Wednesday, 27 July 2005

The Death of the Living God

I suggested yesterday that the resurrection of Jesus is the contradiction of death. In the man Jesus, God takes death into his own life and maintains his own life through death. And in this way the reality of death is overturned, so that death ceases to be the end and instead becomes (against its will, so to speak) a new eschatological beginning. This means that death itself is changed by the resurrection of Jesus. Death itself has died. Until the twentieth century, no one had perceived this more sharply than G. W. F. Hegel:

“God has died, God is dead—this is the most appalling thought, that everything eternal and true is not, and that negation itself is in God; bound up with this is the supreme pain, the feeling of the utter absence of deliverance, the surrender of all that is higher. However, the course of events does not grind to a halt here; rather a reversal now comes about, namely, God maintains himself in this process. The latter is but the death of death. God arises again to life.” (Philosophy of Religion, Lasson-Hoffmeister ed., 14:167)

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