Godforsakenness July 18, 2014

In an appreciative response to Bruce Marshall’s piece on Hegelian Trinitarian theology, Paul Molnar questions whether, as Marshall argues, we cannot affirm that the Son is abandoned by the Father without concluding that the Son has ceased to be God.

Molnar writes, “The Father and Spirit remained one in being with the Son who became incarnate and experienced humiliation and death in order to reconcile the world from both the divine and the human sides. The issue here is this: Do suffering and death belong to God’s nature from all eternity? Do they become divine attributes? . . . Let us suppose that forsakenness or abandonment should be understood in the restricted sense that [Christ] experiences our guilt and death in which we as sinners are abandoned by God who restores our humanity in Christ to proper union with God. Then we may reasonably ask: “why must it be the case that if Jesus undergoes divine abandonment . . . he must ‘cease to be God’?” (171). 

Since being forsaken by God is the very definition of death, if Jesus suffers death for us in persona nostra, then He must suffer abandonment.

(Molnar, “A Response: Beyond Hegel with Karl Barth and T.F. Torrance,” Pro Ecclesia 23:2 [2014] 165-73.)

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