Did God Die?

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Frederick Nietzsche, in his book the Joyous Science, famously claimed “God
is dead, and we have killed him.” Nietzsche’s book led to a focus on human
potential and responsibility since, according to Nietzsche, there was no God to save
humanity. Scripture presents us with a different and far more appealing option. The
Bible shows us that Jesus is true God (Jn. 1:1) and, at the incarnation, he remains
true man as well (Heb. 2:17). The Son did not stop being God to become human.
Instead, the Son became what he was not without ceasing to be what he was. The
Son assumed a complete human nature to his own person.

The incarnation was necessary for God to die because God cannot die
without a human nature. The Gospels provide evidence for us to know that Jesus is
both human and divine. As we finish the four Gospels, we should be able to say
with Thomas, “my Lord and my God” (Jn. 20:28). So, since Jesus was true God and
true human, when he died it is appropriate to say that God himself died.

So, we can describe the death of Jesus as the death of God. The divinity did
not die. That is impossible. The human nature which the son assumed died and since
that human nature was now joined to the person of the Son, it is right to describe the
death of Jesus as the death of God. Acts 20:28 where Paul taught that God
“purchased the church with his own blood.” This purchase price was only payable
by God. Humanity was the only currency which could be used. Only the divine
nature is valuable enough to pay for all the sins of the world and glorify sinful
humanity. The human nature had to be assumed by God so that humanity would be
represented by God (Rom. 5:12-21), saved by God’s presence (Matt. 1:23), and
brought up into the family of God (Gal. 3:26-27).

Christ’s death was foreshadowed in the animal sacrifices prior to the church
(Heb. 9:18-28). His death was prophesied in passages like Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22.
Jesus spoke of his own death (Mk. 8:31-32). Luke’s record of the church was built
upon the foundation of Jesus’ death and resurrection (Acts 1:8; 2:23). Paul placed
the death and resurrection of the Savior at the heart of the Gospel message
(1 Cor. 15; Rom. 6:1-5). God did die. But God died so that we can live. His death
covers our sins and raises us to life.

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