Written on March 16th, 2007 by Shawn Anthony
A note of caution to those mad rushing the embrace of the Christus Victor motif of Jesus Christ’s atonement: There is a caveat, as concerns the classical view of atonement, aka Christus Victor, narrative (Weaver) or otherwise (Aulen). This caveat must be taken seriously, lest the motif be misinterpreted or misconstrued. Christus Victor presumes as reality the dualistic and cosmic battle between God’s good and Satan’s evil. Good and evil are realities of this world, visible in humanity, nature and the universe. This reality can be summarized as [S]in. We are inherently plagued by this [S]in. Yes, Jesus Christ’s atonement looses us to enjoy a real-time relationship with God, but what prevention were we bound to in the first place? In short: Sin, Death, and the Devil.¹ Christus Victor - and the New Testament - can not be taken seriously without an authentic acknowledgment of Sin, Death, and Devil, and the accompanying and cataclysmic battle between its evil power and Jesus’ holy good. So, do wrestle with the New Testament concept of Sin, Death and Devil before you start flying the Christus Victor image of atonement as a misguided appropriation of sorts.
¹Or, an ‘Autonomous Force of Defiance’ … For more, see: Eastern Orthodox Christian and Theologian David Bentley Hart’s The Doors of the Sea.
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