I have to admit straight away that the spur to write this post was the competition over at Theology Network to win a copy of Mike Reeves’ new book The Good God. This blog post is my entry.
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:45-46)
I’ll never forget the time at which I realised that this cry of dereliction wasn’t an exaggeration. The Son really had been forsaken by the Father. The very foundation of reality had been interrupted.
It’s tempting sometimes to think of God as a judge and legislator, sin as breaking rules and the atonement as a kind of transaction. There is some truth to this, but often talking exclusively in this way dangerously obscures the fact that sin and atonement are fundamentally relational in nature, because God is fundamentally relational in nature.
[I]n Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:19-21)
In order to reconcile us to God, Christ was willing to be alienated from the Father himself. The good God, indeed.