and Mark D. Baker, Recovering the Scandal of the Cross (Downers Grove: IVP, 2000).

[42] Wikipedia, “Ransom Theory of Atonement,” last modified January 16, 2012,

[43] B.A. Robinson, “The Christian Concept of Atonement: The Ransom Theory,” last modified October 16, 2007,

[44] Denny J Weaver, The Nonviolent Atonement ( Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001), 15.

[45] Ibid.

[46] Gustaf Aulen, Christus Victor: A Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the idea of Atonement, trans. by A.G. Herbert (United States of America: The Macmillian Company, 1969), 48.

[47] Denny J Weaver, The Nonviolent Atonement ( Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001)