April 10, 2020

Cry of Dereliction or Trust?

Crucifixion, Grünewald

Recommended reading on this Good Friday:

“He’s Calling For Elijah! Why We Still Mishear Jesus,” by Al Hsu at CT.

• • •

Al Hsu has written an eye-opening exposition of Jesus’ words from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34; Matt 27:46). Why did Jesus utter these words and what do they signify?

Hsu notes the answer Christians usually give: “God had to turn his back on Jesus because Jesus took on the sin of the whole world, and God can’t look upon sin, so he turned away. We hear this in sermons and worship songs. ‘The Father turns his face away.’ ‘God can’t stand sin, so he turned his back on Jesus.'”

But this answer causes a number of problems for our thinking, not least of which is the possibility of a “broken Trinity.” Was there a moment when the eternal Godhead was actually divided against itself? Actually, as Al Hsu observes, the text never tells us specifically what this cry from the cross means. The Gospel texts simply record Jesus’ words and let them stand for us to ponder.

In order for us to understand what is commonly called, “the cry of dereliction,” we will have to look elsewhere.

Crucifixion, Grünewald (detail)

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” as most recognize, is a quote from Psalm 22. In fact, Hsu suggests that Jesus’ words are intended not merely as a personal cry, but as a pointed reference to that psalm. “Is Jesus saying ‘I have been forsaken by God’? No. He’s declaring, ‘Psalm 22! Pay attention! This psalm, this messianic psalm, applies to me! Do you see it? Do you see the uncanny way that my death is fulfilling this psalm?'”

Furthermore, we must understand the nature of Psalm 22. This song is a lament, the most common type of psalm in the Book of Psalms. Laments give voice to the process of dealing with God when we go through times of distress and disorientation. Laments are filled with questions such as, “Why have you hidden your face from me, O God?” and “How long before you deliver me, O Lord?” God seems absent, far away, and disinterested in our plight. Through the lament form, we express our faith by crying out to him, complaining, expressing our pain and discouragement, questioning God and arguing with him, and honestly struggling with the seeming disconnect between God’s promises and what we are experiencing. The process of seeking God when he is hard to find is portrayed in vivid, earthy, honest detail.

But there is something else. In almost every lament, there is a turning point. As we work through the process of what Pastor David Hansen calls, “long wandering prayer,” our confidence in God returns and we begin to lay hold of his promises for deliverance and vindication. We seek until we find.

This is the case for Psalm 22. Note the turning point near the end of the psalm:

From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued me.
I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him;
stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
For he did not despise or abhor
the affliction of the afflicted;
he did not hide his face from me,
but heard when I cried to him.

Psalm 22:21-24 (emphasis mine)

As Hsu says, “Jesus is declaring: Right now, you are witnessing Psalm 22. I seem forsaken right now, but my death is not the end of the story. God has not despised my suffering. I will be vindicated. The Lord has heard my cry. Because death is not the end. Verse 30–31: “Future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!

“Jesus is not saying that God has forsaken him. He’s declaring the opposite. He’s saying that God is with him, even in this time of seeming abandonment, and that God will vindicate him by raising him from the dead.”

• • •

God did not forsake Jesus on the cross. That is, in fact, the opposite of what happened. Jesus felt like he was abandoned, and gave voice to that by appealing to the lament of Psalm 22. However, as a faithful pray-er in the tradition of the Psalms, Jesus was actually expressing his faith that God would never leave him or forsake him. In the darkest moment ever to fall upon planet Earth, Jesus went through the darkest night of the soul ever experienced by a human being. Yet, though God could not be seen in that darkness, Jesus sought him until he could say, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

Comments

  1. Chesterton, “Orthodoxy”, Chapter VIII “The Romance of Orthodoxy”:

    “Lastly, this truth is yet again true in the case of the common modern attempts to diminish or to explain away the divinity of Christ. The thing may be true or not; that I shall deal with before I end. But if the divinity is true it is certainly terribly revolutionary. That a good man may have his back to the wall is no more than we knew already; but that God could have his back to the wall is a boast for all insurgents for ever. Christianity is the only religion on earth that has felt that omnipotence made God incomplete. Christianity alone has felt that God, to be wholly God, must have been a rebel as well as a king. Alone of all creeds, Christianity has added courage to the virtues of the Creator. For the only courage worth calling courage must necessarily mean that the soul passes a breaking point—and does not break. In this indeed I approach a matter more dark and awful than it is easy to discuss; and I apologise in advance if any of my phrases fall wrong or seem irreverent touching a matter which the greatest saints and thinkers have justly feared to approach. But in that terrific tale of the Passion there is a distinct emotional suggestion that the author of all things (in some unthinkable way) went not only through agony, but through doubt. It is written, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” No; but the Lord thy God may tempt Himself; and it seems as if this was what happened in Gethsemane. In a garden Satan tempted man: and in a garden God tempted God. He passed in some superhuman manner through our human horror of pessimism. When the world shook and the sun was wiped out of heaven, it was not at the crucifixion, but at the cry from the cross: the cry which confessed that God was forsaken of God. And now let the revolutionists choose a creed from all the creeds and a god from all the gods of the world, carefully weighing all the gods of inevitable recurrence and of unalterable power. They will not find another god who has himself been in revolt. Nay, (the matter grows too difficult for human speech,) but let the atheists themselves choose a god. They will find only one divinity who ever uttered their isolation; only one religion in which God seemed for an instant to be an atheist.”

    • Jack Heron says

      The passage jumped to my mind as well. I’ve also heard a view advanced that the cry on the cross was, in some strange way, the completion of the Incarnation. Being born in a human body might be thought enough, but God went further – he became human, and everything that goes with it. Death, yes; pain, yes: but also despair and doubt and that particular kind of awful (awe-full indeed) resolve that despairs and yet continues.

      “Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.” – C.S. Lewis, ‘The Screwtape Letters’

  2. Years ago I read that to recite a portion of a Psalm or Scripture was, in Jewish exposition, to recall the entire Psalm or portion, and the point being made was that on the cross Jesus was referencing the entire Psalm, including the note of victory on which it ends.

    • No different now for those in liturgical churches. Magnificat; Te Deum; O Sacred Head; A Mighty Fortress; etc…

    • True. Jesus used a rabinnical teaching method referred to as “remez”. As most males around the cross at that moment would have had intimate knowledge of the Pentatuch and the Psalms, Jesus was recalling to them not only Psalm 22 …but also Psalm 23 and 24, thought originally to be all of one writing. From lament (Psalm 22) to comfort (Psalm 23) and redemption/reward (Psalm 24). History was unfolding before their very eyes.

      For an audio teaching on the subject, you might want to listen to Doug Greenwold’s (of Preserving Bible Times) recent conversation on Broken Road Radio. Runs some 39 minutes, but is well worth the time: http://brokenroadradio.com/morning-show-april-4-2012/

  3. Richard Hershberger says

    “Hsu notes the answer Christians usually give: “God had to turn his back on Jesus because Jesus took on the sin of the whole world, and God can’t look upon sin, so he turned away. We hear this in sermons and worship songs. ‘The Father turns his face away.’ ‘God can’t stand sin, so he turned his back on Jesus.’””

    Is this really the response most Christians give? (Or are use using “Christians” here to mean Evangelical Protestants? And if so, even then…, really?) Because while I can’t claim to have studied this particular question in any depth, I found that interpretation novel and, um…, theologically startling.

    Jesus, being fully human, had human responses to his environment. So it should not surprise us that his response to being crucified was not peppy cheerfulness. Using this Psalm was both a lamentation and an affirmation of God. He knew how to pack a lot of meaning into a few words.

    • Is this really the response most Christians give? (Or are use using “Christians” here to mean Evangelical Protestants? And if so, even then…, really?) Because while I can’t claim to have studied this particular question in any depth, I found that interpretation novel and, um…, theologically startling.

      It’s certainly the response I’ve heard most often. I’ve heard it from all sorts of people, in all sorts of traditions.

  4. Unfortunately, yes, this is an interpretation I’ve heard quite a lot among Evangelicals and Reformed.

    • I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the first interpretation. God did forsake Christ, and it is a mystery, but Christ’s reference to Psalm 22 shows Christ wasn’t puzzled by being forsaken. That’s what bugs me is when pastors ponder why Christ was asking the quesiton. It’s malpractice to preach it without reference to Psalm 22. Of course he knew what was going on.

      Also, you could keep going with Psalm 22. It even predicts the descent into hell and the resurrection of the dead, the spreading of the Gospel and the church.

      All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
      before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
      even the one who could not keep himself alive.
      Posterity shall serve him;
      it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
      they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
      that he has done it.
      (Psalm 22:29-31 ESV)

      • Richard Hershberger says

        “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the first interpretation. God did forsake Christ…”

        It’s not the act of forsaking that I find startling in the interpretation, but the motivation attributed to God for this act.

  5. I loved this article! This is what evangelicals claim, and it’s not true, and it drives me crazy!
    I think it was brave to print it in CT!

    I mean, how crazy is it to say that God can’t look on sin. He looks at sin all the time–Satan is often in His presence!

    Also, for those of us who have felt abandoned and forsaken by God in our worst, most painful hour, knowing that Jesus was not really abandoned by God at His worst hour is comforting. Knowing that he felt like he was, but he never let go of the promises of God inspire of those feelings….that’s how I relate to Jesus.

  6. I would be hesitant to over think Jesus’ thinking at that moment. I would imagine that He felt abandoned beaten and alone. From the weight of that unbearable darkness He cried out. He wasn’t processing how this would be interpreted down the line. He was experiencing crucifixion in all it’s unvarnished gore. Sweating blood in the garden was in anticipation of this. He had to feel the isolation of every lonely person, of every person who has been violated and every person who has lost hope. He wasn’t thinking about it, He was experiencing it. It had now crashed down upon Him and He yelled in fear , exhaustion and torment. Ipso facto, He was abandoned. However we wish to interpret what went on the the Trinity, Christ Jesus the human was experiencing what it is to be brutalized without relief and with no help at hand, not even from His Father. I may not be saying anything different than the basic tenet of this post, I’m only saying it can be over intellectualized. His ability to remain cognizant throughout was astounding but for that moment, in my humble opinion, there was no awareness of anything but pain. That legitimizes Him as a King and High priest for all who suffer and are heavy laden . They can seek Him out and He can say, ‘Yes, I know what you feel in every way and I can help you’.

  7. Dormant Barbarian says

    Perhaps I do not quite understand the given “evangleical” explanation that “God can’t look upon sin, so he turned away.” It seems to suggest that the Father’s role in all this was merely passive–that He simply chose to do nothing while the Son was dying on the cross. Yet the conclusion of this post that “God did not forsake Jesus on the cross” but that He merely “felt” forsaken also misses the mark. The prophet Isaiah boldly proclaims, “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush Him; He has put Him to grief” (53:10a). The apostle Paul echoes, “Christ redeemed us fromt he curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13a) and “By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, He condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom. 8:3b). The cross is filled with paradox that is simply confessed but not understood. The immortal God died. The indivisible Trinity was ripped asunder. The Father damned the Son to hell. For us.

    • I agree. The physical brutality is solidly eclipsed by the spiritual brutality that somehow occurred.

    • Umm… Christ’s descent to hell is in our creeds and is hinted at in Peter. But, it’s never traditionally been viewed as “The Father damning the Son to hell.” Peter’s writings and church tradition alike describe Jesus descending to hell in order to liberate the “imprisoned spirits” (1 Pet 3:19) and to burst out of hell “leading captives in his train” (Eph 4:8).

      If you believe that “spiritual brutality” happened on the cross, the question I would ask is: what would that “spiritual brutality” have accomplished? What Scriptural evidence can you provide that any amount of “brutality” can wash away any amount of sin?

      • Dormant Barbarian says

        When I write, “The Father damned the Son to hell,” this is not what is being confessed in the Apostles’ Creed as “He descended inot hell.” Christ’s descent into hell is a part of His exaltation and victory over evil. That is, these are two different matters.
        As for the Scriptural witness of “brutality” washing away sin–I’ve already mentioned Christ becoming a curse for us (Gal. 3:13), that is the Father cursing the Son, and the Father condemning, that is damning, “sin in the flesh” of Christ (Rom. 8:3b). The prophet Isaiah makes very clear that “it was the will of the Lord to crush Him” (53:10a).
        There is also Hebrews 9-10, which offers great insight into the very brutal sacrifices of the Old Testament pointing to the sacrifice of our Lord. In fact, “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Heb. 9:22ff.). I’ll let you look up Mt. 26:36 ff., Acts 2:23, Rom. 5:9-21, 2 Cor. 5:21, Phil 2:8, Heb. 2:10, 5:8, etc.

  8. What I find most worrisome in the way some of us evangelicals approach the crucifixion is the idea that the _pain_ inflicted on Jesus somehow canceled out our sin – that is, the “divine child abuse theory of atonement.” The Bible contains no indication that a certain amount of suffering cancels out a certain amount of pain. Nor does it ever teach that the penalty of sin is that God will one day torture us (e.g. in hell). The only place in the Bible I see even a hint of Christ’s _suffering_ being salvific is Isaiah 53, but the Bible as a whole consistently teaches that death, not pain, is the penalty for sin.

    We have to go to extraordinary non-Biblical lengths to explain 1. how _Jesus_ suffering pain could be a substitute for _us_ being punished or 2. how Jesus could endure enough pain in those three hours to cancel the sins of the whole world. If we find ourselves making convoluted arguments with no supporting Scripture (e.g. “Being God, he could suffer infinitely in finite time”), that ought to be a red flag to us. There’s a simpler and much more biblical view of atonement: 1. we are one with Christ through faith (1 Cor 6:17); 2. therefore, when he died, we died with him (Gal 2:20); 3. whoever has died is free from sin (Rom 6:7).

    So, his suffering must mean something different. By suffering violence, he was making a “public spectacle” (Col 2:15) to draw our attention to the violence rooted in our hearts and in our injust institutions. In that sense, his crucifixion _does_ show us the ugliness of sin. He was also, I think, suffering in solidarity with all those who suffer, so that we can know that God loves us enough to suffer with us in those times. And, by resisting the use of violence or power to the very end, he was showing us the nonviolent path that we, too, are called to walk in (Lk 6:27-36; Mt 5:38-48; Rom 12:14-21; Jn 18:11).

    • One more quotation to add showing how Jesus’s sufferings are an example to us of nonviolent love: “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps… When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Pet 2:21-23)

      Because the church is so often complicit in violence of all sorts, we go to great lengths to avoid letting ourselves, when looking at the cross, behold the ugliness of our own violence and be driven to repentance. We ask Jesus to save us, but we shut our ears when he asks us to follow in his steps…

      • To think that the crucifixion is merely an “example” to practice non-violence renders the whole thing meaningless. To me, that’s the equivalent of all those Buddhist monks who light themselves on fire. The sentiment behind it is nice, but nothing real is occurring except for a poor man being killed.

        No, instead, the crucifixion does have meaning. Something actually transpired there on that cross that saved sinners like you and me on a very real cosmological and collective level. It’s not just some mere symbol or demonstration, like some hunger fast of self-immolation. A divine transaction occurred there on that cross, one that saves sinners like you and me at the expense of Christ, the Lamb of God.

    • Very simply put ( I am comfortable on that plane) the crucifixion was the sacrifice of an innocent lamb. Physically it needs no more elaboration. We’ve read and seen movies. His cry of abandonment tells me something horrible was going on in the non visible realm. He wasn’t complaining about the physical pain. He implies, or states outright if you will, that Eloi has left Him. That is what I consider the brutal separation on a universal scale. It is a brute happening like killing a little lamb. I don’t know what the time line is as regards the sacrifice verses the drawing of souls from Hades and all of that and I don’t know how much pain it takes to atone for how much sin; many many people were crucified but we only have this account of someone sweating blood in anticipation of it. Does that mean that Jesus feared it that much more than all those other victims or was He anticipating something far more horrific?

  9. I think we should note that this is one of the few places in scripture where God (Eloihim) is addressed in the singular (Eloi). Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the Aramaic translation is included, because this fact gets lost when we just read the Greek.

    So, while Jesus appears to be quoting Psalm 22, it his calling out to God in the singular form, as Son calling out Father, which may give addtional meaning to this passage. It would also explain why those around were confused as to what he was saying, as he was using a very unusual form of address to God.

    • So you’re saying that ?? with direct reference to ???? is rarely used in the OT? Matthew gives the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew ??? whereas Mark gives the Greek transliteration of the Aramaic ????, both of which mean “My God.”

      • I guess my Hebrew letters didn’t show up in the iPhone display; it might show up if you’re using Firefox on a computer. The Hebrew for God is el, My God is eli; the Aramaic for God is elah, and My God is elahi.

      • And my first sentence is: So you’re saying that el with direct reference to YHWH is rarely used in the OT?

        • To clarify, Elohim the plural of El, occurs 2347 times in the OT. By contrast, El as a reference to God appears only 213 times in the OT. 128 of those occurrences appear in either the Psalms or Job. So outside of the Psalms or Job, El as a reference to God only occurs 85 times in the rest of the entire OT.

          The singular form of God (El) used in conjunctions with the suffix for “my” (yod) occurs only 9 times in the OT. Namely, in Exodus 15:2, and Psalms 18:2; 22:1; 63:1; 68:24; 89:26;102:24;118:28; 140:6. As a form of address (used as a vocative as Jesus did), it is even rarer still.

          So Jesus used a word which occurs in that form only 9 times in the entire Old Testament, and outside of the Psalms, only once. No wonder the people were confused.

          I should note that Greek only uses the singular form of address for God, so the fact that Jesus was using a very rare form of address to God and the reason why the people were confused would have been totally lost had we not been provided with the Aramaic or Hebrew transliterations. (Except of course for the fact that he was likely quoting from Psalm 22.)

          • Some instances of el being used as a form of address:

            Num 12:16, 16:22
            Ps 10:12, 16:1, 17:6, 22:1, 83:2, 89:27, 102:25, 139:17,23

          • Hi Eric,

            Numbers 12:16 does not include the word for God.
            Numbers 16:22 is in the plural form.
            Psalm 10:12; 16:1; 17:6; 83:2; 139:17,23 do not have the suffix for “my” and are best translated “O God”..
            Psalm 89:27 is in my list as Psalm 89:26. (One of us is out, in the following case too)
            Psalm 102:25 is in my list as Psalm 102:24

            Not trying to be difficult, but it does show how rare a form of address Jesus did use.

          • Clarification/explanation:

            I was looking for instances where el (for YHWH, not other gods) is used in the vocative as a form of direct address. I did not consider the suffix “my” to be important or what I was looking for. That time I used a different Hebrew Bible (BHS) and database morph search (WIVU).

            I meant Numbers 12:13, not 12:16 – my typo

            Numbers 16:22 reads el elohey haruchot – singular

            I explained why I did not look for the “my” suffix – the point your original post made as I understood it was the rarity of calling elohim/YHWH “el,” not the rarity of “my God” (eli)

            Re: Ps 89:27/26 and 102:25/24, my numbering is the Hebrew numbering since I searched a BHS database; in the Hebrew Bible the ascription/title of a Psalm is often verse 1. Thus, the English verse 1 is actually verse 2 in the Hebrew, etc.
            (Also, 89:27 probably shouldn’t have been in my list since el (eli) is a predicate noun – “You are…my God” and I deliberately ignored those (or meant to).)

          • Thanks for the clarification Eric. I think that we can agree that whether we are looking at the fact that Jesus used a vocative singular (O God), a possesive singular (not sure if that is the right term) (My God), or the combined possesive vocative singular (O my God), they are all rare forms of address to God.

            P.S. I am envious of your access to the various tools.

          • The tools come at a high price. 🙂 Logos is my drug of choice, but I have yet to have the time to master the software (hopefully I’ll acquire a laptop by this summer so I can use my train commute time to do so), let alone become rudimentarily proficient in most of the languages; my NT Greek is pretty good, my OT Hebrew is awful, and my Aramaic and Coptic (for, e.g., GThomas, as well as the Bohairic and Sahidic NTs) and Syriac (for the Peshitta) are non-existent. I don’t care to learn Latin, and I don’t have time, anyway; at my age (60 tomorrow), I have to triage my time.

            Some seminarian or pastor is going to get a great deal on a wealth of stuff when I sell or transfer my Logos license to her or him when I die or find I can’t use it profitably anymore. 🙂

    • Okay, Michael Bell, I see what you mean. I did a search in Logos, and it looks like the only other time where eli is used in the same way is Psalm 102:25. Thanks for pointing that out.

      • Darn, and I just spent the last hour going through my Hebrew Bible armed with a Strong’s concordance!

        • I did an inadequate search. I only looked at definition 5 of el = god in the Lexham Interlinear; I should have also looked at definition 7 = God (I don’t know how the Logos Lexham morphology differentiates). So it will take a little time to compare all of these to Ps 22.

  10. Clay Knick says

    I’m reading, “Forsaken” by Tom McCall right now which has deepened my understanding of these words of Jesus very much. Hsu’s position has been informed by this book, I think.

  11. Ok, I’ve gotta run a possible 3rd interpretation by y’all, because somewhere along the line this is the one I was taught.
    Jesus became sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God. With me so far? In the Jewish temple system, when a man sacrificed a lamb for his sins, he laid his hands on the head of the lamb immediately prior to its decapitation. This was to signify the transference of his sins to the beast so that it could properly die as his substitute. So the theory goes that the cry of dereliction/trust was uttered because, at that instant, the sin of the world was placed on him so that it could be put to death in him. Jesus uttered the cry as an expression of pain and confusion as for the first time he experienced having sin, not from any act of his own, but as ours was imputed to him. As the spotless, sinless lamb of God, this was something completely foreign to his nature, and as one who had continually enjoyed perfect communion with the Father, this defiling weight may have felt like divine rejection.

    • That’s exactly what I think went on. Christ’s communion was broken with the Father. He was experiencing something, the very thing he dreaded, for the first ( and only) time. He who had lived His life with dominion over all things was internally shattered and left without any frame of reference. All moorings were lost. He was alone in the darkness He had spoken of but never experienced. He was dispossessed of himself. When He commended himself to the Father he may have made the greatest statement of faith ever uttered if He was still in that state. I don’t know when it turned, whether it was before or after His physical passing but when He cried out, He was abandoned. Does that mean the Father was not there? I don’t know but Jesus could not see Him.

  12. “Jesus is not saying that God has forsaken him. He’s declaring the opposite.”

    I agree with that. Jesus told his disciples that he and the Father were united. If they were united, God the Father could never have abandoned Jesus because he was right there with Jesus on the cross. It is not that God the Father is tormenting Jesus so that he doesn’t have to torment us for our sins. God was “absorbing” all the sins of the world through Jesus and showing his great love for all of humankind. God never gave up on seeking communion with humans and He never will.

    As for God not being able to look upon sin…Jesus spent time dining with sinners because they were the ones needing him. He not only looked upon sin, he loved the sinners. He was able to see them as like sheep without a shepherd. The religious leaders were not shepherding them; the leaders were making their lives more difficult. Jesus pointed this out over and over again, telling us what leaders should be like. Leaders should be servants the way that Jesus served his disciples.

    • Hmmm…I dunno about that.

      What happened on the Cross was that the Son was denied by the Father, for the first and only time in the cosmological history of the universe. I don’t think Jesus’s words were a mere alliteration to Psalm 22, they were in actuality Jesus’s declaration of what was occurring at that moment. God abandoned Jesus. The Father denied the Son, so that no other child had to be denied by the Father ever again.

      “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

      • This sounds like speculation and inference. AFAIK there is no explicit statement in Scripture that “the Son was denied by the Father, for the first and only time.” It may be a valid inference, and it may be how it appeared to the onlookers and maybe even to Jesus himself, but again I think it at best an inference and an extrapolation from what one believes about the nature and action of the atonement. I think JoanieD makes some good points.

        • Dormant Barbarian says

          Other than the verse in question? How about Is. 53:10, Gal. 3:13, Rom. 8:3, and a few others I mentioned above.

          • Again, an inference from what it might mean for Christ to become sin. It may be a correct inference, but there is still no Scripture that explicitly says what Huol says, i.e., God the Father denied God the Son for the first and only time.

      • “God abandoned Jesus. The Father denied the Son, so that no other child had to be denied by the Father ever again.”

        I don’t agree with that, Huol, but that’s OK. God could never abandon Jesus because Father and Son were united.

  13. Crooked Bird says

    I think even the fact that the cry is phrased as a question–addressed directly to God–clearly shows trust. Even without the Psalm context–“God, why have you abandoned me?” is an expression of the kind of trust we can imitate even when we ourselves feel abandoned by God. To turn to him with our pain even then.