It’s Holy Saturday. Jesus is in the tomb. They killed him yesterday. God is dead.
How can this be? There are three possibilities:
- Jesus is just a guy.
- There is no God to begin with.
- Death is something other than what we took it to be.
No God, no world. We have a world, so 2 can’t be true. Not to mention the fact that by the definition of God, God exists necessarily. Strictly speaking, 2 is inconceivable; actuality as such contradicts it.
Nor does 1 quite work, for the Resurrection falsifies it. Guys like us don’t raise themselves from the dead.
So, death is something other than what we took it to be.
Notice that what died yesterday was the animal body of Jesus. Of either of his two natures, only the body of his human nature is dead. On the cross, the soul of Jesus of Nazareth was disintegrated from his body. He descended then to Hell, and harrowed it, releasing from it the souls of all the righteous dead, and raising them to new life in Heaven. He *resurrected* them. He reintegrated their souls with their bodies (it does not signify, for my purpose here, whether in the order of our cosmic time the general resurrection is dated at the eschaton, or now; for, in eternity (wherein all things happen), the eschaton is now).
Apparently, guys like us can rise from the dead.
That doesn’t mean that Jesus is just a guy who, because death is not what we took it to be, happened to raise himself. Guys can’t raise themselves. Guys can’t even arrange for their own next moment of life. Those moments just arrive, they are somehow provided. We can destroy them, but cannot create them.
Jesus is different. He’s not just a guy like us. Of all the guys that ever were, he is the only one who can raise himself. That’s one way we can tell he is God.
If God didn’t die, but only his human body, then does it really make sense to say that Jesus died – and that, in his death, he performed the perfect sacrifice that covers all creaturely sin?
Yes. When Jesus died, he went through just what all men do when they die. His soul and body were disintegrated. He died just as much as every other human victim ever has.
And in his human nature he lives as all of us, thanks to him, now may.
God is dead. Thanks be to God.