In the wake of the death of God

“The ultimate self-emptying of the divine idea: ‘God has died, God himself is dead’ is a monstrous and dreadful notion, which presents to the imagination the most unfathomable abyss of separation.”[1]
“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani”
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Yesterday was the death of Jesus and in some way also the death of God.
The Nicene Creed describes Jesus as, “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made.”
Yesterday was the death of Jesus and so in some way, (much of) Christianity affirms, also the death of God.
Now a question,
“What right has a non-worldly, a discarnate, God to forgive any human being?”[2]
The answer, none.
Against this Christianity insists that God could not stay distant, disconnected, and remote from humanity and the rest of what he had made, as it wandered lost to death and entropy in a rebellion we didn’t even know ourselves to be in. In this place we took to violence and twisted definitions of what is ‘good’ so we might just have some level of control of the life we find ourselves experiencing.
Yesterday Christianity insists that
“God is not to be found, his grace and mercy are not to be found, anywhere else but in the past of human violence.”[3]
“It is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” John 11:50
Suffering violence, suffering torture, suffering death and betrayal – this is what this God experienced because a non-worldly, discarnate God has no right to forgive us. This God, in his word and wisdom, enters into the human drama, through a man, Jesus.
But this God enters not to judge as we would judge, not to condemn as we would condemn (‘Crucify him!’) because this God didn’t come to perpetuate judgement and condemnation as we understand them, as a means to control our world, but to give his life for ours, his body and his blood, shed for all complicit in his death.
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:17
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34
And so on the cross God experiences the negation of himself – God suffers the deepest kind of internal dissonance, as God is separated from Godself. Here God suffers all that makes humanity human because on the cross, as Karl Barth noted, God takes responsibility for humanity, at the expense of himself.
Yesterday we remembered that God died, knowing violence, contingency, pain and death at the hands of humans.
Yesterday we remembered that God went the way all humans go, because we could never be in control of the mess we are in.
Yesterday we remembered that God hung in solidarity with humanity knowing futility, meaninglessness, transience and confusion, dying as a man with humanity, like humanity, for humanity.
Yesterday we remembered that as we judged and condemned the worldly, incarnate God, that worldly, incarnate God judged judgement and condemned condemnation as he served and forgave us in our violence to his own end.
Yesterday we remembered that only the suffering God could help.
Today we remember that humanity sat in the wake of the death of God.
“We are twice dead when Jesus dies, for this is the death of hope.”[4]

[1] Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, 202
[2] Williams, Resurrection, 16
[3] Ibid., 16
[4] Ibid., 40
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