Can God die? What does it mean for God to die?Friday, April 14, 2017
In reading and meditating on the portion of Scriptures on Good Friday--the betrayal and arrest of Jesus, the Jewish trials, denial of Peter, the Roman trials, the crucifixion and the death of Jesus--I suddenly began to wonder and ask a question I realized I haven't asked before.
Can God die?
Jesus is God and he died. I am not sure if that really answers the question. Let's say it does, but it then begs the next question.
What does it mean for God to die?
I googled for any answers but could not find anyone that provides a good or satisfying one. This article by Veronica Neffinger, Crosswalk seems the best, but even then, she does not fully answer the question.
She says, "This is a question that can easily get into the deep waters of theology," and I wonder why haven't it been picked up by the scholars. Maybe it's me who have not come across them, and so if you do know of any good books on this, please let me know.
Some explained that Jesus is both divine and human, and it was the human side of him who died. But I agree with the article that said, "Sproul reminds us that this would be a 'mutation within the very being of God.' The doctrine of the Trinity tells us that three separate and distinct persons make up the Godhead, and yet these persons are one." Sproul further explains it here.
So I think it boils down to what Jesus cried out to the Father when he was on the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matt 27:46, Mark 15:34).
Death is not becoming non-existent. Death, even to us mere human, is the experience of a separation. Where we are at this separation stage is still yet to be known. In that case, Jesus is experiencing a separation from the Father, while still maintaining his relationship with him in the Trinitarian Godhead.
Jesus took the separation that will indeed be ours if we die without him. But now that Jesus has taken the separation in our place, we are reconciled and are in abode with the Father for eternity, for all time.
But of course, like Sproul suggested, that may even be the wrong question to ask.
The article aptly concludes with a quote from Greg Laurie, "This message is so deep and profound that you could spend the rest of your life studying it and still not grasp its full significance. Yet it is so simple that even a child can understand it. Still, many people do not understand the significance of what took place on that Roman cross 2,000 years ago. Jesus died so that we might live."