Something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is the whole idea of man, a created being, killing off God, his Creator. The idea apparently originated with Friedrich Nietzsche in 1882 and is stated as follows:
God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. Yet his shadow still looms. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?
~ Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Section 125, The Madman
I find this whole concept to be incredibly odd and arrogant. The idea that God, who exists independently of all other beings and causes, and is completely self-sufficient and needs no one, could be killed by one of His creatures is absolutely ludicrous. And lest we forget, God truly does not need us.
He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. ~ Acts 17:24-25, NLT.
…for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. ~ Acts 17: 28-29, ESV.
God is the uncaused first cause who was not created Himself, but who created everything else. He doesn’t need people because He’s existed from all eternity with the other two members of the Trinity, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit, so He doesn’t need companionship. He’s a Spirit so He doesn’t need food to eat, water to drink, or air to breathe, all things that limited and finite humans need, and God doesn’t need them because He’s limitless and infinite.
I wonder if what the God-is-dead-ers are killing is not God, Yahweh, Maker of Heaven and Earth, Ancient of Days, Master of the Universe, and First Person of the Trinity, because it’s not possible to do that. I wonder if instead they’re rejecting the fact that God does exist, or maybe their ideal of who God is, or the concept of God in their minds, so that to them He’s dead, but He’s not really dead.
What I find especially interesting about this is that Nietzsche came up with this idea in 1882, and in 1889 he went insane and remained that way until his death in 1900, about eleven years. The cause of his mental illness is unknown, though there was some initial speculation that he had syphilis, and later it was decided that his symptoms were a better match with the symptoms of brain cancer.
When I was a child I had a great-uncle who started out as a missionary, and after he came back from the mission field he wrote a book called Other Christs. After he wrote that book he got brain cancer and died. I’ve often wondered if there was a connection between that book and his cancer in terms of God’s judgment, and I wonder the same thing about Nietzsche’s insanity/brain cancer and his declaration that God was dead. He was a very well known philosopher who influenced millions of people for generations with that one idea, and that concept is still influencing generations of people.
I think it’s incredibly sad that just by deciding that God was dead, he lost his mind. That a seemingly simple decision should have such a drastic and life-changing effect is mind-boggling to me, but obviously it wasn’t a simple decision at all.
It seems to me that any decision one makes with regard to God, to either accept or reject Him, is probably the most important decision of one’s life. The decision you make with regard to God will mean the difference in your eternal destiny: whether it’s spent in Heaven or in Hell, plus a relationship you might have with Him now. It says in the Book of John that eternal life isn’t just about where you’ll spend the future, but it’s also about knowing God now,
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. ~ John 17:3, NKJV.
I find this to be wonderfully exciting. It speaks of an intimacy with God that we can have before we get to Heaven simply by trusting Christ as our Lord and Savior, not to mention getting to spend eternity in Heaven, which is probably beautiful beyond anything we could ever imagine ~ all of which says that God is anything but dead!
Thank you, Jesus!!