Transgression, Ransom, Remedy


This work examines the soteriology of Origen’s Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, with special focus upon the way that he uses ‘ransom’ imagery to explain the saving death of Christ. Origen did not assert any ‘rights’ of the devil, and his use of ‘devil’s ransom’ imagery was meant to be interpreted metaphorically, and not in a strictly literal fashion. This becomes evident when the ransom texts are interpreted alongside of Origen’s surrounding discussion of evil and Christ’s saving activity. Such a reading shows that Origen’s soteriology employed both dramatic symbols and rationally grounded analysis in order to convey the mystery of Christ’s saving work. Despite its metaphorical nature, however, Origen’s presentation of the ‘devil’s ransom’ abounds in theological realism and contains enduring soteriological truth.