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God DIED on the cross. Literally or Figuratively?


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Compiled by: Admin Coco, Apologist

The term “God died” should be taken Literally or Figuratively? 

Before I give my conclusion regarding this topic let us site the answers of different Catholic Apologist in different Catholic Apologetics Ministry.

From Catholic Answers: Karlo Broussard on his video “Did God Die on the Cross”?

He added, during our conversation on Facebook:

“The statement “God died” can be taken literally inasmuch as it refers to the 2nd Person of the Trinity experiencing death by virtue of is human nature. Remember that his human nature allows him to experience human things (e.g., laughing, crying, jumping, walking, running, suffering, and death). Because the subject of action in the experience of death is the 2nd Person of the Trinity, we can say God died. This is no different than saying God was born, God cried, God laughed, God walked, God suffered, etc”. – Karlo Broussard, Catholic Answers

From Catholic Answers: Jim Blackburn during our conversation on Facebook: 

“In simple terms: Jesus, the incarnate second person of the trinity with both divine and human natures, was God. His human nature allowed for the possibility of literal death which he literally experienced on the cross. Therefore, God literally died”. – Jim Blackburn, Catholic Answers

From Dave Armstrong concerning the God died topic during our conversation on Facebook:

Jesus was God, and He died on the cross; therefore, “God [the Son] died.” In no sense can we say only that God died figuratively. That would be rank heresy: denying both the Holy Trinity and the atonement. – Dave Armstrong, author of The One Minute Apologist and many more.

Now from the book of different Catholic Apologist, Priest concerning the issue of “God died”.

from the book of Pope Benedict XVI: Jesus Christ according to the Pope compiled by Giuliano Vigini and a foreword by Fr. Catalino Arevalo, SJ 

Fr. Catalino Arevalo, SJ says 

Jesus God truly suffered (God Suffered!) and truly died, so that it can be said: God has truly shared our human suffering, God has even shared our very dying”. – Fr. Catalino Arevalo, SJ. Loyal School of Theology, Ateneo de Manila University, foreword pg. vii

from the book of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: I believe in One God 

on page 137 the Pope says 

“In bread and its making, man has understood it as a waiting period of nature, like a promise of nature that this would come to exist: the God that dies and in this way brings us to life”. – Pope Benedict XVI, I believe in One God, pg 137

from the book of Tim Staples: Behold your Mother, a Biblical and Historical Defense of the Marian Doctrines




on page 45 Tim says

“At the Incarnation, the second person of the Blessed Trinity added a human nature, but he did not change. The human nature of Christ received infinite dignity in and through the hypostatic union – hence, we can worship the man, Jesus Christ, but God did not change in the process. Neither did Christ’s human nature become a divine nature. But because of the hypostatic union, when one refers to the human nature of Christ, the subject is the divine person. This is why we can affirm the God, the second person of the Blessed Trinity, was born, suffered, died and was resurrected.Tim Staples, Behold your Mother pg 45

from the book of Trent Horn: Why were Catholic

on page 63 Trent says

“whatever is true of Jesus is also true of God, even if it may sound strange at first. For example, since Jesus died on the cross, it is also true the God died on the cross, because Jesus is God. Of course, God did not go out of existence, that is not what it means to die”. – Trent Horn, Why were Catholic pg 63

from the book of St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way

on page 437

“If one of my fellow men had died to save me from death… GOD DIED. And I remain indifferent.” – St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way pg 437

from the Catechism of Trent

“It is NOT, however, OUR BELIEF that THE BODY OF CHRIST was ALONE INTERRED: these words propose, as THE PRINCIPAL OBJECT OF OUR BELIEF, that GOD WAS BURIED. Similarly, according to the rule of the Catholic Faith, we also say with THE STRICTEST TRUTH that GOD WAS BORN OF A VIRGIN, that GOD DIED; for as THE DIVINITY WAS NEVER SEPARATED FROM HIS BODY which was laid in the sepulcher, we TRULY CONFESS that GOD WAS BURIED.” [CATECHISM OF TRENT of Pope St. Pius V, Art. IV, #8, par 2]

“The second thing that regards the several parts of this Article, namely that burial, passion, and also death apply to Jesus Christ not as God but as man: to suffer and die are incidental to human nature only. But they are also ATTRIBUTED TO GOD, because they are PREDICATED CORRECTLY OF THAT PERSON who is at once TRUE GOD AND TRUE MAN.” [CATECHISM OF TRENT of Pope St. Pius V, Art. IV, #9, par 2]

In a word, JESUS CHRIST, GOD, AND MAN, IS THE ONE WHO IS SUFFERING! THE CREATOR SUFFERS for those whom He created! The Lord is suffering for His servants! He is suffering by whom the angels, all human persons, he heavens, and the earthly elements were created: “For from him and through him and to him are all things are” (Rom 11:36). [CATECHISM OF TRENT of Pope St. Pius V, Art. IV, #10]

Conclusion: 

It is True that the “Divine Nature” cannot suffer and die but because of the Hypostatic-union, we can say that God the Second person of the Blessed Trinity DIED (LITERALLY) on the cross because whatever attributed to each nature MUST attribute to the subject (the person). Death means “Separation of Soul and Body” just like us (Humans) when we die we don’t “go out of existence”, we will experience the separation of soul and body. God died on the cross means God (Jesus, the second person of the Blessed Trinity) experience the separation of soul and body.

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