On the nature of Christ's death

In short my question is as follows:

Was Christ “killed”? As in, did He die as a direct result of the trauma His sacred body went through?
Or did Christ, strictly speaking, give up His life?

What I’m thinking is, if the case is the former, He might have died prematurely (before His work was absolutely accomplished); dying from shock from blood loss, or some other cause. Whereas, if it is the latter, He would have had the ability to uphold His life, even beyond what a normal human being could physically endure, for love of us. Only until He suffered everything He had to, He would let His life go.

What is Church teaching on this?

Thanks in advance :slight_smile:

Jesus did say “Into Your hands I commit My spirit” and “It is finished.” I think that leans into the second option. I don’t think the Church has an official position.

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Why not both?


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This sounds l bit to much like penal substitutionary atonement. This is not Catholic teaching and is no where taught in scripture.

Just wanted to point out that Christ did die before His work was absolutely accomplished. People tend to forget that Christ work wasn’t “finished” until the Resurrection. I tend to agree with Dr. Scott Hahn on the meaning of Christ’s words “It is finished”. I don’t believe the “IT” means everything needed to be accomplished.

There are many Bible verses that speak of this. Here are just a couple…

Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

1 Corinthians 15:13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised;14 if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. 17 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.

Hope this helps,

God Bless

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I know I’m quibbling here, but… there is no “it” in the sentence, as it exists in the Greek. The sentence consists of a single word – a verb – which, when translated into English, gets the “it” and the “is” added to it. :wink:

Quibble away. I actually prefer that you do. To me the addition of the word “IT” in the English language just goes to show that there is a much deeper meaning here and the translators are doing the best they can with what they have to work with.

It’s been a while since I listed to the 4th Cup but I remember Dr. Hahn saying that “It is FINISHED” doesn’t do justice to the text. He preferred using the word “consummated” because this word is more showing of a covenant relationship here.

My main point to the OP remains, whether we add the word “IT” or not it still leaves us with the question of WHAT? As you pointed out the single word is a VERB, which means Jesus is performing some action at this very moment. To me if we jump to saying absolutely everything that needed to be done, then we are denying the importance of the Resurrection. Jesus consummating the instillation of the New Covenant just seems to make more sense to me.

God Bless

Well, they’re following the rules of English grammar. The fact that they are doing so, however, doesn’t mean that we can pull out a word – which itself doesn’t exist in the text! – and assign significance to it! (That’s really all I’m quibbling about. :wink: )

Right. tetelestai has the meaning not just of an ‘end’, but an end, if you get what I mean. :wink:

In other words, it speaks to a goal or the ‘end’ to which one has set to achieve. It’s not just about completion, but about having achieved the purpose of one’s acts. The root word here is the same one that Jesus used when He said, “be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” That sense of ‘perfection’, of goal-attainment-ness, is what Jesus is saying with his final breath!

Jesus exclamation should suffice:

30When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (St. John 19)

Christ’s body did suffer greatly; no Christ did not fail!

Maran atha!


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