To whom is the "ransom" referred to in Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45, 1 Timothy 2:6, and Hebrews 9:15 actually paid? -- Mike Windland
Technically speaking, I believe the ransom is paid to Satan, not the Father. The devil had become our owner, our new master due to our own sin. He held us hostage. The ransom is always paid to the one who holds the hostage--to the bad guy, not the good guy.
In The Chronicles of Narnia, Aslan (the Lion, representing Christ), allowed himself to be slain, giving himself into the hands of the White Witch (representing the Devil), and thus freeing her captives. Anselm (1033-1109 AD) popularized the idea that the ransom was paid to God. While this interpretation is widespread and dominant, there is certainly another way to take these passages.
Yet one caveat: analogies only illustrate--they do not prove anything. Interpret the less clear scriptures in light of the more clear ones. This is great advice whenever you are tackling the more difficult doctrines of the Bible.
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