Can God Suffer?

As we entered the holiest of weeks on Sunday, triumphantly processing into the Church as Jesus marched into Jerusalem, we were reminded where our pilgrimage would ultimately end up: the cross. Hearing the whole story of the Passion proclaimed, it was made clear to us why Jesus entered Jerusalem and what the focus of the entire week would be.

And this presents an interesting theological question for us: knowing of course that Jesus suffered and died on the cross, can God suffer? It is a question that has become very popular over the past 100 years, and one that I explore in this week’s Catholicism In Focus.

I hope that everyone has a good Holy Week and a blessed Easter!

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5 Comments on “Can God Suffer?

  1. Yes God can suffer because He created us in HIs image, and simply because He love us. However, unlike human suffering, which can overwhelm us in negitive emotions, Godly suffering goes beyond emotional responses and allows hope. Godly suffering is tempory, it brings us closer to God, and always ends with joy either now in this life or in The Kingdom of Heaven or both! We can see this in Christ’s passion. How Jesus, God in flesh, handled His response to suffering and how His disciples indured thier suffering (fear, denial, ran away, gave-up thier calling and went back to work, ect. . .) >> Alison

  2. One problematic issue is that if one takes the point that Christ’s divine nature doesn’t change but his human nature suffered; it redefined how we are to understand his ‘person.’ Therefore, it would challenge other Doctrines such Theotokos because women do not give birth to nature’s; they give birth to persons. If one can separate the element of pain from the divine nature, it would be logically inconsistent to say that one couldn’t do the same with birth.

  3. Furthermore, you ask the question “Why?” I believe this is answered fully on St. Athanasius treatment ‘On the Incarnation’ paragraph 8 and 9. The price to pay for our disobedience of God is suffering, pain, and death, as it says in Genesis. Man cannot be fully reconciled through any such atonement, God cannot go back on his word, because as you said, he is unchanging; therefore, Man must die. The Word takes flesh for this purpose to pay the price of atonement, as a free gift, for humanity’s disobedience.

  4. Pingback: Can God Suffer? — Breaking In The Habit – Associate Members

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