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The nature of Thomas’ confession, the fact that it happened after the resurrection, and its possible relation to Domitian’s demand to be addressed as dominus et deusmake it difficult, I think, to draw the direct theological inference that God died on the cross. But it’s worth keeping in mind.

What Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 is that God was reconciling the world and not counting their sins against them. It does not say that he suffered, shed blood, or died. Why shouldn’t we just take this at face value. Jesus did one thing, God did something else.

I don’t see how Romans 5:8 would entail the suffering of God. The basic thought, surely, is given in Romans 3:24-25: God provides a gracious gift, he puts Jesus forward as a propitiation by his death, he passes over former sins. There is a clear separation between the suffering of Jesus and gracious forgiveness of God. Jesus suffers, God forgives.

The argument from 1 John 3:16 seems very tenuous. There is no immediate antecedent for ekeinos. It seems to me likely that the emphatic pronoun makes reference to John 15:13 or a derivative tradition. And can we really imagine that John wold have said of God that he “laid down his psychēn for us”?

The line of thought traced in John 1-2 is more persuasive, but it remains speculative, and the logic is disrupted by the switch from “tabernacled” (eskēnōsen) to “temple” (naos).

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