I have heard a religious definition of death as separation from God. This makes the death of Christ--God himself--a matter of incomprehensible existential crisis. Adding to this the imputation of sin on the Son, and the wrath of the Father poured out on him, it makes me wonder if this event does not affect the relationship of the members of the trinity in some permanent way. Is there any evidence of this in scripture?

  • Upvoted. I'm tempted to create multiple accounts just so I can upvote this more. I never even thought about this question. I hope someone answers it (and other readers upvote so the question bubbles to the top).
    – user1694
    Jul 30, 2012 at 10:31
  • Interesting question. I would have to agree about the death being separation thing, and that Christs death did indeed separate him in some sense from the Father, hence his call about "Why have you forsaken me?". in fact I think he experienced spiritual death (separation from God) prior to his physical death (separation from his mortal body). However with the reasoning you pose, wouldn't there be a conflict with God's immutability? Of course there must be an effect, but we cannot understand it as a permanent change to his internal character.
    – Caleb
    Jul 30, 2012 at 13:17
  • That's a good counter-argument. It seems like sound reasoning that it would contradict immutability (which is not without scriptural support itself), but I could potentially be convinced either way. It might be useful if you could expand on that to counter Affable Geek's position.
    – Ray
    Jul 30, 2012 at 13:50
  • This is one of those questions that makes me doubt the trinity. If all three are equal why was the Son offered not the Father? If both are equally important why does the separation make the son cry "why have you forsaken me". The father would've been just as much forsaken. Anyway great question. It definitely gets me to think a lot of things. Jul 30, 2012 at 18:42

2 Answers 2


Phillippians 2 says that because of Jesus' death, God the Father exalted Jesus. As 2:9 specifically says (and note the therefore):

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

This theme is picked up by Athanasius, in De Incarnacione. His soteriology says our redemption was a gift that the Father gave the Son for his willingness to go through this separation. It's probably my favorite theory of how salvation works. The idea is that being God, both God the Father and God the Son already had everything. But out of an abundance of love, God the Father gave God the Son the opportunity to redeem that which was lost.


I have never thought about it that way. Here is my view:

The idea of separation is the loss of fellowship and peace due to sin. Christ, as a man lost this peace and fellowship from God when becoming sin for us, but as God he lost nothing and can never loose anything. As God, Christ could endure the whole weight of sin, which as a man he never could have. As God he could bring the human soul and body back up from the separation. I see no temporary or permanent change in the Son with the Father. This was human nature taking the punishment of human sin, but as God this could not destroy the God-Man. The result of this work was the exaltation of the human nature of Christ into his glorious kingdom. The Eternal Son was not exalted, per se, as God can’t be made higher than He eternally is.

I think the immutability of God is the controlling idea here.

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