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According to trinitarian theology, Jesus is both 100% man and 100% God. It is said that Jesus, being 100% God, died. Therefore, God died.

I know that 1/3 of God did not die, because that would be tritheism.

So I've considered two other positions:

  1. 100% of the living God stopped living. He died and three days later He rose again.

  2. God did not die in the regular human sense. Just as He is "eternally begotten", He is also "eternally dead".

Neither of these positions make any sense to me, so perhaps there is a third option. Could somebody please explain how God's death should be understood?

  • @Whirlwind991 you could put this into an answer if it was clear that all, or even virtually all, Trinitarian Christians held this approach to the death of Jesus. Is it? – Matt Gutting Oct 10 '16 at 1:42
  • I'd go for it, as long as you have some decent support (hopefully beyond purely Scriptural). – Matt Gutting Oct 10 '16 at 2:13
  • @Whirlwind991 Thank you for the comment. I have a few issues with this interpretation, but I'm waiting for a definitive answer before I reply so I don't misrepresent your position. – anonymouswho Oct 10 '16 at 15:18
  • Jesus being fully God/fully man is the hypostatic union, not Trinity doctrine. Also, the trinity doctrine holds that Jesus is fully God, not 1/3. God. He is 1/3 of the 'godhead.' – Jenai Rothnie Oct 10 '16 at 20:44
  • Shifted my comment to a full answer to allow people to comment on further if they wish – Whirlwind991 Oct 10 '16 at 22:14
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This is where the doctrine of the hypostatic union is essential. Jesus the Son of God is one person, but he has two natures: the divine nature, and a human nature. The two natures cannot be divided, but neither are they mixed in the union to become hybrid natures.

The divine nature cannot die, but the human nature can. Jesus died completely in his human nature. But we do not say that only the humanity of Jesus died - because it is a union in one person we must say that whole person of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God, died.

Jesus is definitely God, and so there is validity to saying that "God died", but when most people hear that they will understand it as meaning that the divine nature died. I would recommend not to say "God died" and instead say "Jesus Christ the Son of God died".

  • However, His divine nature also allowed him to ressurect His fully human body by His own power. So while Jesus died in His human self, He is also still alive in His human body after ascending to Heaven bodily like Moses and Elijah. He died but is risen by His divine nature. – Herkfixer Oct 10 '16 at 5:36
  • Thank you curiousdannii. I don't understand what you mean by..."But we do not say that only the humanity of Jesus died - because it is a union in one person we must say that whole person of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God, died." What other attributes define his "whole person" besides "human nature" and "divine nature", so that we "don't say only his human nature died", but we also don't say "his divine nature died"? – anonymouswho Oct 10 '16 at 13:41
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    Fair enough. I'll ask separate questions. Thank you curiousdannii. Answer accepted! – anonymouswho Oct 12 '16 at 1:48
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    @KorvinStarmast Oh dear. I am afraid that would be heresy:). It is indeed correct to say that God died on the Cross, because of the communicatio idiomatum (communion of properties). This can be tricky to understand, but the basic idea is this: the subject of any action is always the person. (In Scholastic terminology, actiones sunt suppositorum.) For instance, it is not, strictly speaking, my mind that thinks, my will that loves, my arm that throws the ball; it is I who think, love, and throw the ball through them. Similarly, the Son died in His human nature. – AthanasiusOfAlex Oct 12 '16 at 18:34
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    @KorvinStarmast No, because the operation (dying) was performed in the human nature only. Dying means the severance of the soul from the body. (Actually, at least for those of us who are not hypostatically united to the Word, it would more accurately characterized as the dissolution of the body, with the soul remaining intact.) This occurred with Jesus, too; his (human) soul was separated from his body. That could not happen, obviously, in the Divine Nature. – AthanasiusOfAlex Oct 13 '16 at 5:45
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Well Christ died in a biological sense, but even though he died physically he didn't 'die' spiritually. He didn't cease to exist after his death, therefore he didn't cease being divine.

1 Peter 3:18 gives a clue:

For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body, but made alive in the spirit, in which He also went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, while the ark was being built.

  • Thank you for the answer. This is a special case that brings up other concerns. First, in this position God did not die for our sins. Instead, he quickly jumped out of a body of flesh and went to hell to preach to a few people that lived before the flood. Then he was "risen" a second time at the resurrection. I thought I could address all my concerns in the comments, but if it's okay I'm going to ask more questions about this. Thanks again. – anonymouswho Oct 12 '16 at 16:29
  • Maybe you're miss-understanding, I am asserting that Christ fully God fully man died for our sins - he died as a man sinless, therefore offering the perfect sacrifice. But what I'm stating is that judging from the above scripture, is that when someone dies they don't cease to be themselves, they are simply transferred from one dimension (for lack of a better word) to another. Jesus even confirmed in John 2:19 and 10:18 that he would raise himself from the dead, something he could only do if fully God. Feel free to ask more if you need, no worries. – Whirlwind991 Oct 13 '16 at 0:03
  • Hey I'm not sure which denomination you prefer, but if you'll see my question here – anonymouswho Oct 13 '16 at 17:44
  • I have several issues with this passage. Here is a commentary that I believe is the only way this can be understood (besides all the trinity stuff)...Jamieson-Faussett-Brown Commentary – anonymouswho Oct 13 '16 at 17:48
1

When Jesus was on this earth, He was fully man and fully God, but He did not use His divine powers. Instead, He lived a life as a man, as the second Adam, and stood where Adam fell as a man.

For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift of grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. (Romans 5:15)

Therefore at the cross, it was the man Jesus that died. The perfect life He lived as man is what justifies us (Romans 5:18), and His condemnation as man is what pays for our condemnation. The God Jesus did not die nor ever can cease existing.

I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it back again (John 10:18)

This did not mean that His divine nature did not suffer. God the Son endured separation from the Father as our sin bearer.


The scripture is clear that Jesus increased in spirit as He grew, just like a man. "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him." (Luke 2:40). Jesus performed His miracles by faith in His Father, through the Holy Spirit. Had He accessed His divine powers, He would not have stood where Adam fell, and would not have proved God's laws for creations as perfect and just.

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    Saying that Jesus did not use his Godly nature would mean that the two natures were separable, which is a denial of Chalcedon. – curiousdannii Oct 11 '16 at 23:38
  • Though it is normal to say that he set aside certain powers of his divine nature. We just don't want to say that he set aside the nature. Although he didn't live as, for example, an omnipresent being, he still lived as the incarnate God-man, as the son of God. – curiousdannii Oct 12 '16 at 1:44
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    @curiousdannii The answer did not say He set aside His divine nature, He had it and He did not use it. He was an example to creations that God's laws are just and can be kept, and He could not "cheat" in this sense. – Beestocks Oct 13 '16 at 17:05
  • @KorvinStarmast His miracles were done by faith through the Holy Spirit. His disciples and the prophets also performed miracles by faith through the Holy Spirit, but in His name as they were sinful. – Beestocks Oct 13 '16 at 17:14
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    @curiousdannii On reflection, I've reworded "did not use divine nature" to "did not use divine powers" to avoid confusion. Thanks for the suggestion. – Beestocks Oct 13 '16 at 17:53
1

The Divinity of Jesus

It is crucial to first understand traditional Christology, and so the meaning of the doctrine 'Jesus is God.'

According to traditional Christianity, that Jesus is God means He is, as to His nature, θεος (the Greek word for 'God'). St. John opens His Gospel thus:

John 1:1 (DRB)

In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.

From the context you can see this doesn't mean 'the Word was with the Father and was the Father,' but that the Father, also known as God, is God, as is the Son.

This could only be possible if He shares the same nature or essence or substance (or 'what makes it what it is') of God the Father, “the only true God,”1 and as such is not a different God from Him, but the same God: in the words of the Nicene Creed: “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made; of one substance with the Father.”

The Hypostatic Union

The hypostatic union is the doctrine that the “Word [who is] God”1 has proper to Him two natures: the divine nature and the human nature are united in only one Person,2 the divine Word. (And importantly, not a hybrid nature ('neither truly fully man nor truly fully God'),3 but fully possessing each as a complete and independant nature in and of itself.)

If this sounds complicated, it is simply the teaching that “the Word [who is God] became flesh and tabernacled among us.”4 And so in “taking”5 human flesh, He did not change into another person, nor is another person introduced in the Incarnation event (i.e. no 'divine Son' and 'human Jesus'), but the one divine Word assumes a nature He did not before have for the purposes of Redemption as the New Adam 'from heaven, not from the dust:'6 “In the fulness of time, God sent forth His Son, born of woman...”7 The same Son, or Word, of God that had it in “mind”8 to become Incarnate is the same Son who was incarnated. He proceeded His birth, “from ancient times, from the days of eternity.”9

The issue at hand is who died at Calvary, not what died: did the Word take a human nature in which He cannot die, or one in which He can and did?

1 Corinthians 2:8 (DRB)

[If the princes of this world had known the hidden wisdom of God] they would never have crucified the Lord of glory.10

The Takeaway

Whatever is proper to the human nature Jesus took, or His divine nature, is proper to one and the same Jesus regardless.

Thus, whereas God cannot die in His divine nature, He, a divine person taking on a human nature, can die in a human nature, in which it is possible for Him to experience death.

Revelation 1:17-18 (DRB)

And when I had seen him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying: Fear not. I am the First and the Last, 18 And alive, and was dead, and behold I am living for ever and ever, and have the keys of death and of hell.

Thus, the First and the Last can be born (and thus have a mother) and die precisely and only because He took on a real human nature. So the negative sentiment underlying 'your God died' arguments fail to see that dying is an action God can do when He takes on a human nature—it had nothing to do with the quality of the divine nature or His abilities (i.e. the implied 'your God can be hurt' behind the argument). It's ineffably beautiful rather, that God, for whom it is laughably impossible to hurt or feel pain, went out of His way to be able to feel pain and be tortured, just to save a plethora of ungrateful wretches who spat at Him physically and spiritually at every moment while He was in such a state—just as He knew when He underwent it to redeem us from the fate we merited freely by our sin.

On one hand, it's a great miracle that the Word became flesh. On the other hand, it's not so unimaginable or impossible that the Creator of people (i.e. persons) could, instead of creating a soul with a new person, create a soul and body for a[n already existent] Person (the Word, His Son).11

It's tremendously easy for God to become flesh: what is amazing is that He did and what such a decision implies about His love for us.


Footnotes

1 John 17:3.

2 'Hypostatic union' contextually means 'the unity of person.' That is, the divine nature of Christ and His assumption of a human nature does not in any way imply a second 'person.' There is only one person, not two 'Jesuses.'

3 A heresy known as Monophysiticism, which is a Greek-derived term meaning 'One-natureism.' That is, in the Incarnation, the the divine and human nature were 'fused,' as it were,' into one new nature: 'divine-human nature.'

4 John 1:1, 14.

5 Philippians 2:7.

6 1 Corinthians 15:47.

7 Galatians 4:4.

8 Galatians 4:4.

9 Micah 5:2; cf. Matthew 2:6.

10 Psalm 24:8.

11 cf. Hebrews 10:5.

-1

Jesus came as God in the flesh. He died in the flesh and his soul descended into hell. Having paid the price, he was rejoined with His resurrected flesh.

Death means separation. Physical death: separation from the body. Spiritual death: separation from the Spirit of God. Resurrected means being rejoined. Soul joined with body. Spirit joined with the Spirit of God.

Jesus died in that his soul was separated from his body and his spirit was separated from the Spirit of God. Having suffered those deaths, he satisfied the Law. But being blameless himself, he was resurrected in both body and spirit.

But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. -- Luke 12:5

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

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    This answer would be improved if it cited sources showing that this is a common interpretation, and who believes it. – Mr. Bultitude Oct 13 '16 at 19:58
-2

Yes, you are right, Jesus died, the Bible says that God detests sin, and at that period on the cross, Jesus was an epitome of sin, that was why for the first time Jesus referred to God as "My God", and not "My Father", because he knew that at that period, God had completely left him or he was no longer connected to God. So that means Jesus died as a man at that time and not an angel or a spiritual being.

So when Jesus finally died, all those sinful burden he carried was flushed away from him and he resurrected in the third day as he foretold his disciples

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

  • Jesus referred to the Father as "My God" at other times than just the cross... – curiousdannii Oct 11 '16 at 0:06
  • Sorry, but can you give me a Bible verse to justify your comment?. Pls don't take this the wrong way – Prince Oct 11 '16 at 8:37
  • John 20:17 though that is afterwards – curiousdannii Oct 11 '16 at 8:55
  • From "...to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'", Jesus knew that at that time there were people who didn't consider Jehovah as their Father but as their God, that is why he had to include, "...to my God and your God". So I guess my answer still stands. – Prince Oct 11 '16 at 9:14
  • I would also ask you to explain why you used the "epitome of sin" to describe Jesus. In what sense are you using that term? Jesus himself was sinless. – KorvinStarmast Oct 12 '16 at 14:15

protected by Caleb Dec 26 '18 at 8:04

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