What would it be like if God died? Would anyone notice? Would there be round-the-clock news coverage like there is with the death of a Pope? Would anything change?
According to the Bible, God is both the Creator and Sustainer of all life. If that's true, His death would mean He would no longer be around to keep us alive, so we would die too.
God certainly knows what it's like to die, because He did it on the cross with Jesus. Perhap our best understanding of this is found in the story of Abraham and Isaac.
God said to Abraham, "Take your dear son Isaac whom you love and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I'll point out to you."
God gone wild
Coming from God, this was a strange request. Although it was common for people in the surrounding nations to offer their children as human sacrifices, Abraham knew it was not condoned by God. Yet, he could not deny that God had asked him to do it.
When this occured, Isaac was around 20 years-old, and very strong compared to his dad. Can you imagine how difficult it was for Abraham to tell Isaac God wanted him to take his life? At the time, Abraham would have been a little over 100 years-old. Isaac could have easily overpowered him and said, "Old man, you are completely out of it. Your religion has gone to your head!" By today's standards, Abraham would be labeled a right-wing religious fanatic!
But to the same degree that Abraham trusted God, Isaac trusted his father. And verse 9 says, "They arrived at the place to which God had directed him. Abraham built an altar. He laid out the wood. Then he tied up Isaac and laid him on the wood."
The only struggle that took place was probably in Abraham's heart. He must have silently wrestled, and argued with God. But ultimately, Abraham believed the outcome was God's reponsibility and that He would somehow make it right. Reading on,
"Abraham reached out and took the knife to kill his son. Just then an angel of God called to him out of Heaven, 'Abraham! Abraham!' 'Yes, I'm listening.' 'Don't lay a hand on that boy! Don't touch him! Now I know how fearlessly you fear God; you didn't hesitate to place your son, your dear son, on the altar for me.' "
All the way
Even though God spared Abraham from killing his son, getting him to the point where he was willing to do it was as painful as the act itself.
Unlike Abraham, God didn't have the luxury of being able to save Jesus at the last moment. He willingly offered Jesus as a sacrifice to redeem you and me from the clutches of eternal death. And in that sense, God died!
Without this selfless act, we wouldn't have a chance!
Rich DuBose is Director of Church Support Services for the Pacific Union Conference and a producer of Christian web content.
All Scripture taken from The Message, by Eugene H. Peterson, copyright (c) 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. All rights reserved.