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Question 97:

Can God die? When Jesus died on the cross, did the part of Him that was God also die?

 

Answer: God – as is often stated in the Bible – is the living God. He is the origin and source of all life (see Psalms 36:10). He is not subject to the power of death. He alone is immortal (1 Timothy 6:16). The entity of God cannot be mortal.

According to Christian belief, the immortal God revealed in Jesus Christ that He loves us mortal human beings. He remains very close to us, even in our deepest suffering. On the cross, Jesus gave His life for humankind and died as a human being. God was present in the crucified Jesus and lovingly suffered Jesus death. In this, God did not die as God; He did not cease to be God; His personhood as God was not destroyed. He is immortal. But God was suffering alongside Jesus in His dying and raised Him up to new immortal life after His passage through death.

A comparison: A mother loves her child. When the child suffers a severe illness and dies in pain, the mother suffers the pain and the dying of the child in her own heart, without physically dying herself. In the same way, God suffers the death of Jesus, His beloved Son (see e.g., Luke 3:22), without his personhood as God dying with Him. (Erhard Kunz SJ)

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