This is to be some reflections on an article in Medium by Josh de Keijzer. The article is found here: https://medium.com/@joshdekeyzer/after-easter-jesus-as-the-end-of-god-d0cad018f54a
“The death of Jesus Christ has been an occasion for theologians and philosophers to speculate about the end of God. With Jesus’ death on the cross, God died and this is the end of God’s story. Jesus is the end of God. But then there is Easter. It is part of the narrative of Jesus Christ and as such cannot be ignored. Resurrection belongs to this narrative. Death of God theologians have trouble integrating this into their theologies.
However, even on the basis of the resurrection we ought to conclude that Jesus signals and acts out God’s end. Here is how this works. In this short piece, I will first side with the theologians and philosophers who have concluded that religion has ran its course and that after its demise, can only signal God’s end. Then, I will argue, that when we abandon self-constructed God-talk we open ourselves to understand the true meaning of God’s end. In Jesus, we find the true meaning of this end.” (de Keijzer)
de Keijzer makes 3 basic points.
1. “The end of God is the end of gods in our image. The God of our constructive power will have to cease. The God of the Christ has to begin.”
2. “Or perhaps we could and should rather say that only when we have come to the end of ourselves we are open to God’s end.”
3. “All that we can know or say about God we learn by looking at Jesus the Christ. The biblical narrative that preceded Jesus is one prelude to the incarnation and what has come after it, is its outworking all the way to its ultimate fulfillment. All God-talk about who, what, and where God is, becomes mute in view of Jesus….This is the end of God in the body of Jesus. The end of God in Jesus Christ is our end. He died that we might live and give our lives for the other. God’s end is our end. How can we not go that path Jesus went? Our only speaking of God can be about how this God of Jesus can be made manifest through us.”
In his conclusion de Keijzer quotes Dietrich Bonhoeffer “Embodiment is the end of God’s path.” Although the article is a short one, there is some profound truths to unpack and mull over. So much of traditional, orthodox thinking of God and his “Omni” character presents us with a coercive, “in control” God. American evangelicalism, in its stiff literalism, gives us a God like us: one who is relatable to because he is violent, vengeful and manipulative. Like us, he selectively loves and withdraws his love from whom he hates. This being the case, it is easy to see why so many white evangelicals are quick to disparage the “social gospel” and cling to xenophobic narratives about gays, undocumented immigrants, the #MeToo and the Black Lives Matter movements.
de Keijzer’s conclusion that “Jesus is the end of God. And so are we!” will not play well in conservative Christian quarters precisely because it puts the responsibility for God’s kingdom in our court. It circumvents, to a large degree, the apocalyptic world view of evangelicalism that is other-worldly instead of this-worldly, that disparages hope of reclaiming this life now in the hope of a dramatic, climactic, violent intervention by a blood-soaked Christ, returning to inflict God’s wrath on his enemies.
When evangelicals speak of the “justice of God,” they see it in terms of the penalty of sin…death, and for those not on the “inside,” an eternal punishment. de Keijzer, instead sees justice as redemption, reconciliation, healing and renewal. It is not about God’s vengeance at all, but points to the incarnation as the end of our creation of God, and the enabling of God in us to work towards the Kingdom.
“The only theology that we may speak of, therefore, is one that speaks ethically. Only where God’s ends and our end meet is speech about God justified. This end is in this world. For God so loved the world that God gave God’s only Son.”