Monday, June 22, 2009

Did God Forsake God...?

I'm no authority on anything, but I do think and read and ponder a lot ... and I do really-really trust Jesus when He said that the Spirit would lead us into all truth.

Speaking of Jesus ... all my life, or at least during the 30-odd years that I was an Evangelical Christian (& they really were some *odd* years, LOL!), I heard some truly interesting explanations as to why Jesus cried out "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me" on the cross ... yes, we've all been told, ad nauseam, that since God cannot have anything to do with sin, and since Jesus was then filled with our sin, that God had to "turn away." That God had to forsake God, when God became filled with the sin that God had chosen to take away from humanity... in order to appease God.

May I say - POPPYCOCK! :)

How can any of us, at any time, not be in the Presence of the Omnipresent God..? David affirms, in his psalm, "where can I go from Your presence ... if I go to Sheol [the place of the dead, not "hell" ... there's no hell in the OT, or the NT for that matter, but I digress] there You are."

Plus, the NT affirms that "God was IN CHRIST, reconciling the world to Himself [at the very moment in which Christ took on sin, in order to *take away* sin]."

Another possibility of what Jesus was doing at that time, could be a very intentional act. I believe that He fully knew what He was doing, in dying for everyone (my personal view is that He didn't come to accomplish anything, but to demonstrate what had always been accomplished -- the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world -- we just needed a live-action demonstration to *believe* it - a cosmic flannel-graph if you will).

I've come to believe that He was very intentionally letting the witnesses know what He was doing ... He called out the first line of Psalm 22. Psalms didn't have numbers then ... they were known by their first lines, much like we know songs by their titles. Psalm 22 is all about the Savior of the World ... read it for yourself. The Jews would know that psalm inside-out (Jewish men memorized all 151 of the psalms ... there are 151 psalms in the Septuagint, the scriptures that Jesus read and quoted from... even though our versions only have 150 - makes me go "hmmm").

When Jesus called out the first line of that psalm, He was letting them know that He was the Lamb who was slain ... that He had come to save the world (btw, we're not saved from "hell"... scripture says that we're saved from sin ... that He took it *away* - so why are we so danged sin-focused?).

Anyway, that's what I've come to believe ... and I'm smack-dab thick in the middle of studying the various Atonement theories. I no longer buy into the theory of Penal Substitutionary Atonement (that God was pissed, that somebody had to die, and God had to have blood, and so Jesus paid the price). I'm more in favor of the Christus Victor theory, but am looking into the other 5-6 theories, and letting the Spirit lead me...

I suspect that we've gotten the Atonement "all wrong" ... that we've put our own human thinking onto God (as we're wont to do... He made us in His own image, and we've been returning the favor ever since!).

While I'm en route here, I see that there's only one thing to really do ... to trust Him to lead. He promised He would. He'll keep leading us into all truth - as we can bear it...

Shalom, Dena


Cynthia said...

Hi Dena,

These were the questions that have followed me through my journey in recent years. I remember hearing the word eschatology for the first time a few years ago was and I couldn't understand why it was a big deal.

Thankfully, quickly the Spirit began to teach me that what I believed about the end of the world meant a lot about how I would live my life today.

One of the first things I questioned shortly after that was those words that Jesus spoke on the cross. Which led me to place the subject of atonement on the table for examination.

I really owe the freedom to take this journey to the emerging church where I received permission to not have it all figured out. My questioning was suppressed for so long because without a conclusive answer, I believed my faith would be weak. Having faith along with my unanswered questions may very well be a more true expression.

In fact, I remember a phone call from a friend who was beginning this journey with me that joyfully shouted, "'I don't know' is a valid answer!"

Sometimes it is difficult to shake the old mindset. I started a meet up group back in January to gather those who are curious about God and this life in Christ. Now I am gathering with people who I formally had labeled as dangerous heretics, who I avoided because they could lead me astray. I love this group for their willingness to listen and discuss. They have shown great love for each other, sharing the burdens of life more than I have witnessed in a church. But, I have to admit that sometimes the conversations make me nervous and I know that fear is just bubbling up from my former indoctrination.

I have found a focus and comfort from reading your blog. I am on the unschoolinggodjourney yahoo group but just rarely have anything to add to the conversation. This introverted personality follows me even into cyber world.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts so openly.

Grace and Peace

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Lately, as I have been reading the bible with new eyes, I have noticed how much of religion is based on appeasing an angry vengeful God. We don't seem to pay much attention to the Lamb that is,was, always has been slain from the foundation of the world. Thanks for your articulate and inspiring thoughts. Marianne.

dena said...

Cynthia - what a joy to find so much in common with you! Yes, my understanding of eschatology (the study of last things), has been hugely instrumental in how I view God, and thus my own life. I also love the study of first things - archonology...! Because, if the end of time (the time of the old covenant) came to a close, then we're in (& have *been* in) the new-thing ... perhaps it's time to not only realize this, but to live in it..!

Your path sounds very similar to my own ... and your goup sounds intriguing! Is this in-person, or online? I do completely understand the startling concept of being drawn to thse you formerly deemed to be heretics! I have become what I was taught to fear, LOL! I do see that all great truths began as perceived heresies/blasphemies ... it was for heresy that Jesus was condemned and killed...!

As fear bubbles up for you - face it. Question those thoughts that arise -- "is that true? can I know for certain that it's true?" Trust the Spirit within you to lead you into all truth, and to know how to get your attention. I truly believe that danger is not found in the new thoughts as much as in the old thoughts that nullify truth.

Thanks for speaking out here! I treasure your thoughts, for they're confirming of what I hear God saying to me. I'm honored by your comments!

Shalom, Dena

dena said...

Marianne - that same realization has been uberly-powerful for me! How did we MISS so much that was always there, right before our eyes?!?

The issue of Atonement/sacrifice/appeasement is one that's on my current radar ... trusting that more clarity will come.

The traditions of man ... they continue to nullify the word of God (both what was written, and what is whispered in our spirits).

I love that we can move from "that couldn't be God" to "why WOULDN'T that be God?"

Shalom, Dena