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Author Topic: Why Orthodox do not believe in the penal satifaction theory...  (Read 70834 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: April 04, 2007, 12:36:35 PM »

OCA priest wrote:

Quote
OCA priest wrote:

The main flaw of 'substitutionary' atonement -- which is NOT taught by the
authentically orthodox catholic Christian Tradition -- is that it asserts that
our Lord Jesus Christ suffered and died INSTEAD OF US. This theory is also
complicated by ideas of 'satisfaction of divine justice' and false notions of
what it means for us to be 'saved'.

The commission of sin involves injury to God Himself. there is need of virtue great than is found in man to be able to cancel the indictment. For the lowest it is particularly easy to commit an injury against Him who is greatest. Yet it is impossible for him to compensate for this insolence by any honour. He, then, who seeks to cancel the indictment against himself must restore the honour to Him who has been insulted and pay more than he owes, partly by way of restitution, partly by adding compensation. Jesus alone, then, was able to render all the honour that is due to that Father and make satisfaction for that which had been taken away. The former he achieved by His life, the latter by His death. The death which He died upon the cross to the Father's glory He brought to outweigh the injury which we had committed; in addition He most abundantly made amends for the debt of honour which we owed for our sins.

Nicholas Cabasilas from The Life in Christ 4:4

And the Lamb of God not only did this, but was chastised on our behalf, and suffered a penalty He did not owe, but which we owed because of the multitude of our sins; and so He became the cause of the forgiveness of our sins, because He received death for us, and transferred to Himself the scourging, the insults, and the dishonour, which were due to us, and drew down on Himself the apportioned curse, being made a curse for us. And what is that but the price of our souls? And so the oracle says in our person: "By his stripes we were healed," and "The Lord delivered him for our sins," with the result that uniting Himself to us and us to Himself, and appropriating our sufferings, He can say, "I said, Lord, have mercy on me, heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee".

St. Gregory Palamas, Homily 16, 21, 24, 31

Quote
The Antiochian Orthodox priest response is:

There honestly is, however, no single dogmatized model of the
atonement which is put forward in Orthodox teaching.
The Scripture
and the Fathers use many different images and ways of discussing the
mysterious reality of salvation, most of which cannot be reduced to
systems (buying oil for one's lamp, for instance).

Quote
A ROCOR priest wrote:

The idea of the "Atonement" as a Ransom was repudiated in no uncertain terms
by Sainy Gregory Nazianzen (4th century) who said:

He is Sanctification, as being Purity, that the Pure may be contained by Purity. And Redemption, because He sets us free, who were held captive under sin, giving Himself a Ransom for us, the Sacrifice to make expiation for the world. And Resurrection, because He raises up from hence, and brings to life again us, who were slain by sin.


St. Gregory Nazianzen, Discourses 30.20

For even the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many

Mark 10:42-45

He it is that was crucified before the sun and all creation as witnesses, and before those who put Him to death: and by His death has salvation come to all, and all creation been ransomed. He is the Life of all, and He it is that as a sheep yielded His body to death as a substitute, for the salvation of all, even though the Jews believe it not.

St. Athanasios the Great, On the Incarnation 37:7

Thus then the Lord also, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; but when the Father willed that ransoms should be paid for all and to all, grace should be given, then truly the Word, as Aaron his robe, so did He take earthly flesh, having Mary for the Mother of His Body as if virgin earth, that, as a High Priest, having He as others an offering, He might offer Himself to the Father, and cleanse us all from sins in His own blood, and might rise from the dead.

St. Athanasios the Great, Against the Arians 2.7

We believe our Lord Jesus Christ to be the only mediator, and that in giving Himself a ransom for all He hath through His own Blood made a reconciliation between God and man, and that Himself having a care for His own is advocate and propitiation for our sins.

Synod of Jerusalem, Decree 8

Quote
He theorised that the payment *was* made to God the Father. In Anselm's
formulation, our sins were like an offence against the honour of a mighty
ruler.

The commission of sin involves injury to God Himself. there is need of virtue great than is found in man to be able to cancel the indictment. For the lowest it is particularly easy to commit an injury against Him who is greatest. Yet it is impossible for him to compensate for this insolence by any honour. He, then, who seeks to cancel the indictment against himself must restore the honour to Him who has been insulted and pay more than he owes, partly by way of restitution, partly by adding compensation. Jesus alone, then, was able to render all the honour that is due to that Father and make satisfaction for that which had been taken away. The former he achieved by His life, the latter by His death. The death which He died upon the cross to the Father's glory He brought to outweigh the injury which we had committed; in addition He most abundantly made amends for the debt of honour which we owed for our sins.

Nicholas Cabasilas from The Life in Christ 4:4
« Last Edit: April 04, 2007, 12:48:19 PM by welkodox » Logged
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« Reply #46 on: April 04, 2007, 01:27:51 PM »

Andrew,

I think we could go around all day using quotes from the Fathers to repudiate the other's claim. But I think what is key is that there is no single dogmatized model of the atonement which is put forward in Orthodox teaching according to the Antiochian Orthodox priest and even Lubeltri's message mention that the Roman Catholic church did not dogmatize anyone theory. He wrote: the Mystery of Faith cannot be contained in only one concept, and the nature of the Atonement remains open to theological speculation.

So there appears to be agreement on this issue that neither church dogmatized any one theory. I guess the next step to figure out is what theories does each church put forward and how does each church define them.

I may not be able to post much between now and Pascha because I have to prepare for Pascha.
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« Reply #47 on: April 04, 2007, 01:37:08 PM »

Quote
I may not be able to post much between now and Pascha because I have to prepare for Pascha. 

Which we should all be doing!
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« Reply #48 on: April 04, 2007, 01:57:01 PM »

Andrew,

...But I think what is key is that there is no single dogmatized model of the atonement which is put forward in Orthodox teaching according to the Antiochian Orthodox priest and even Lubeltri's message mention that the Roman Catholic church did not dogmatize anyone theory.
...
So there appears to be agreement on this issue that neither church dogmatized any one theory. I guess the next step to figure out is what theories does each church put forward and how does each church define them.


Isn't this what he's been saying all along?
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« Reply #49 on: April 04, 2007, 02:30:03 PM »

Let me start out by saying none of this is addressed to Tamara or anyone else personally.  She is certainly a person of good will who I think I just happen to annoy.

Anyhow,

People want to have it both ways as far as I can tell.  There is an "Orthodox view" of the Atonement, which of course is opposed to and totally different from the western view.  When quotes from the church fathers, statements from Orthodox catechisms, quotes from the Bible or statements of Orthodox Synods highlight the paucity or contradictory nature of the purported "Orthodox view" (i.e. you can't find a theory of satisfactions in, or there is no ransom, or it couldn't be to the father, or nobody's honor is at stake, etc.) then either it's your credibility to speak which is in question (you just don't have the Orthodox mindset yet) or one can just fall back on the "well, there's no actual dogma here" position.

It is above all obvious to me that many things people are saying are not there, or that they oppose as western and therefore erroneous, are there and present in Eastern Fathers and theologians.  It is also equally obvious to me that many Orthodox people instead of engaging the western theological tradition openly, honestly and fairly; prefer to construct a straw man of their own making called "western theology" that they can readily knock down for the purposes I suppose of any or all of the following

- Justifying their own conversion through maximizing the East/West differences
- Expressing a loathing of the Roman Catholic Church
- Attracting converts interested in renouncing their past and living a life of oppositional faith (I believe, because I believe the west is wrong)

Really, all I'm calling for is honesty.  If Orthodoxy is really about creating a new view of the Atonement inconsistent with a great deal of the Patristic tradition and its own past which stands in opposition to some vague notion of the "western view", let's just call it that.  Let's stop kidding ourselves and move on.

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« Reply #50 on: April 04, 2007, 02:32:00 PM »

Isn't this what he's been saying all along?
I think that is what Welkodox and I have both been saying; that substitution may not be the main motif in the Eastern Church but it is not entirely and systematically absent either.
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« Reply #51 on: April 04, 2007, 04:46:17 PM »

Andrew and Brother Aidan,

I never said I didn't believe we had multiply theories, what I said is I have never been taught that the Orthodox church has  a penal satisfaction theory. I think this is where the difference of opinion lies.
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« Reply #52 on: April 04, 2007, 05:36:22 PM »

The problem with the penal satisfaction theory is that it give rise to the Filioque. It changes the way the trinity is understud. The Church is located within this Triadic plan, where the Father favors, the Son is the One Who offers Himself so that Creation can become incorporated and be able to have a relationship with the Father, and the Holy Spirit is the One Who liberates Creation from its limitations, from the restrictions of being created.
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« Reply #53 on: April 05, 2007, 12:48:28 AM »

The problem with the penal satisfaction theory is that it give rise to the Filioque.

Hardly. That's a very old and tired canard.
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« Reply #54 on: April 05, 2007, 08:33:35 AM »

Hardly. That's a very old and tired canard.

Our specialty it seems.  Wink
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« Reply #55 on: April 05, 2007, 10:04:09 AM »

Hardly. That's a very old and tired canard.

Your very mistaken. Because Creation cannot on its own communicate with God, on account of its natural limitations. It is the son who makes the link to the father. The son is the one that makes the link for us to be saved. That is why we are called the body and Christ is the head. Together we are given to the father for reconciliation. without the proper understanding, Christology is lost in translation. The reconciliation is repeated at every Divine liturgy. Again, His act is not to satisfy the fathers wrath. His act is to unite humanity with the uncreated.
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« Reply #56 on: April 05, 2007, 10:32:57 AM »

I thought this was helpful because this Orthodox gentleman defines some terms from the original Hebrew and Greek

from this blog: http://perennialrambler.blogspot.com/2006/01/wading-into-controversy.html

"What is particularly interesting is that in On the Incarnation 2:7 (with the relevent passage quoted above) St.Athanasios says pretty clearly that had it only been an issue of trespass, repentence would have been sufficient However, the sad fact is that our repentence would not have been sufficient to undo the damage done to human nature when Adam fell from grace. And this is where we move into the central theme of St.Athanasios' treatise - that Christ came to heal human nature, restoring divinizing grace to it. The central part of fixing this damage of course, was to destroy the power of death; and Christ did this by submitting to the "law of death" and being the Light which overcomes darkness, transforming the grave into the womb of our ressurection.

Foreign to all of this is any notion of God needing His honour repaired. That would seem pretty clear given St.Athanasios' words on the would-be sufficiency of repentence (were it not for the corruption and death which flow from it). He could not have said such words had he entertained the later teachings of heterodoxy on this topic.

Beyond this particular document of St.Athanasios though, there are all sorts of terms which many westerners (myself included) seem to have difficulty seeing on the page without misunderstanding them. For example...

Atonement - Hebrew Kippur/Kapher which means to "cover over" with the implied understanding of this resulting in reconcilliation. This does not at all require a belief that one is somehow buying off an upset God. The Greek word used for atonement in the New Testament is katallage which simply means to reconcile via an exchange/transformation (you can check this yourself by following the etymological references provided in a New Testament Greek concordance like Strong's).

Sacrifice/Offering - Hebrew Qarav, which means "to draw near". The purpose of the sacrifices of old was to (insofar as they were able) bring a man close to God. In fact the same root word is used elsewhere in the Old Testament in the context of sexual relations (and hence may be part of the reason why the relationship between God and His people is portrayed as being that between a husband and his bride.) Again, none of this relates to the later (heterodox) teachings on Christ's feat of salvation.

Justified - Greek Dikaioo, which means to render one has he ought to be, and/or to declare/demonstrate that one is as he ought to be. The closest aspect of this to the later-day western conception of this subject, is the idea that God is making a statement about someone. Whatever way you slice it, it has nothing to do with pacifying a grievous offence given to God.

Ransom - Greek Lutron, which means the price paid to liberate someone, such as a captive or a slave, with the distinct sense that the "ransom" dissolves whatever it is that was binding that which is being liberated (from it's root luo). Now, unless one believes that it was "God the Father" who was our jailor and from whose oppression we needed liberation, then it is quite clear that the Anselmian theory (and it's bastard children) are not at all called for."
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« Reply #57 on: April 05, 2007, 11:10:40 AM »

Your very mistaken. Because Creation cannot on its own communicate with God, on account of its natural limitations. It is the son who makes the link to the father. The son is the one that makes the link for us to be saved. That is why we are called the body and Christ is the head. Together we are given to the father for reconciliation. without the proper understanding, Christology is lost in translation. The reconciliation is repeated at every Divine liturgy. Again, His act is not to satisfy the fathers wrath. His act is to unite humanity with the uncreated.

The filioque predates the penal satisfaction theory by hundreds of years. Perhaps you can try one of the other anti-Western cliches?
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« Reply #58 on: April 05, 2007, 11:35:18 AM »

I thought this was helpful because this Orthodox gentleman defines some terms from the original Hebrew and Greek

from this blog: http://perennialrambler.blogspot.com/2006/01/wading-into-controversy.html

"What is particularly interesting is that in On the Incarnation 2:7 (with the relevent passage quoted above) St.Athanasios says pretty clearly that had it only been an issue of trespass, repentence would have been sufficient However, the sad fact is that our repentence would not have been sufficient to undo the damage done to human nature when Adam fell from grace. And this is where we move into the central theme of St.Athanasios' treatise - that Christ came to heal human nature, restoring divinizing grace to it. The central part of fixing this damage of course, was to destroy the power of death; and Christ did this by submitting to the "law of death" and being the Light which overcomes darkness, transforming the grave into the womb of our ressurection.

Foreign to all of this is any notion of God needing His honour repaired. That would seem pretty clear given St.Athanasios' words on the would-be sufficiency of repentence (were it not for the corruption and death which flow from it). He could not have said such words had he entertained the later teachings of heterodoxy on this topic.

Beyond this particular document of St.Athanasios though, there are all sorts of terms which many westerners (myself included) seem to have difficulty seeing on the page without misunderstanding them. For example...

Atonement - Hebrew Kippur/Kapher which means to "cover over" with the implied understanding of this resulting in reconcilliation. This does not at all require a belief that one is somehow buying off an upset God. The Greek word used for atonement in the New Testament is katallage which simply means to reconcile via an exchange/transformation (you can check this yourself by following the etymological references provided in a New Testament Greek concordance like Strong's).

Sacrifice/Offering - Hebrew Qarav, which means "to draw near". The purpose of the sacrifices of old was to (insofar as they were able) bring a man close to God. In fact the same root word is used elsewhere in the Old Testament in the context of sexual relations (and hence may be part of the reason why the relationship between God and His people is portrayed as being that between a husband and his bride.) Again, none of this relates to the later (heterodox) teachings on Christ's feat of salvation.

Justified - Greek Dikaioo, which means to render one has he ought to be, and/or to declare/demonstrate that one is as he ought to be. The closest aspect of this to the later-day western conception of this subject, is the idea that God is making a statement about someone. Whatever way you slice it, it has nothing to do with pacifying a grievous offence given to God.

Ransom - Greek Lutron, which means the price paid to liberate someone, such as a captive or a slave, with the distinct sense that the "ransom" dissolves whatever it is that was binding that which is being liberated (from it's root luo). Now, unless one believes that it was "God the Father" who was our jailor and from whose oppression we needed liberation, then it is quite clear that the Anselmian theory (and it's bastard children) are not at all called for."

Once again we have strawmen, complete with generalizing everything as "Western" and using phrases like "hideous" and "whacked out" and "buying off an upset God." Really, this is probably, deep down, one of the chief reasons I did not become Orthodox. What is so clear in Scripture and the Fathers is denied by so many Orthodox as "Western." I would suggest you read the article I posted that gives a balanced Catholic view instead of reading a caricature from an Orthodox who shows signs of convertitis.
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« Reply #59 on: April 05, 2007, 11:42:33 AM »

lubeltri, I can't say I blame you.  I don't know what I would have done if I had run across this kind of nonsense before I converted.  Luckily it was a while after that I gradually became aware of it.  This in particular

Quote
Ransom - Greek Lutron, which means the price paid to liberate someone, such as a captive or a slave, with the distinct sense that the "ransom" dissolves whatever it is that was binding that which is being liberated (from it's root luo). Now, unless one believes that it was "God the Father" who was our jailor and from whose oppression we needed liberation, then it is quite clear that the Anselmian theory (and it's bastard children) are not at all called for."

Makes absolutely no sense.
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« Reply #60 on: April 05, 2007, 11:51:02 AM »

My only question is what are this Orthodox gentleman's credentials/experience in translating from Hebrew and Koine Greek?  Where did he get these translations from?  Are they his own?
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« Reply #61 on: April 05, 2007, 12:01:21 PM »

I will read it but I do think the terms used in English convey a very different meaning than what the original Greek and Hebrew words conveyed. That was the point of the post. Look at how we translate the Greek word eleison in English:


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« Reply #62 on: April 05, 2007, 12:03:00 PM »

I will read it but I do think the terms used in English convey a very different meaning than what the original Greek and Hebrew words conveyed. That was the point of the post. Look at how we translate the Greek word eleison in English:


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« Reply #63 on: April 05, 2007, 12:03:59 PM »

My full message is not coming through. I will try to send it later.
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« Reply #64 on: April 05, 2007, 12:04:31 PM »

My only question is what are this Orthodox gentleman's credentials/experience in translating from Hebrew and Koine Greek?  Where did he get these translations from?  Are they his own?

Perhaps he cut and pasted them from somewhere else.

Who knows. I've been looking at his blog. On his profile, I found a link to what is supposed to be his website: http://www.thememoryhole.org/.
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« Reply #65 on: April 05, 2007, 06:17:49 PM »


Makes absolutely no sense.

You want to know why it makes no sense to you. Because you don't see the whole picture. You have to start at the fall of man. See why he fell. It's not just a moral issue. It's an ontological one as well. After Adam fell even if he asked for forgiveness from god he couldn't return to Paradise. Because the link between uncreated and created was severed. Christ became the new Adam to correct what had gone wrong. Man was not immortal on his own even in Paradise. He had to be in communion with god to be immortal. That is why you don't understand those terms posted above. The reason why Christ came is to save us and creation from death.
1 Corinthians 15:53
For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.
1 Corinthians 15:54
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
Christ united human nature with the divine.
As created beings we are susceptible to death. For us to be saved from death we have to be in communion with Christ. Christ is the one that repairs the fall by uniting us with the father again.
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« Reply #66 on: April 05, 2007, 06:26:15 PM »

lubeltri, I can't say I blame you.  I don't know what I would have done if I had run across this kind of nonsense before I converted.  Luckily it was a while after that I gradually became aware of it. 
 
NOTE: The quote ends above. I don't know how this post all got in the blue box. My response to the quote is below:

I came across it before I converted, near the end of my catechumenate during the debates about Mel Gibson's Passion movie. It was a stumbling block but I chocked it up to an Othodox allergy to the substitutionary atonement. There were too many other wonderful things about Orthodoxy to keep me away over this one point. But peridodically, I want to throw my hands up and scream over what seems to be a deliberate obtuseness when it comes to this subject. Some people just WILL not listen to any argument put forth and stubbornly will not accept any subtlety to the substitutionary view and insist on throwing up strawman after strawman.

The good thing is that I generally only find it here at OC.net and not in my parish.
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« Reply #67 on: April 05, 2007, 06:32:26 PM »

Demetrios G

I would not at all disagree with you. But I also do not see how Christ paying for our sins as part of the purpose of his death on the cross is at odds with what you have written.
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« Reply #68 on: April 05, 2007, 09:11:50 PM »

My issue was with the ransom view put forward.  In place of "makes no sense", I should have said "faulty".
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« Reply #69 on: April 05, 2007, 09:41:26 PM »

My issue was with the ransom view put forward.  In place of "makes no sense", I should have said "faulty".

The question it asks is: "To whom is the ransom paid?"
It cannot be paid to God, since God was not holding us to ransom because of our sins. We were enslaved to Death and the Devil by our sins, and to say that Christ paid a ransom to death and the Devil to liberate us is ludicrous.
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« Reply #70 on: April 05, 2007, 10:10:20 PM »

The question it asks is: "To whom is the ransom paid?"

Yes, that is the question.

Quote
It cannot be paid to God, since God was not holding us to ransom because of our sins. We were enslaved to Death and the Devil by our sins, and to say that Christ paid a ransom to death and the Devil to liberate us is ludicrous.

Yet, if what you say is true, there is no ransom.  Yet, clearly there is a ransom that was paid by Christ on our behalf.  But to whom?

It seems to me there is only one possibility.
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« Reply #71 on: April 05, 2007, 10:14:03 PM »

Yet, if what you say is true, there is no ransom.  Yet, clearly there is a ransom that was paid by Christ on our behalf.  But to whom?
Or, another possibility is that "ransom" is a metaphor, and is not to be taken literally.
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« Reply #72 on: April 05, 2007, 10:40:35 PM »

Or, another possibility is that "ransom" is a metaphor, and is not to be taken literally.

I can't see how that wouldn't radically vitiate the meaning of the Atonement though, just as saying for instance that the words "bodily resurrection" are not to be understood literally.

In the actions surrounding the Atonement, it seems like there is a literal offering for man's sin, a literal propitiation and a literal satisfaction of divine justice.  It is in everything I have read that I have posted.  To give some examples again:

Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ. (Book 4, Section 4).

The commission of sin involves injury to God Himself...  there is need of virtue great than is found in man to be able to cancel the indictment. For the lowest it is particularly easy to commit an injury against Him who is greatest. Yet it is impossible for him to compensate for this insolence by any honour... He, then, who seeks to cancel the indictment against himself must restore the honour to Him who has been insulted and pay more than he owes, partly by way of restitution, partly by adding compensation... [Jesus] alone, then, was able to render all the honour that is due to that Father and make satisfaction for that which had been taken away. The former he achieved by His life, the latter by His death. The death which He died upon the cross to the Father's glory He brought to outweigh the injury which we had committed; in addition He most abundantly made amends for the debt of honour which we owed for our sins.

Longer Catechism of St. Philaret of Moscow

208.  How does the death of Jesus Christ upon the cross deliver us from sin, the curse, and death?

That we may the more readily believe this mystery, the Word of God teaches us of it, so much as we may be able to receive, by the comparison of Jesus Christ with Adam. Adam is by nature the head of all mankind, which is one with him by natural descent from him. Jesus Christ, in whom the Godhead is united with manhood, graciously made himself the new almighty Head of men, whom he unites to himself through faith. Therefore as in Adam we had fallen under sin, the curse, and death, so we are delivered from sin, the curse, and death in Jesus Christ. His voluntary suffering and death on the cross for us, being of infinite value and merit, as the death of one sinless, God and man in one person, is both a perfect satisfaction to the justice of God, which had condemned us for sin to death, and a fund of infinite merit, which has obtained him the right, without prejudice to justice, to give us sinners pardon of our sins, and grace to have victory over sin and death.


The ransom it seems to me is quite real and I agree with you that the idea that it was owed to the Devil is ludicrous.  That leaves one possibility, and I think both of these show what the ransom was, to who it was owed, and to who it was paid.
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« Reply #73 on: April 05, 2007, 11:00:13 PM »

St. Gregory the Theologian, Second Oration on Pascha

"To whom was that Blood offered that was shed for us, and why was it shed? I mean the precious and famous Blood of our God and High Priest and Sacrifice. We were detained in bondage by the evil one, sold under sin, and received pleasure in exchange for wickedness. Now, since a ransom belongs only to him who holds in bondage, I ask, to who was this offered and to what cause? If to the evil one, fie upon the outrage! The robber receives ransom, not only from God, but a ransom which consists of God Himself, and as such has an illustrious payment for his tyranny, a payment for whose sake it would have been right for him to have left us alone all together.
But first I ask, how? For it was not by Him (God) that we were being oppressed. And next, on what principle did the Blood of His only Begotten Son delight the Father, Who would not receive even Isaac when he was being offered by his father, but changed the sacrifice, putting a ram in place of a human victim? Is it not evident that the Father accepts Him, but neither asked for Him nor demanded Him; but on account of the Incarnation, and because Humanity must be sanctified by the Humanity of God, that He might deliver us Himself and overcome the tryant, and draw us to Himself by the mediation of His Son, Who also arranged this to the honour of the Father, Whom it is manifest that He obeys in all things."
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« Reply #74 on: April 05, 2007, 11:30:33 PM »

Demetrios G

I would not at all disagree with you. But I also do not see how Christ paying for our sins as part of the purpose of his death on the cross is at odds with what you have written.

It's not at all at odds. In fact it complements it. But that's not the point. The point is that western theology focuses on sin alone. Very much like Orthodox converts. Focusing on sin is a dead end. It doesn't end at the cross. If we don't look at it from an orthodox perspective (even if both end at the same place)  It doesn't bring eternal life. What gives us eternal life is focusing on the Eucharist. The Eucharist puts us in communion with Christ. Christ puts us into communion with the father. The Holy spirit razes us from the dead. The church will continue even after the second coming and forever. It's what gives us ever lasting life. The heavy focus on sin and the cross has also infected the orthodox. Most orthodox don't even know that life eternal depends on communion with Christ through his church. The churches have emptied out because people don't know what the church is there for. That's why.
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« Reply #75 on: April 05, 2007, 11:41:50 PM »

ransoming us from sin and death
atoning sacrifice for our sins
taking our sufferings and sins upon himself
trampling down death by death and bestowing life
showing by example that no man has greater love than this that he lays down his life for his friends, even    moreso because as St. Paul states in Romans chaper 5, that God shows his love for us in that while we still his enemies, Christ died for the ungodly
Christ as victor over sin and death  
Christ as obedient son of the Father, obedient unto death;
All of these motifs and more are the mystery of Christ's death on the cross.

to just take one of the motifs scripture gives us or to eliminate any of them, diminishes our appreciation of the mystery

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« Reply #76 on: April 05, 2007, 11:47:57 PM »

Or, another possibility is that "ransom" is a metaphor, and is not to be taken literally.

I would not wish to say that any of the bibilical motifs for understanding the cross are metaphorical; mysteries that we can't fully comprehend? Yes. Metaphors, No.
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« Reply #77 on: April 05, 2007, 11:49:29 PM »

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« Reply #78 on: April 06, 2007, 12:02:29 AM »

I would not wish to say that any of the bibilical motifs for understanding the cross are metaphorical; mysteries that we can't fully comprehend? Yes. Metaphors, No.
So, again, I ask, to whom was the ransom paid if it is a literal ransom? As St. Gregory says, the one who held us in bondage is the evil one, so did he receive the ransom?
The problem with viewing terms like "ransom" and "atonement" too literally is that doing so imprisons God. Basically, it means God cannot forgive sin unless an atonement is made or a ransom paid.
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« Reply #79 on: April 06, 2007, 12:18:26 AM »

Demetrios G

I would not at all disagree with you. But I also do not see how Christ paying for our sins as part of the purpose of his death on the cross is at odds with what you have written.

Totally agreed. Demetrio's explanation is correct, but it is not the only explanation. The fullness of the Atonement, the Mystery of Faith, cannot be limited to one theory (a better term might be "expression" or "representation").
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« Reply #80 on: April 06, 2007, 12:28:56 AM »

This is the way I view it. The ransom (Christ)is the bait. When Christ offers himself sinless to the devil, the devil didn't know he had a sinless example of a human. the devil took the bait and was bound by doing it. Death was overcome by a sinless example. This is clearly seen when one sees that death is the consequence for sin.
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« Reply #81 on: April 06, 2007, 12:37:11 AM »

This is the way I view it. The ransom (Christ)is the bait. When Christ offers himself sinless to the devil, the devil didn't know he had a sinless example of a human. the devil took the bait and was bound by doing it. Death was overcome by a sinless example. This is clearly seen when one sees that death is the consequence for sin.

I agree. It was a case of deceiving the deceiver. And in the Orthodox Church, we commemorate this on Holy Saturday:

"Today Hades cries out groaning:
I should not have accepted the Man born of Mary.
He came and destroyed my power.
He shattered the gates of brass.
As God. He raised the souls I had held captive.

"Today Hades cries out groaning:
my power has been abolished;
I have received a mortal, as one of the mortals;
but this One, I am completely powerless to contain;
with Him, I have lost all those over which I have ruled. 
For ages I had held them dead;
but behold, He raises them up all.'"
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« Reply #82 on: April 06, 2007, 01:33:10 AM »

So, again, I ask, to whom was the ransom paid if it is a literal ransom? As St. Gregory says, the one who held us in bondage is the evil one, so did he receive the ransom?
The problem with viewing terms like "ransom" and "atonement" too literally is that doing so imprisons God. Basically, it means God cannot forgive sin unless an atonement is made or a ransom paid.

At least in the usual Catholic understanding, God can do what he wants. He could have remitted all sin freely, but he chose Christ's sacrificial atonement as the way to accomplish it. Anselm thought it was necessary to fulfill the demands of true divine justice, but Abelard and Aquinas and most other Catholic theologians denied it was absolutely necessary.

As for the ransom theory, I thought the Catholic Encyclopedia article had an excellent discussion of it:

The restoration of fallen man was the work of the Incarnate Word. "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself" (2 Corinthians 5:19). But the peace of that reconciliation was accomplished by the death of the Divine Redeemer, "making peace through the blood of His cross" (Colossians 1:20). This redemption by death is another mystery, and some of the Fathers in the first ages are led to speculate on its meaning, and to construct a theory in explanation. Here the words and figures used in Holy Scripture help to guide the current of theological thought. Sin is represented as a state of bondage or servitude, and fallen man is delivered by being redeemed, or bought with a price. "For you are bought with a great price" (1 Corinthians 6:20). "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; because thou wast slain, and hast redeemed to God, in thy blood" (Revelation 5:9). Looked at in this light, the Atonement appears as the deliverance from captivity by the payment of a ransom. This view is already developed in the second century. "The mighty Word and true Man reasonably redeeming us by His blood, gave Himself a ransom for those who had been brought into bondage. And since the Apostasy unjustly ruled over us, and, whereas we belonged by nature to God Almighty, alienated us against nature and made us his own disciples, the Word of God, being mighty in all things, and failing not in His justice, dealt justly even with the Apostasy itself, buying back from it the things which were His own" (Irenaeus Aversus Haereses V, i). And St. Augustine says in well-known words: "Men were held captive under the devil and served the demons, but they were redeemed from captivity. For they could sell themselves. The Redeemer came, and gave the price; He poured forth his blood and bought the whole world. Do you ask what He bought? See what He gave, and find what He bought. The blood of Christ is the price. How much is it worth? What but the whole world? What but all nations?" (Enarratio in Psalm xcv, n. 5).

It cannot be questioned that this theory also contains a true principle. For it is founded on the express words of Scripture, and is supported by many of the greatest of the early Fathers and later theologians. But unfortunately, at first, and for a long period of theological history, this truth was somewhat obscured by a strange confusion, which would seem to have arisen from the natural tendency to take a figure too literally, and to apply it in details which were not contemplated by those who first made use of it. It must not be forgotten that the account of our deliverance from sin is set forth in figures. Conquest, captivity, and ransom are familiar facts of human history. Man, having yielded to the temptations of Satan, was like to one overcome in battle. Sin, again, is fitly likened to a state of slavery. And when man was set free by the shedding of Christ's precious Blood, this deliverance would naturally recall (even if it had not been so described in Scripture) the redemption of a captive by the payment of a ransom.

But however useful and illuminating in their proper place, figures of this kind are perilous in the hands of those who press them too far, and forget that they are figures. This is what happened here. When a captive is ransomed the price is naturally paid to the conqueror by whom he is held in bondage. Hence, if this figure were taken and interpreted literally in all its details, it would seem that the price of man's ransom must be paid to Satan. The notion is certainly startling, if not revolting. Even if brave reasons pointed in this direction, we might well shrink from drawing the concluslon. And this is in fact so far from being the case that it seems hard to find any rational explanation of such a payment, or any right on which it could be founded. Yet, strange to say, the bold flight of theological speculation was not checked by these misgivings. In the above-cited passage of St. Irenaeus, we read that the Word of God "dealt justly even with the Apostasy itself [i.e. Satan], buying back from it the things which were His own." This curious notion, apparently first mooted by St. Irenaeus, was taken up by Origen in the next century, and for about a thousand years it played a conspicuous part in the history of theology. In the hands of some of the later Fathers and medieval writers, it takes various forms, and some of its more repulsive features are softened or modified. But the strange notion of some right, or claim, on the part of Satan is still present. A protest was raised by St. Gregory of Nazianzus in the fourth century, as might be expected from that most accurate of the patristic theologians. But it was not till St. Anselm and Abelard had met it with unanswerable arguments that its power was finally broken.
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« Reply #83 on: April 06, 2007, 01:36:28 AM »

This is the way I view it. The ransom (Christ)is the bait. When Christ offers himself sinless to the devil, the devil didn't know he had a sinless example of a human. the devil took the bait and was bound by doing it. Death was overcome by a sinless example. This is clearly seen when one sees that death is the consequence for sin.

That's the "mousetrap" theory of Augustine. Again, the endlessly useful Catholic Encyclopedia:

But it is not only in connection with the theory of ransom that we meet with this notion of "rights" on the part of Satan. Some of the Fathers set the matter in a different aspect. Fallen man, it was said, was justly under the dominion of the devil, in punishment for sin. But when Satan brought suffering and death on the sinless Saviour, he abused his power and exceeded his right, so that he was now justly deprived of his dominion over the captives. This explanation is found especially in the sermons of St. Leo and the "Morals" of St. Gregory the Great. Closely allied to this explanation is the singular "mouse-trap" metaphor of St. Augustine. In this daring figure of speech, the Cross is regarded as the trap in which the bait is set and the enemy is caught. "The Redeemer came and the deceiver was overcome. What did our Redeemer do to our Captor? In payment for us He set the trap, His Cross, with His blood for bait. He [Satan] could indeed shed that blood; but he deserved not to drink it. By shedding the blood of One who was not his debtor, he was forced to release his debtors" (Serm. cxxx, part 2).

---

I think this is also very valid as an approach.
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« Reply #84 on: April 09, 2007, 08:46:58 AM »

There are two aspects when determining how the Orthodox view the matter. As St. Gregory stated. There was a ransom and reconciliation. The ransom was to the devil as stated above. The reconciliation was to the father. One must understand that the word reconciliation doesn't imply that it was a forced union as the west sees it. It means a putting together or reuniting.
  To unite the created with the uncreated a sinless example of a human was needed. To see this more clearly we can go back to the Jewish tradition. What exactly were they trying to accomplish with there offering of a blameless lamb. Since there was no sinless human to offer to god they use to deliver up sinless animals in there place. But the animals are not the temple of the holy spirit.  The union of the uncreated and created can only be accomplished with a vessel of the holy spirit. Only through a man can it be accomplished. When the world sent Christ to the cross. They united human nature with the uncreated. It's wasn't to satisfy an angry God.
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« Reply #85 on: April 09, 2007, 09:52:33 AM »

Sigh . . .



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« Reply #86 on: April 09, 2007, 09:56:35 AM »

Quote
So, again, I ask, to whom was the ransom paid if it is a literal ransom? As St. Gregory says, the one who held us in bondage is the evil one, so did he receive the ransom?

I think what St. Gregory the Theologian is saying is the nature of the payment is different.  Unlike the story of Abraham and Isaac, it is not God demanding payment.  In other words this is principally an act of self sacrifice (on the part of Christ) to pay the debt of sin brought about by man's initial transgression of his divine justice.  The sacrifice of the son is directed to the father and through this pays the ransom that we ourselves could not fulfill.  To quote the Catechism of St. Philaret again

His voluntary suffering and death on the cross for us, being of infinite value and merit, as the death of one sinless, God and man in one person, is both a perfect satisfaction to the justice of God, which had condemned us for sin to death, and a fund of infinite merit, which has obtained him the right, without prejudice to justice, to give us sinners pardon of our sins, and grace to have victory over sin and death.

Also, notice in one of the previous posts it is being said again that

Quote
The ransom was to the devil as stated above.
.

Something we know can't be the case.

Quote
The problem with viewing terms like "ransom" and "atonement" too literally is that doing so imprisons God. Basically, it means God cannot forgive sin unless an atonement is made or a ransom paid.

I think if you look at them simply as metaphors, then you are immediately led to question the necessity of the crucifixion and resurrection itself.  Why was that necessary?  Couldn't God have forgiven us and abolished death without them?  Theoretically he could have I suppose, but it seems to me that if we stick to what has been shown to us in direct revelation; we see the themes of propitiation, satisfaction and sacrifice are consistent with what we know about God and are amply present in the Bible, the Church Fathers and our cathetical materials.

It seems to me again there is a shift away from what the church has historically said about the Atonement.  I think there are multiple reasons why this is so, and none of them are good.
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« Reply #87 on: April 09, 2007, 10:07:50 AM »

 Shocked  OK lubeltri. Lets reduce our salvation to an African tribal cult that sacrifices people to an angry god so the volcano doesn't erupt. Cheesy
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« Reply #88 on: April 09, 2007, 11:46:03 AM »

Quote
Furthermore, the whole sacrificial system of the Old Testament points to the eventual coming of the one perfect sacrifice to pay for sins. For it to be argued that Christ's death was in no sense connected to the legal theory of the law and its transgression and the payment for sin in ancient Judaism, runs agains the entire grain of the New Testament, where Christ is the lamb that is slain. He is Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

The problem with that reasoning is that NOT one lamb sacrificed in the Old Testament broke the gates of Hades. If there was no resurrection, Jesus' death on the cross would be no different than the OT passover.  Our NT Pascha is not the OT Pascha--not by a long shot!

Also, Anselm is wrong because he thinks that Christ's death on the cross ALONE saved us all from God's wrath.  That's impossible because any loving father who finds his son ridiculed and murdered would only enrage him--and indeed, The Father was unhappy when Christ died (Luke 22:44).   Moreover, if God was truly "satisfied", why would it be necessary to punish the Jews in 70 AD? 

But of course, we all know that Christ is risen.  Our Lord Jesus Christ went to Hades--the "Ransom" act--and opened its gates AFTER he died on the cross.  And for this reason, the Father is satisfied.

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« Reply #89 on: April 09, 2007, 12:04:57 PM »

I think if you look at them simply as metaphors, then you are immediately led to question the necessity of the crucifixion and resurrection itself.
I'm not sure we have any choice but to view the word "ransom" as a metaphor. If we don't view it as a metaphor- then the ransom must be paid to the one who holds in bondage, i.e., the one who holds to ransom, or the one who has enslaved.
Why can't you just accept this instead of making some song and dance about how it is "not a metaphor"? Why is it so important to you that it is not a metaphor?
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