Is the Quran or Bible the Word of God? Christianity or Islam?

Did God die on the cross?

A Christian Misrepresenting Christianity to a Muslim by saying God died

It’s not uncommon for Christians to misrepresent Islam.  Nor is it uncommon for Muslims to misrepresent Christianity.  But here we have a Christian misrepresenting Christianity to a Muslim!  In the following discussion with Shabir Ally, Jay Smith says God died on the cross:

I appreciate Jay Smith for many of his arguments against Islam; however, unless the above clip is taken out of context I have to strongly disagree with what he says.  God cannot die.  This leads to the following question theologians have wrestled with for centuries:

  • Jesus is truly God and man.
  • Jesus died on the cross.
  • Therefore, did God die on the cross?  Can God die?

John Calvin succinctly explained:

In short, since neither as God alone could he feel death, nor as man alone could he overcome it, he coupled human nature with divine that to atone for sin he might submit the weakness of the one to death; and that, wrestling with death by the power of the other nature, he might win victory for us (Institutes of the Christian Religion II,xii,3).

R.C. Sproul also weighed in on the question when he wrote:

The famous hymn of the church “And Can it Be?” contains a line that asks a very poignant question : “How can it be that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?” Is it accurate to say that God died on the cross?

This kind of expression is popular in hymnody and in grassroots conversation. So although I have this scruple about the hymn and it bothers me that the expression is there, I think I understand it, and there’s a way to give an indulgence for it.

We believe that Jesus Christ was God incarnate. We also believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross. If we say that God died on the cross, and if by that we mean that the divine nature perished, we have stepped over the edge into serious heresy. In fact, two such heresies related to this problem arose in the early centuries of the church: theopassianism and patripassianism. The first of these, theopassianism, teaches that God Himself suffered death on the cross. Patripassianism indicates that the Father suffered vicariously through the suffering of His Son. Both of these heresies were roundly rejected by the church for the very reason that they categorically deny the very character and nature of God, including His immutability. There is no change in the substantive nature or character of God at any time.

God not only created the universe, He sustains it by the very power of His being. As Paul said, “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). If the being of God ceased for one second, the universe would disappear. It would pass out of existence, because nothing can exist apart from the sustaining power of God. If God dies, everything dies with Him. Obviously, then, God could not have perished on the cross.

Some say, “It was the second person of the Trinity Who died.” That would be a mutation within the very being of God, because when we look at the Trinity we say that the three are one in essence, and that though there are personal distinctions among the persons of the Godhead, those distinctions are not essential in the sense that they are differences in being. Death is something that would involve a change in one’s being.

We should shrink in horror from the idea that God actually died on the cross. The atonement was made by the human nature of Christ. Somehow people tend to think that this lessens the dignity or the value of the substitutionary act, as if we were somehow implicitly denying the deity of Christ. God forbid. It’s the God-man Who dies, but death is something that is experienced only by the human nature, because the divine nature isn’t capable of experiencing death. (Sproul, Did God Die on the Cross?)

One Response to “Did God die on the cross?”

  1. Corrine Lee says:

    God is spirit Spirit cannot die. Jesus is man, He also is GOD, Man can die, Jesus took on human flesh so He CAN die for us, Previously He was the WORD OF GOD, Every part of God is God; even His WORD. Quran agrees. Jesus is referred to as a “Word” from God in three passages in the Quran. No other prophet has been described with such a title.

    “…O Mary! Behold, God gives you good news of a word from Him, who shall become known as the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary…” (Quran 3:45)

    “…The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of God, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary…” (Quran 4:171)

    “…God gives you good news of (a son whose name is) John, (who comes) to confirm a word from God…” (Quran 3:39)

    Christians believe that in the first chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus is identified as “the Word” (logos in Greek) incarnated, or made flesh. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth…” The man ”’JESUS, was a man and did not exist before, CHRIST IS ETERNAL God, and always existed as the WORD of God, Jesus is man Christ is GOD, Jesus, did die as a man. THE SPIRIT, GOD CANNOT DIE AND DID NOT DIE, He is the One who raised Jesus from the dead Who was in Jesus,

What is your opinion?

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