The Cry of an Atheist God

“In that terrific tale of the Passion there is a distinct emotional suggestion that the author of all things (in some unthinkable way) went not only through agony, but through doubt. It is written, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”  No; but the Lord thy God may tempt Himself; and it seems as if this was what happened in Gethsemane. In a garden Satan tempted man: and in a garden God tempted God. He passed in some superhuman manner through our human horror of pessimism. When the world shook and the sun was wiped out of heaven, it was not at the crucifixion, but at the cry from the cross: the cry which confessed that God was forsaken of God. And now let the revolutionists choose a creed from all the creeds and a god from all the gods of the world, carefully weighing all the gods of inevitable recurrence and of unalterable power. They will not find another god who has himself been in revolt.  Nay, (the matter grows too difficult for human speech,) but let the atheists themselves choose a god. They will find only one divinity who ever uttered their isolation; only one religion in which God seemed for an instant to be an atheist.”.’

– G.K. Chesterton


Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

6 thoughts on “The Cry of an Atheist God”

  1. And in His moment of “atheism”, He did what no atheist could do – reconciled a “world” to God, from every tribe, tongue, kindred under heaven.
    This is One “atheist” I don’t mind sitting upon the throne…

  2. I always enjoy GK Chesterton. The man is brilliant, and in many ways I elevate him even over CS Lewis. I question the meaning behind Jesus cry of forsakenness, however, principally in the fact that he was openly quoting Psalm 22 which details the crucifixion, the suffering, and the ultimate victory of God for all time. I tend to think he was pronouncing the eaning of the crucifixion event from the cross itself.
    Having said that, I love the dichotomy of divine doubt in Gethsemane that Chesterton unpacks here.

    1. Definitely, Chesterton was taking some artistic license with Scripture like he tends to do, trying to startle and stir the reader. I agree about GK. I remember reading Lewis’s “Mere Christianity” and then later Chesterton’s “Orthodoxy.” After that, I was sure Lewis ripped off most of his philosophical thought from Chesterton..

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