Just before Jesus died on the cross he said in Mathew 27:46, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?”. I have interpreted this as Jesus quoting Psalms 22. A Baptist friend of mine told me, "no, no, Jesus said this because he was briefly separated from God due to the sin of man”.
Does the Church have an official teaching on this? Or as a Catholic, due we have some liberty here?
This can get a little complicated, but I don’t think it has to get that compicated to answer your question.
Basically, Protestants often subscribe to a belief called penal substitution. This belief holds that Jesus atoned for our sins by suffering the very same punishment, in every way, that we deserved - going to Hell. Hell is eternal seperation from God, so they believe that when He died on the cross, Jesus actually went to Hell, and so was seperated from God.
Now there are a lot of problems with this. First, Jesus wasn’t in Hell eternally; He rose on the third day. The answer Protestants will give to this is that since Jesus is infinite, even one second in Hell for Him is enough for all of eternity for us. However, this doesn’t work, because if Jesus was seperated from God, then He wasn’t infinite anymore, and so He couldn’t fulfill eternity in Hell for all of us.
This leads into the real problem with the idea: God is not divisible. God is one God in three Divine Persons - the uncreated Creator. If Jesus ever was seperated from God, that means He would stop being God for a moment, but if He was uncreated, He could not stop being God, because what makes God God is that He is uncreated. That is what seperates God from us - He is uncreated, we are not.
The other thing is that that for one thing to be seperated from something, the two things must be different. If Jesus was seperated from God, then He was different from God, so we would have two Gods, not one.
Suffice it to say, if Jesus was ever seperated from God, that would in some way mean that either He wasn’t really God - He wasn’t really uncreated - or that He is actually different from the God He was seperated from, so we would have polytheism.
Most Protestants agree Jesus was quoting Psalm 22. Unfortunately, most of them also think the reason He was doing it was because He was seperated from God.
I believe it is ok to suggest that Jesus was saying God forsake Him, if you mean it in the sense that the Father allowed Him to be put to death instead of stepping in.
The thing is, it was a common practice of Jews to cite an entire Psalm by quoting the first verse of it. Thus, when Jesus says this, we know He means all the stuff that is in that Psalm, too. It is a Messianic Psalm, for one, which He is pointing to, to say, ‘Hey look I’m the Messiah.’ He is also quoting it because the Pslam begins with the feeling of being forsaken and ends with putting trust in God, so He is basically saying, ‘it looks bad now, but don’t worry it will be ok in the end.’
It says in Matt. 27:47 that ‘some of the bystanders hearing it said, “This man is calling on Elijah”’. Where they referring to Elijah the prophet, or did they mean God, because I get the impression that some of the Jews during Jesus’ time acted/talked like the prophets had the power of God, when they were clearly servants of God and often witnesses of Christ.
Another possible example is in the Gospel of John
6:30 So they said to him, "Then what sign do you do, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you perform?
6:31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat’.
6:32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the the true bread from Heaven.” after the people ask for a sign.
In Exodus 16:4, Then the Lord said to Moses." Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you…".
I do not know for sure, but it seems that Jesus was correcting them for thinking it was Moses who brought down bread from heaven when it was actually God. Of course, God often worked through Moses.
As Lazerlke said, Jesus never was/couldn’t be separated from God (the Father or the Holy Spirit) for God is One. But we do have to take into account that Jesus had a full human nature, as well as His divine nature. It could well be that He chose to experience in His human soul the emotional pain of what would feel like abandonment. (Comparable perhaps to the experience some have during very traumatic events, of feeling abandoned by God - even tho they know in their intellect, and believe, that God never abandons anyone.)
Wow. I just read Psalm 31 in its entirety. How fitting that the Lord should quote from this psalm when he was hanging on the cross.
In you, LORD, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your justice deliver me;
incline your ear to me; make haste to rescue me! Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to save me.
You are my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead and guide me.
Free me from the net they have set for me, for you are my refuge.
2 Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, LORD, faithful God.
You hate those who serve worthless idols, but I trust in the LORD.
I will rejoice and be glad in your love, once you have seen my misery, observed my distress.
You will not abandon me into enemy hands, but will set my feet in a free and open space.
Be gracious to me, LORD, for I am in distress; with grief my eyes are wasted, my soul and body spent.
My life is worn out by sorrow, my years by sighing. My strength fails in affliction; my bones are consumed.
To all my foes I am a thing of scorn, to my neighbors, a dreaded sight, a horror to my friends. When they see me in the street, they quickly shy away.
3 I am forgotten, out of mind like the dead; I am like a shattered dish.
4 I hear the whispers of the crowd; terrors are all around me. They conspire against me; they plot to take my life.
But I trust in you, LORD; I say, "You are my God."
My times are in your hands; rescue me from my enemies, from the hands of my pursuers.
Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your kindness.
Do not let me be put to shame, for I have called to you, LORD. Put the wicked to shame; reduce them to silence in Sheol.
Strike dumb their lying lips, proud lips that attack the just in contempt and scorn.
How great is your goodness, Lord, stored up for those who fear you. You display it for those who trust you, in the sight of all the people.
You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from scheming enemies. You keep them in your abode, safe from plotting tongues.
Blessed be the LORD, who has shown me wondrous love, and been for me a city most secure.
Once I said in my anguish, “I am shut out from your sight.” Yet you heard my plea, when I cried out to you.
Love the LORD, all you faithful. The LORD protects the loyal, but repays the arrogant in full.
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.
I’m sorry. After listening to Jesus Christ Superstar a ba-gillion times, I became quite familiar with the phrase “***Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit”***. I guess I assumed everyone was familiar with the phrase.
Sorry if i am repeating - haven’t time 2 read all posts… But i feel that Jesus experienced virtually everything we could experience in life, so that He could relate to and forgive every possible weakness or feeling of despair… so that he could truly be one of us… Who knows whether He was separated in reality or only if that was his feelings telling him that or whatever… But i do believe that he @ least FELT separated from God so that we could know… that HE knew… what that felt like.
i have felt separated from God because of sin… A few times, when i felt that, I went immediately into the Presence of Christ in the Church. All the feelings of separation and other bad feelings (guilt/fear, etc.) disappeared immediately and did NOT return as long as i was there (they returned when i left). To me, that is the power of Christ over sin… And His death on the cross made it possible…