A discussion I first saw at Ancient Hebrew Poetry and then followed over to MetaCatholic on theopaschitism and the impassibility of God reminded me of something that I “grasped” in a meditation on the death of Christ a few Easter’s back but never developed and promptly forgot about.
Doug at MetaCatholic writes:
The mystery of the cross is that God’s free choice and action is to be done to, to be made the recipient of human action and hostility, to be made passive and to suffer. But if this is not a free choice, above all in his divine nature yet also in his human, but is instead a consequence forced upon him by others and their actions, then it loses, I think, its real power.
I think this is true. In the circles I ran in years ago in undergraduate school it was commonplace to hear people say “Jesus didn’t have to die on the cross. He could have called down legions of angels…”
He could, of course, have chosen not to die. He could have come in judgment. However, and here’s what I grasped during my meditation on the cross: He did choose to die, but He chose it before the creation of the world… and yet, chose to create the world anyway, knowing the consequence of that free act in His divine nature was to also choose the cross as a free act in His human nature.
I don’t know from theopaschitism, and the technical theological aspects of impassibility are beyond my pay grade, but I do know this: At the death of a friend, God wept. There’s more mystery than meaning in that, and all I can do is worship the unchanging God who is moved by love.