Good Friday Creation & Re-Thinking “The Fall”

Bosch-Garden-Earthly-Delights-Outer-Wings-Creation-WorldEach year during Lent, I press all the more deeply into a motif that appears throughout the Bible: that in some mysterious way, the God of the Universe has had a “slain” and “suffering” aspect to his nature for all eternity–even before the world came into being.

When this world did come into being, the Bible says that it came to exist “through” this suffering and slain Jesus. Therefore the rhythms of Christ’s own nature and life are written into the very DNA of the world. All of our history is an echo of Jesus’ life, both from eternity past and while on earth.

I’ve written before about what this means for the world and what this means for us, but what might this mean for the entire history of God’s work in this world?
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Crazy thought of the day: God Died. [QUOTE]

“The task of witnessing to the gospel is to vitalize the astonishing fact of the gospel. The message “the Son of God has died” is indeed most astonishing…. God has died! If this does not startle us, what will? The church must keep this astonishment alive. The church ceases to exist when she loses this astonishment. Theology, the precise understanding of the gospel, must be seized by this astonishment more than anyone else. It is said that philosophy begins with wonder; so theology begins with wonder. The wonder of philosophy pales before the wonder of theology. The person astonished by the tidings “God has died” can no longer be astonished at anything else.”

Kazoh Kitamori, Theology of the Pain of God

on Easter: “to Life, a sonnet” [a poem]

to Life, a sonnet



[read my other Holy Week poetry here]

all writings licensed: Creative Commons License

Chesterton on the Atheism of God on Good Friday [QUOTE] | Lent {10}

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.

–from Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, as quoted by philosopher  Slavoj Zisek, in this article on “German Idealism & Christianity, from Hegel to Chesterton” (via Micah Towery). Read the rest of this Lent series on “The Lamb Eternally Slain”

Maundy Thursday, Narrative & Sacrament | Lent {9}

Today is Maundy Thursday which is the time in the Christian Church calendar where we celebrate the institution of the Lord’s Supper; it also initiates the three Holy Days of Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday.

I was raised as a Southern Baptist in Dallas, Texas. Liturgy, Church calendars, Holy Days, and Prayer books were as foreign to me as R-rated films, alcohol, and dancing. Now, though, as I’m looking for a Church to go to for a Good Friday service, even the Presbyterian church service all my friends are going to doesn’t feel liturgical and structured enough for me. What happened?

In the last few years between going to seminary (and dropping out) and changing churches, I have fallen in love with both liturgy and Sacrament.

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Nietzsche, the Cross, & the Weight of the World | Lent {8}

If every second of our lives recurs an infinite number of times, we are nailed to eternity as Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross.  It is a terrifying prospect. In the world of eternal return the weight of unbearable responsibility lies heavy on every move we make. That is why Nietzsche called the idea of eternal return the “heaviest of burdens”. If eternal return is the heaviest of burdens, then our lives can stand out against it in all their splendid lightness.

But is heaviness truly deplorable and lightness splendid?

…. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to earth, the more real and truthful they become.

Conversely, the absolute absence of a burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into the heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant.

What then shall we choose ? Weight or lightness?

— Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
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Love: The Beginning & End of Divine Suffering | Lent {7b} [GUEST POST]

[Yesterday, my good friend Austin Ricketts kicked off this two-part post, part of my own Lent series, talking about how the “disposition” or “intention” of God is Love, firstly exercised towards God’s own Self in the Trinity. And this Love moves away from the lover toward the loved as it is given. Therefore….]

Update II: In an interesting twist, Austin has since recanted these comments, though I still entirely agree with these original ones. So….I’m going to keep them up, but with this comment.

death & distinction in God

The reason why death is an appropriate notion by which to understand this relation, then, is that death entails separation or distinction between two or more things that otherwise belong together.

Death is not an end of life, necessarily, but rather a limit and transition.  For humans, the Bible points out that there is a limit and transition that occurs at material death.  At that time, humans exist as a bodiless soul, at least until the final resurrection.

Death is a separation or distinction between two or more things that naturally belong together; in the case of humans—a body and a soul.

Considering God again, “separation” can’t really be the right word.  Distinction is more orthodox.  I mentioned earlier that it is incorrect to see a “lessening” of the Father’s being when transitioning to the Son.  That’s because there isn’t a lessening of being at all.  Quite the opposite.
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Love: The Beginning & End of Divine Suffering | Lent {7a} [GUEST POST]

[Note: Today, we have another post by my good friend Austin Ricketts. I asked for him to write some of his thoughts on the current Lent series I’m doing and this is what he came up with. He’s written other things for my blogs before, and each time, I end up with my mind blown. This post certainly follows in that tradition. This piece is a bit longer (even after breaking it up into two posts), but I encourage you to read it in its entirety. Really, you will not be disappointed.]

Update: Part 2 of this post is up.

Update II: In an interesting twist, Austin has since recanted these comments, though I still entirely agree with these original ones. So….I’m going to keep them up, but with this comment.

When delving into the mystery of the Trinity, it is inevitable that one approaches Light too bright to see through, a mountain too high to climb, a cave too deep to spelunk.  That this is the case does not mean that one shouldn’t move into any light, climb as highly as she can, spelunk as deeply as he may.  That would be an unbiblical quietism, and unhealthy for the soul.  The soul needs exercise.

Here I attempt to exercise my soul by exorcizing the ancient demons called simplicity and impassiblity.  I pray that I do this while abiding in love.  But I do it nonetheless.
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The Slain God of Evolution | Lent {6}

This Lent, we’ve been going through a series meditating on some of the implications of the fact that we worship a God who was “slain before the foundations of the world”–in eternity past–and therefore has some aspect of “slain-ness” to his very nature.

In the last couple of posts, we’ve been focusing on what this means for the many references in which the Bible says that the world was created “through Jesus”. What might it mean that the world came into being through a suffering and slain Lord? What might it mean for our own suffering?

This got me thinking about Evolution.

Obviously, the main vehicle driving Natural Selection is death and dying. This is one of the biggest hindrances that Christians have to the idea of Evolution. If our usual categories are correct of a “good” creation “falling”, and only then ushering “death” into the world, how does the thoughtful Christian deal with the realities of Evolution?

I think this Lenten idea of God’s “slain-ness” can help.
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Christ’s Heart Breaking in Us | Lent {5}

Lent is a season in which God’s people meditate on the slaying of Jesus on the Cross and all that is within them (and outside of them) that made that Cross necessary. So to that end, we’ve been doing a series meditating on the fact that Christ is the Lamb who was “slain before the foundations of the world”. We’ve been thinking through what it might mean that Jesus, in some sense, has been suffering for all time.


We’ve said that the Cross was an in-breaking of the suffering essence of God into our world. Think of it as a volcano that emerges after a millennia of quiet tectonic plate shifts. Eternity and infinity–past, present and future–break into the world at the Cross; eternity is the backdrop against which the death of Christ occurs.

We’ve also said that the world has a certain “slain-ness” to it as well, due to being created “through” a slain and suffering Christ.

Today I want to ask: What might that mean for our own suffering and death?
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Creation: a suffering world through a suffering Lord | Lent {4}

Lent is a season in which God’s people meditate on the slaying of Jesus on the Cross and all that is within them (and the world) that made that Cross necessary. To that end, we’ve been meditating on the fact that Christ is the Lamb who was “slain before the foundations of the world”. We’ve been thinking through what it might mean that Jesus, in some sense, has been suffering for all time (and some theological issues along the way).

So far, we’ve talked about how this is a reflection of an eternal attribute of Jesus. There has been an aspect of suffering and death woven into the depths of his nature and character since before time began.

But at some point, time began.
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Lent-erpretative Musings {a theological interlude} {3b}

This is the second part of a post in which I’m talking about some of my guttural objections to some of the ways I’m treating the Bible for my ongoing Lent series, and then my responses to my own doubts. [Part 1]


This would not at all have been in the minds of the original writers. The original writers, at most, it seems, would have seen themselves talking about how God simply “ordained” Jesus’ death since eternity past. They probably were not thinking about making a statement about a “slain” and suffering aspect to the nature of God.

My responses: There is no mainstream view of the Bible that I know of that holds that each of the biblical writers had the fullness of theological knowledge at their disposal. They were still human (and poor, uneducated humans at that!).
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Lent-erpretative Musings {a theological interlude} {3a}

WARNING: this post gets into some theological discussion that, for most everyone out there, will be neither helpful nor interesting. And it’s way too long (which is why I’ve broken it up into two separate posts). Forgive me and please be gracious.


Anyone that follows the blog knows that I’m currently thinking through and writing a Lent series on the theological idea that Jesus was slain “before the foundations of the world” (Part 1, Part 2). Even though no one has said anything to this effect, I have felt like somewhat of a hypocrite. As I’ve been doing this, I’ve been haunted by a little voice reminding me that it seems like I’m employing many of the same techniques of interpretation and viewing the Bible that I’ve criticized in others before. This post is my attempt at reconciling this in my own head (in front of all of you).

As J.R.D. Kirk (and others) has often talked about, many of our theological disagreements in the church boil down to a simple question “what is the Bible?”. At the end of the day, we can argue about any number of things appealing to the Bible, but if we believe fundamentally different things about what the Bible is–and how it is that–we will never get anywhere.

And here’s where I’m getting into problems with this series: there are ways of viewing the Bible that, in others, I have criticized as reductionistic, simplistic, and frankly, abusive to the text itself, and I fear that I’m employing many of those same techniques in my thinking through this series. Here are two of those ways (two more later):
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The Cross: eternal Beauty made present | Lent {2}

Earlier this week, I kicked off this year’s Lent series with a question.

This season, we’ll be meditating on the biblical idea that Jesus, in some mysterious way, was slain in eternity past. And so, I asked what this means for the Cross of Jesus:

Was it an eternal truth breaking into the temporal realm, or was it itself such a powerful event that it echoed backwards and forwards through the past and future?

My vote? Jesus’ suffering and “slain-ness” is an eternal attribute of who he is, and the Cross was this aspect of the nature of God breaking into our reality. The Crucifixion was, in effect, God drawing the curtain back on a heavenly reality that had, until that point, only been hinted at.

I side with this for two main reasons: the essence of God, and the election of God.

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