Monday, March 02, 2009

Did God the Father Suffer when Jesus was Crucified?

The Church rejected Patripassian Modalistic Monarchianism. But I wonder how many Christians would affirm it if it were explained to them?

18 comments:

Gordon Knight said...

I have argued that God did suffer. And I think Marilyn McCord Adams argues the same.

The great thing about the incarnation is that it bridges the ontologicaly gap between infinite deity and finite creation, allowing God to really know what it is like to be us

Jason Pratt said...

I think the suffering of God the Father has to be included in any orthodox trinitarian account of the Passion, on pain of introducing a schism either between the substances of the Persons (i.e. tri-theism, not monotheistic trinitarianism) or else introducing a schism in the two-natures of Christ. (The third alternative being a docetism that says the suffering was merely some illusion.)

What has to be avoided is the idea that the Son was merely a mode of God and not a distinct Person (thus all the talk, especially from Jesus, about the Son and the Father being distinct Persons would have to be vastly mistaken or even outright misleading)--which is why Patripassianism is typically connected with modalism.

Another concept to be avoided, although this would apply just as well to the divine Person of the Son, is that any suffering of God occurred against His will; which would involve a major ontological denial of supernaturalistic theism (including trinitarianism).


I suspect, though, that another (illegitimate) factor in denying the suffering of God the Father is that it tends to play havoc with certain penal substitutionary concepts of salvation. {wry g}

JRP

Perezoso said...

When does Jeezuss become God? If he's God when alive (doesn't scripture suggest as much??the discussion with satan, etc.), then He must KNOW the entire time--so He knows he will be betrayed, arrested, crucified: it's His show! Ergo, He's a bit of a drama queen.

Gordon Knight said...

P: the best view is that God temporarily sheds his "omnis" to experience the world from a finite human point of view.

Perezoso said...

I beg to differ. The Jesus metaphor concerns justice as much as it does theology. So the State (Pilate, Caiaphas, etc.) hanged a good guy, a sage. Sort of like Johnny Cash tune, written large (--or Dostoyevsky, really).

Rob G said...

**the best view is that God temporarily sheds his "omnis" to experience the world from a finite human point of view.**

This is known as 'kenosis' and is well-attested in both the NT and the Church fathers.

Mike Darus said...

Victor,
Your question, "Did God the Father suffer when Jesus was crucified?"
is not identical to Patripassianism. Patripassianism claimed that the Father died on the cross. The orthodox Trinitarian position would only say that Jesus, the Son died on the cross. This could include suffering on the Father's behalf as He witnessed the crucifiction. And all this while we try to maintain the oneness of God...

Victor Reppert said...

Thanks, Mike.

Victor Reppert said...

But do you think a lot of Christians would accept Patripassianism if they had it described to them?

Ilíon said...

VR: "But do you think a lot of Christians would accept Patripassianism if they had it described to them?"

How can anyone understands and affirms 'Patripassianism' honestly be called a Christian. That's like calling a Mormon a Christian; one can *assert* it, but it just ain't so.

Ilíon said...

GK: "The great thing about the incarnation is that it bridges the ontologicaly gap between infinite deity and finite creation, allowing God to really know what it is like to be us"

Ah, yes: the Little God cannot know what it is like and what it means to be a human being unless he becomes one. For, after all, *I* cannot grasp *your* pains or joys unless I have experienced the same.

But, I must wonder, is the Little God unable to understand *me,* unless he becomes me? Is the Little God unable to love me, unless he becomes me? Is the Little God unable to judge me -- having no standing to do so -- unless he becomes me?

Ilíon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ilíon said...

In contrast, the Living God became one of us for our benefit -- and as doing so is a reflection of his own character -- not to remedy any deficiency within himself.

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Sahale said...

Sahale,

Yes, The Father did feel an emotional void that we also feel based on the results of a tragidy. The Father can feel He does have emotion.
This is an overlooked part of the experience of the crucifiction that makes this event personal.
When the Cross of Christ becomes personal to any soul it is the begining of a new life for that one.