Full Text for Dogmatics 2- Volume 34 - Did God Die? (Video)

ROUGHLY EDITED COPY CUENet AUDIO TRANSCRIPTION DOGMATICS 2 LESSON 34 Captioning Provided By: Caption First, Inc. 10 E. 22nd Street Suite 304 Lombard, IL 60148 800-825-5234 *** This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings. *** >> Christians believe that Jesus died. Does this mean that God also died? And if so, how is this possible? Didn't some scholars in the 1960s argue that God was indeed dead? What does this all mean? >> DR. DAVID SCAER: That was one of the most interesting things. I had just begun teaching at the seminary. And I began in the 1960 -- in 1966. And at that time Bishop John AT Robinson of Woolwich, England had written his book "Honest To God." And he had declared that God could not be found in outer space. Afterall, those Russian cosmonauts had gone up there and hadn't seen Jesus or the Virgin Mary. And the best place to find Jesus is in ourselves, that God no longer had an objective existence. And at the end of his book, he said that his position was not radical enough. And there were four theologians at that time or I'll say philosophers, who took up the gauntlet and declared that God was dead. Now, this was really quite exciting because the magazines at that time immediately put it on the covers. One would be very hard to recall the entire controversy. But I was very interested in it. I knew that Altizer had said that God had died in culture. Hamilton took the Barthean route and said God was so far out there that maybe he wasn't out there at all. And Joseph Fletcher was still a young man at Harvard University. And he came up with situation ethics in which he said that sexual relationships out of marriage might be wrong -- might be -- was required in 99 out of 100. But maybe there would be one case in which -- in which case it would be properly okay. Think of the world at that time, the morals of that world. We were pretty straight laced people. Now that kind of a question with everybody living without marriage seems to be archaic. It was all kind of a movement. Well, the question that whether God had died and it was started by JAT Robinson who by the way repented of that view later took the world by storm. The one with thing that struck me about it, that if it was really true that God was dead, that these men would soon be out of a job. Because in explaining that Christology is what are the words about Jesus. Theology is the words about God. So how could you offer any courses at any colleges on God if God did not prove to exist? It would have to go into the area of maybe literature of what people once believed. Very strangely some Lutheran pastors, maybe others, too, but Lutheran pastors in particular thought they really had a homiletical hook to hang their next sermon on because they claimed that Lutherans also believed that God is dead. And one of our hymns, in German it says, "Oh, ***grobernote. God selbst der tote." "Oh, great dread. God himself is dead." When Lutherans speak about the death of Jesus, we say that God actually died. Because whatever happens to the man Jesus happens to God. But when we say that God is dead, we have to define what the word death means. Death does not mean annihilation. When we bury our friends and our relatives and we say they are dead, we're saying that their bodies have returned to the ground and the soul according to Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes the soul returns to God who gave it. Death is the separation of body and soul. Is it a better condition than we have on earth? Yes. Is it the condition that God promises us of abreaction (sic)? The answer is no. There is a step beyond paradise. Well, because what was intended by death was never defined. There was great confusion in the church. Now, what did it mean when these four theologians, Altizer, Hamilton -- and there was another one in there. Two others. What they meant was that God was no longer a part of culture. They understood existence as culture. So when did God die? Some say it happened in the renaissance. And if you are a student of renaissance art, even the religious figures of David and Moses are pictured -- and even Christ are pictured in the heroic forms of Greek gods. They would say yes. But they got rid of Jesus then. Even though they had (static) use and paintings, that's when he died. Some say God died in the 18th Century, the Age of Enlightenment, the age of Judaism. That was the age there was a formal belief in God. But God had left this world to the control of man. He was no longer in church. And the Jewish theologians got involved in this and said, "God died in Auschwitz in the Jewish concentration camps. So they were defining death in a completely different way. When we say that Jesus died, we say that God died. And we must say that we mean just as God was born of the Virgin Mary, God walked this earth. God died and God was buried. And God was raised from the dead. But we do not mean that God became extinct or that he no longer existed. And previously I mentioned a movement among evangelicals, that's conservative Protestants who believe that not only does God know the future. But the possibility exists that God could put himself out of existence. Because if he wasn't able to -- if the possibility didn't exist to put himself out of existence, he really wouldn't be God. So you can see the great confusion. This is philosophical confusion that exists over this question. *** This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings. ***