Monday, June 30, 2008

I'm reading "The Shack". I have a question...I have spoilers in this post, so if you don't want to know, close now.
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I'm reading The Shack. This book really takes God out of the box and personifies the Trinity in the forms of an African American woman for God, an Asian woman for the Holy Spirit, and a Hebrew man for Jesus. I don't have a problem with this (yet). I believe that in Mack's case, it was probably better to do the women because of his past with his own father.

What I'm not understanding is this. God tells Mack that He never abandoned or forsook Jesus at the cross. The implication is that when all you see is your pain, you lose sight of God. God tells Mack,

"Don't forget, the story didn't end in his sense of forsakenness. He found his way through it to put himself completely into my hands. Oh, what a moment that was!"


Matthew 27:46 reads, "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

Sabachthani, the Aramaic word, means "thou hast forsaken me", according to the KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon.

Our perfect and sinless Christ was bearing on His shoulders the sins of the world so that we would not have to pay the penalty for our sins. The enormity of the pressure of that...how do you say, sense of weight, despair, agony....He endured immense pain and suffering. But Christ, being perfect, took His eyes off God because of His pain? Because of sin or a character flaw? So many questions.

If sin is separation from God, then Jesus was separated from God on the cross, right? I mean, I get that they are One. But separate still. I alway thought the Father turned His face away during that time. Abandoned Him.

Jesus never misspoke. He is perfect. Did Jesus just "feel" forsaken? Did God not really forsake Him? I always thought He had. Why wouldn't Jesus have said, "...why does it feel like You've forsaken me?"

I'm feeling pretty clueless. I'm not doubting the Bible. I'm not doubting the Father and I'm not doubting what Jesus said on the cross. I just now have this "uncertainty" nudging at me and making me feel confused and am suddenly aware of how much I really don't know at all.

I guess I'm not understanding the book's take on this section. I'm sure it's not the only time in the book I'll be confused, but this is the first thing that's just "speed bumped" me.

If you've read The Shack, what was your take on that?

5 comments:

Linda said...

1st of all, your blog design is beautiful. Secondly, I read The Shack a while back and am still processing it. I like to read others' opinions. This topic that you brought up, I have never seen anyone address! It's really keen of you to pick up on that. I don't have an opinion on this particular point, except I'm kind of agreeing with your confusion. I'll be anxious to hear more of what you think.

Susan said...

I don't know how to explain how this happened, but I do believe Jesus WAS seperated from God at that moment.

Once you are through reading this book I will share some very insightful reviews on it.

I ate the meat, and left many bones...

Hope this was helpful!

Michelle Bentham said...

Can I say to you that I stumbled and gnawed on much of these types of scenarios... However, I believe what "Papa" is saying is this: Though Jesus felt, physically - emotionally - mentally - and even a spiritual separation from God the Father - He was still vitally connected to God the Father and the Holy Spirit - they gave Him the strength to overcome that sense of forsakenness, something that had to happen in order for redemption to take place but God's eye was never off His Son or His agony for one moment. Separated yes, just as we feel separated from God in our deepest moments of despair, anguished - deeply, feeling forsaken and left alone as we feel in our agonies of life. Does that mean God is not there? Or is it just how we feel? Jesus chose to be limited by His humanity, but remained without sin and fully God throughout his life here on earth. He had to have the full human experience for the price of redemption. He questioned His Father's will by asking Him to take away the cup of wrath He was about to experience, but surrendered in the end. When Papa says, "Did it end with the forsakenness?" (Paraphrase) He is pointing out that Jesus feeling forsaken by His Father was a wrestling of the moment, but the end result was surrender.

I once viewed Him as a "super-man" who had the human experience out of necessity but failed to suffer it because He was God.

God has shown me in time that by seeing Christ in this way - I cheapened grace and made it less costly than it was.

I see the explanation between Mack and Papa, as well as the personifications of God in the Trinity to be strikingly real. Jesus was a man of Middle Eastern Descent, Papa - is neither male nor female and desires not to be kept in a box of limiting stereotypes - though He paints Himself as a loving Father in Scripture, Sarayu - Can come in like a mighty rushing wind or as a gentle Whisper. Proverbs calls the Holy Spirit "Wisdom" and refers to Widsom as a "She" so the personification of the Spirit as a woman is not far fetched - though all the personifications exemplify elements of Scripture there is great literary license taken. This book must be read as a work of fiction and considered in context - one man's journey, wrestling with God to find meaning to his questions, in his loss and through his pain. Compare what you read to Scripture and wholly trust in God's Word over man's rendering of a story, a work of fiction to help us relate to God more personally.

When you reach the end, we should discuss this more... But for now, I pray God shows you the truth and that it sets you free.

Blessigns.

Maisie said...

I don't remember this part of the book - probably because I read it back in January. The first half of the book was really exciting for me. Then, I got more and more confused as it went along. It must have been way over my head, because I wasn't motivated spiritually by it. However, it's a bestseller and many people just love it.

LAURIE said...

I am reading the book now. and I loved everything Michelle had to say in her comments. I believe that Jesus was separate as far as Him being in man form. But if sin is separation...Jesus could not have been separate in this way because He never sinned. I agree with the comment earlier that even though Jesus may have felt like God had left Him (Oh God why have you forsaken me) God was always there. Just like for us. I have not gotten but half way thru the book THE SHACK but I think that the message thus far is that God does not separate Himself from us but WE separate ourselves from Him because of our pain, anguish and past.

Good post and thought provoking too! -blessings, Laurie