“Was Jesus truly, objectively forsaken by God on the cross, or did He merely feel forsaken?”

"We ought to look to the Old Testament concept of forsakenness to rightly understand what Jesus meant when He said that He was forsaken by God on the cross" - Ref21

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AndyE's picture

This subject was discussed briefly at the DBTS blog last year.  The difficulty is how to deal with Jesus being forsaken by God and bearing the full wrath of God, while at the same time maintaining the unity of the Godhead. Is it theologically possible for God to be estranged from God?  I agree with the sentiment of the article here, but I’m not sure how to resolve the resulting trinitarian difficulty.

Jonathan Charles's picture

Totally agree with above statement. If the sinner deserves a death that separates the sinner from God, how could Christ die a death that truly severed Him from God and yet the Trinity be unbroken?  I've always been careful to avoid saying anything like "Christ became a sinner for us on the cross."  The author seems to come close to that in saying that the Father was angry at the Son.  There might be some OT references where God is angry at those He forsakes, but I'm not sure if that carries over to Christ Who bore our guilt, yet did not become a sinner. 

Pastor Rob V's picture

because we have one person, the Son of God who had two natures. He had a divine nature as God and a human nature without the mark of original sin. Jesus was worthy of dying in our place on the Cross because as a man He was a perfect man. When we take the Lords Supper I will often make the point that He was the best of us. The Father literally made the Son culpable for the sins of the entire race by transferring our guilt upon Him. John the Baptist said in John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! When the Son took on our sins then He experienced the spiritual separation that  those who don't receive Christ presently experience and will fully experience when they are in Hell. Once Jesus is separated from His Father then the literal wrath of the Father was unleashed on Him. This probably happened on the Cross when He said in Matthew 27:46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" (which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"). One question when discussing Hell is why is it forever? It is because a human being could never pay the debt of an Eternal Sin committed against an Eternal God. Yet the Son of God who is eternal is the only one who could take the heat of God's just wrath. As a perfect man without sin He is able to assume sins that were not His so that He can become the Savior. It's why we have to have faith in Him. Only He was worthy. Revelation 5:12 In a loud voice they were saying: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" So we can see how the Son of God with two natures works to our benefit. He is a sinless human. He can assume all the sins of the world. Who else could even bear up under it? He was an eternal being who can take on eternal sins committed before a perfect and Holy God. This eternal being can literally pay an eternal sin debt which is the wrath of God the Father. While paying the eternal debt He can then justify us by the faith we have in Him as Savior. It truly is the reason why I love Him so much. It is because He took my Hell upon Himself. He was separated from His Father with whom He had perfect communion with for all time and before there was time. It's why I call Him Savior and live everyday to try to make Him Lord because who wouldn't love someone who did all that?

Since Jesus was perfect humanity and perfect deity, then His separation from the Father was temporary. Once the sin debt was paid then there is no longer any need for punishment. On the Cross He was able to pay an eternal sin debt within an allotted period of time.
 

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