Question 108:

There are three characteristics which define God. 1- the ability to create 2- immortality 3- unending power. Which of these characteristics are also inherent in Jesus Christ? In your opinion, can someone like God be killed?


Answer: Please start by reading the following texts on this website which all refer to the question raised: The introductory text to Theme: “Cross, Sin and Redemption”, sections III and IV and the Answers to Questions 97; 12; 19 and in particular Question and Answer 50.

Here a further comment: the "three characteristics which define God”, as the questions puts it, do not take account of other characteristics or names of God, which are of central importance to the Quran, according to its own assessment, and therefore for Islam in general. Compare, for example, the invocation "In the name of God, most Gracious, most Merciful” at the beginning of each Sura of the Qur’an with the exception of the ninth. Or read Sura 59, 22:24 and look at the order of sequence in which God’s characteristics are listed. The various lists of the "99 most beautiful names of Allah”, for example the list of the Hadiths, which is found in Tirmidhis Hadith collection, and which is said to go back to Abu Hurayra, names first of all those characteristics listed in Sura 59,22:24, followed by many others.

The Christian view of God is entirely formed by the sermons and actions of Jesus of Nazareth. Christians read the Old Testament in the light of the teachings and the witness of Jesus of Nazareth. What then, is the newness of biblical faith? In his first encyclical letter "Deus Caritas est(= God is love) dated 25 December 2005, Pope Benedict XVI writes:

"The newness of biblical faith

9. In the development of biblical faith, the content of the prayer fundamental to Israel, the Shema, became increasingly clear and unequivocal: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord (Deut. 6:4). There is only one God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, who is thus the God of all. Two facts are significant about this statement: all other gods are not God, and the universe in which we live has its source in God and was created by him. Certainly, the notion of creation is found elsewhere, yet only here does it become absolutely clear that it is not one god among many, but the one true God himself who is the source of all that exists; the whole world comes into existence by the power of his creative Word. Consequently, his creation is dear to him, for it was willed by him and made by him. The second important element now emerges: this God loves man. The divine power that Aristotle at the height of Greek philosophy sought to grasp through reflection, is indeed for every being an object of desire and of love —and as the object of love this divinity moves the world, – (Cf. Metaphysics; XII,7) – but in itself it lacks nothing and does not love: it is solely the object of love. The one God in whom Israel believes, on the other hand, loves with a personal love. His love, moreover, is an elective love: among all the nations he chooses Israel and loves her—but he does so precisely with a view to healing the whole human race…

Particularly the prophets Hosea and Ezekiel, described God's passion for his people using boldly erotic images. God's relationship with Israel is described using the metaphors of betrothal and marriage; idolatry is thus adultery and prostitution… The history of the love-relationship between God and Israel consists, at the deepest level, in the fact that he gives her the Torah, thereby opening Israel's eyes to man's true nature and showing her the path leading to true humanism. It consists in the fact that man, through a life of fidelity to the one God, comes to experience himself as loved by God, and discovers joy in truth and in righteousness—a joy in God which becomes his essential happiness: Whom else have I in heaven? And when I am with you, the earth delights me not…But for me, to be near God is my good" (Ps 73 [72]:25, 28)....

11. The first novelty of biblical faith consists, as we have seen, in its image of God. The second, essentially connected to this, is found in the image of man. The biblical account of creation speaks of the solitude of Adam, the first man, and God's decision to give him a helper. Of all other creatures, not one is capable of being the helper that man needs, even though he has assigned a name to all the wild beasts and birds and thus made them fully a part of his life. So God forms woman from the rib of man. Now Adam finds the helper that he needed: This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh (Gen 2:23)…

Two aspects of this are important. First, Eros is somehow rooted in man's very nature; Adam is a seeker, who abandons his mother and father in order to find woman; only together do the two represent complete humanity and become one flesh. The second aspect is equally important. From the standpoint of creation, Eros directs man towards marriage, to a bond which is unique and definitive; thus, and only thus, does it fulfill its deepest purpose. Corresponding to the image of a monotheistic God is monogamous marriage. Marriage based on exclusive and definitive love becomes the icon of the relationship between God and his people and vice versa. God's way of loving becomes the measure of human love. This close connection between Eros and marriage in the Bible has practically no equivalent in extra-biblical literature.

Jesus Christ – the incarnate love of God

12. … The real novelty of the New Testament lies not so much in new ideas as in the figure of Christ himself, who gives flesh and blood to those concepts—an unprecedented realism. In the Old Testament, the novelty of the Bible did not consist merely in abstract notions but in God's unpredictable and in some sense unprecedented activity. This divine activity now takes on dramatic form when, in Jesus Christ, it is God himself who goes in search of the stray sheep, a suffering and lost humanity. When Jesus speaks in his parables of the shepherd who goes after the lost sheep, of the woman who looks for the lost coin, of the father who goes to meet and embrace his prodigal son, these are no mere words: they constitute an explanation of his very being and activity. His death on the Cross is the culmination of that turning of God against himself in which he gives himself in order to raise man up and save him. This is love in its most radical form. By contemplating the pierced side of Christ (cf. 19:37), we can understand the starting-point of this Encyclical Letter: God is love (1 Jn 4:8). It is there that this truth can be contemplated. It is from there that our definition of love must begin. In this contemplation the Christian discovers the path along which his life and love must move. (Pope Benedict XVI, DEUS CARITAS EST (On Christian Love) 9, 10, 11 and12. For the integral text of this Encyclical Letter see:

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