Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lent 3 with Moltmann

Moltmann on Christ's rejection by God and what it means for the godless:
[The preaching of the cross] proclaims Christ abandoned by God and crucified by him who is godless. It is the revelation of God in abandonment by God, the acceptance of the godless by Christ himself taking on his (the godless man's) abandonment, which brings him into fellowship with the crucified Christ and makes it possible for him to follow Christ. Not until Christ has taken on our cross as his own is it meaningful to take up our cross in order to follow him. (Jurgen Moltmann in The Crucified God. Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 1993, p. 62).

9 comments:

Enigman said...

Hi, I'm afraid I find the idea of "Christ abandoned by God" sensible only if Christ was a holy man inspired by God; if Christ was God then Christ could not have been abandoned by God, is how I must see it. God may well transcend my logic, but my thoughts can't (I've a notion of self-abandon, which goes with irrationality, but I doubt that's apposite).

I could be in fellowship with you without being female, for example (and with the stupid without being stupid, with very evil people without being very evil, and so forth), whereas I could not become in fellowship with you by losing any of my essential properties (because I could not then be in any living relation with anyone, having then become not me).

The way I see it (very naively) is that God became Man when Jesus was born, that He was then (if not before) sharing our general situation (e.g. some distance from Heaven, at least until His baptism), so that there was no need for such abandonment... (?)

Jami Couch said...

enigman:
St. Gregory of Nazianzus said, "That which was not assumed is not healed." This is very fundamental to our understanding of justification: that Christ was fully human and fully participated in our humanity and that he suffered the punishment for the sins of the world. Never mind that you cant logically understand how Christ can both be God and be forsaken by God at the same time, this is what happened, as evidenced by Christ's words: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46)

Enigman said...

Thanks jami, but Christ's words could be evidence of His epistemic imperfection (even if God had forsaken Him, as you say, why would Christ have forgotten why that was so necessary?) whence they could well be evidence of His mistakenly believing that His God had forsaken Him. Maybe you are right, but that evidence seems ambiguous, even granted that Christ was God (and fully human if to be human is to have a soul in a human brain); not to mention how evidence can only be evidence of anything if we use logic (otherwise, why are His words not evidence that He was not forsaken?)...?

Weekend Fisher said...

Hi enigman

I was wondering if you could clarify a thing or two; I'm not quite sure I've grasped where you're going. I suspect we start with some very different assumptions.

When you say "there was no need for such abandonment", are you putting forward the possibility that God didn't forsake Christ? And the part about losing essential properties (2nd para in your original reply) -- are you referring that to God becoming human or to God forsaking Christ?

Granted that "Why have you forsaken me?" is a head-spinner coming from Christ. I just want to make sure I've understood what you're saying.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

Enigman said...

Yes, maybe God didn't forsake Christ; it just seems odd to me that God would forsake Christ, less odd that Christ should feel that way at the end. (Presumably some doctrines of the nature of salvation require the former reading, but I doubt that, for example, guilt is hereditary, so maybe that's not a problem for me?)

Christ is essentially God, but only contingently Man, in the sense that He could have never been Man and still been Himself (e.g. if the Fall had not happened); I'm probably wrong about most of that, but that's what I was thinking... I like your post on the 'Son of God' title btw; that sort of thing is very helpful, I find.

Weekend Fisher said...

Hi there

I'm not in the "hereditary guilt" camp; if you look at the history of that doctrine it's an illegitimate latecomer to the party. So I don't really have a dog in that race. Still, I'll give Jesus the benefit of the doubt on that one ... ;)

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

Enigman said...

Hi; so, is it that your reason for believing that God forsook Christ, just before His death, is that He implied as much with His asking of God for the reason for it (re your "the benefit of the doubt")?

But by asking that, Christ also implied that He thought that God might reply, as though there was some doubt in His mind, as to whether or not God had indeed forsaken Him. (Are there other reasons?)

Weekend Fisher said...

Hi there

Sorry so pokey with the reply. (Did you see the announcements awhile back for a Trinity Blogging Summit? I rashly agreed to submit something, and it was due on the 29th. I had fun researching it but boy was it time-consuming.) ANYWAY ...

Right, the "benefit of the doubt" part was about figuring Jesus was right about that. The prayer that wasn't answered may have been "Let this cup pass." So whether or not the Father answers "Why have you forsaken me?" with any particular answer is beside the point as best I can tell; if Jesus is hanging on the cross, then the prayer "Let this cup pass" has been rejected, so that Jesus dies a particularly horrible death, condemned despite his innocence.

I think the only answer to the prayer "Why have you forsaken me?" is the Suffering Servant Song in Isaiah 52-53: "It was the LORD's will to crush him ... with his stripes we are healed."

Enigman said...

Thanks, that's new to me, so I'll have to think about it. (It had occurred to me that "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" also sounds like a prayer to die soon, since Heaven would have seemed as real for the speaker as Home does for us, in which case it would seem to have been an answered prayer.)