God Plays Games With Satan

by Greg Stevens on April 28th, 2012

Hanging out with the boys, God throws a few more cubes of ice in his whiskey. He takes a sip, makes that squinty face we all make from the bite of a good whiskey, and looks the Devil in the eyes. He takes a dramatic pause but before he can utter a word, the Holy Spirit leans over and whispers something in God’s ear.

With a crafty little smile, and a puff of his cigar, God says, “I’m gonna send my boy Jesus to pay the ransom you’ve put on my people.” Satan responds with a chuckle, “About time you come to your senses!”

Little did the Devil know….When the Spirit leaned over and whispered in the ear of God she said, “Holy-freakin’-resurrection!”

And with that, the story of redemption in and through Jesus began.

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The Ransom Theory is what scholars call it. The jury is still out on if it happened exactly how I tell it but scholars are sure about a few things.

Irenaeus, Origen, Tertullian and many other church fathers saw Jesus’ death as a payment of ransom to Satan. They argued that God purchased (“bought with a price”) humanity back by exchanging Jesus’ soul for our souls and Jesus’ body for our bodies.  They believed that Adam’s fall made us all captive to Satan, Jesus therefore gave himself as our ransom from Adam’s stupidity. God purchased us with the blood of Jesus!

But, and this is a very big but, this theory has some serious holes (this is by no means exhaustive):
  1. This theory paints God as a manipulative trickster. 
  2. This theory holds an incredibly high understanding of Satan, especially Satan’s power.
  3. Human beings committed sins against God, not Satan. So there should be no reason for Satan to hold humanity at ransom.
  4. It also says that human beings didn’t have freedom but were in some way controlled by Satan
So why did Jesus die? Jesus died because God used him as a trump card in a cosmic board game!


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