Divine violence and the Christus Victor atonement model

Smith, Martyn John (2015) Divine violence and the Christus Victor atonement model. PhD thesis, Middlesex University / London School of Theology. [Thesis]

PDF - Final accepted version (with author's formatting)
Download (1MB) | Preview


More recently, there has been in some quarters a theological move away from the Penal Substitution model of atonement primarily due to the concerns it raises about God’s character. This is paralleled by a desire to replace it with a less violent approach to soteriology, with the concomitant representation of a less coercive God. This thesis addresses the biblical manifestations of divine violence across both Testaments in order to present God as one for whom violence is an extrinsic, accommodated function. Divine violence is particularly manifested soteriologically, finding its fullest expression, therefore, in the atonement. The Christus Victor Model is offered as the one best able to explicate and accommodate this divine violence. The main atonement models are assessed, revealing how each has sought to engage with, or deny, divine violence.
Firstly, God and violence are explored in order to provide an ideological, linguistic and epistemological foundation for understanding what violence is. Biblical examples of violence are then examined including both Testaments along with consideration of the Satan and the demonic realm; showing how God utilises violence in order to overcome these ontological enemies. Various atonement models are then examined, followed by a consideration of metaphor in the context of soteriology and God. Key scholars addressing violence are then assessed, followed by a section on the primacy of the Christus Victor atonement model; it is then presented as the only one which can fully incorporate the concomitant issues of God’s character, divine violence and an actual, evil enemy seeking to confound both God and His purposes. Further, the Christus Victor model is presented as the only one which is ontological, expressing a view of the atonement that both acknowledges God’s incontrovertible use and endorsement of extrinsic violence as well as the need to overcome an actual enemy in the Satan.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: A. > School of Law
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > London School of Theology
Item ID: 17328
Depositing User: Users 3197 not found.
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2015 16:21
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2021 13:34
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/17328

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item