The Mouse Trap Theory of the Atonement

In a few days, some friends of mine and I are going to be discussing whether or not C.S. Lewis’s book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe espouses a form of the mouse-trap theory of the atonement. I don’t have a whole lot of knowledge of this theory. However, here are at least the bare bones.

Jesus’ blood is the bait and the trap is the cross. Satan was fooled into thinking he had won when he clamped down on the blood of Christ. Then on Easter morning, he realized he had been duped. Objections raised against this theory have been several: one is that Satan tempted Jesus to avoid the cross, which seems to indicate that he already knew the implications of the cross. A second objection is that it seems to involve a ransom being paid to Satan, which we know is false, since the sinner is in debt to the law of God, not to Satan.

So, the question is this: does the LWW espouse this theory? My inital thoughts on this are that it is not a mouse-trap theory. However, my argument hinges on one crucial point: how critical to the MTT is the idea of paying a ransom to Satan? I do not believe that Aslan paid a ransom to the White Witch. The reason that someone had to die was because of the law written in letters as deep as a spear is long on the trunk of the world ash tree (Yggdrasil) for those ignorant of Norse mythology, in which Lewis was very learned. In other words, the debt was in fact to the law of the Emperor Beyond the Sea, not to the White Witch. I think that the White Witch poses as the Emperor’s hangman (to use the phrase of Mr. Beaver) so that people might think that she has the power of death in her hands. But Aslan’s question is eloquent: “Work against the Emperor’s magic?” (emphasis added).

It would seem to me right now that the ransom-to-Satan theory is essential to the MTT, since how else is the mechanism of Satan “falling for it” supposed to work, other than that God deceived Satan into thinking that the ransom was due to Satan? If the ransom was due to Satan in Satan’s thinking, then that would provide the impetus for him to take the bait. I would appreciate any insight that my readers could provide.