Crucified God

Faith that originates at the cross does not answer the question of suffering with a religious explanation of “why everything must be exactly as it is,” so that one simply submits to it. But neither does it harden into the mere gesture of protest which says that “everything as it is, is impermissible.” Rather, it leads protesting love back to its origin: “He who remains in love, remains in God and God in him” (I John 4:17).

Where men suffer because they love, God suffers in them and they suffer in God. Where this God suffers the death of Jesus and thereby demonstrates the power of his love, there men also find the power to remain in love despite pain and death, becoming neither bitter nor superficial. They gain the power of affliction and can hold fast to the dead.

He who enters into love, and through love experiences the deadliness of death, enters also into the “history of God,” On the other hand, he who recognizes the trinitarian history of God in the cross of Christ can live with the terrors of history and despite them remain in love. Through complete worldliness of living (Dietrich Bonhoeffer), through which he suffers and becomes guilty in solidarity with mankind, he lives in God. As Hegel said so aptly: “Not the life which shrinks back from death and preserves itself completely from destruction, but the life which endures death and, in the midst of death, perseveres-that is the life of the Spirit.”
J├╝rgen Moltmann