After the first atomic bomb was successfully detonated by the United States Army at 5:29 am on July 16, 1945 in the New Mexico desert, director of the Los Alamos Laboratory, J. Robert Oppenheimer responded to what he witnessed by quoting from the Hindu scripture, Bhagavad Gita, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” (see the full quote here).
What released this devastating power to kill hundreds of thousands of people, even having the potential to cause life itself to cease to exist on planet earth, was a process called fission, the nuclear reaction created from splitting the atom.
What’s of particular interest to me is that Oppenheimer, allegedly inspired by the poetry of John Donne, gave the atomic bomb test the code name, “Trinity.” This is not a coincidence and should not be lost on us.
The power is in the relationship
The power of the atom is not in the individual particles—neutron, proton, or electron—but in the relationship between them. We call it an atom (singular), yet we understand that it’s made up into three distinct parts. These parts are subsumed within the whole. And when we attempt to split them up, enormous destructive power is released.
Because God’s “invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead” (Rom.1:20), I believe the structural nature of the atom, the basic element of matter, can give us a small glimpse into the structural nature of God. And like with the atom, I don’t believe you can theologically “split” God up without destructive consequences in how we understand His nature.
The devastating effect of splitting God
Because we’ve had such a poor understanding of the Triune nature of God in the West (more so than the Eastern Orthodox), and the hypostatic union of Christ, we can end up making Him three gods with some of our doctrines. For instance, we pit the Father against the Son, like Dr. Jekyll (Jesus) and Mr. Hyde (Father), having Him supposedly pouring out all of His wrath on Jesus, abandoning Him on the cross (so God can forgive us?)
But if the Father was not in Christ…at any time…what does that do to the Trinity? What would happen to creation itself! Would this not be “the Destroyer of worlds“?
It’s popular to say that God had to turn away from Jesus on the cross because He couldn’t look on sin. There are two problems with this. First, we’ve taken one-half of one verse in the Bible out of context as our proof text! So my response would be, have you actually read the whole verse? (see Hab.1:13). The second problem is, then what was Jesus doing hanging out with all those sinners!
Just before Jesus was to be betrayed and crucified, He said the following:
32 Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. (John 16:32 *)
Earlier in the same gospel account, Jesus said this about His crucifixion…
28 Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. 29 And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” (John 8:28-29 *)
What don’t we get about “I do nothing of Myself” or “The Father has not left me alone”? Not to mention, God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (2 Cor.5:19).
God does NOT do abandonment!
I also wrote a post titled, “The Father did NOT abandon Jesus” back in 2014 that deals with all the reasons why people think God abandoned Jesus. I will refer you to that post for a more thorough treatment of this subject.
Separating the Father from the Son can have a devastating effect on our relationship with God. How so? Because if God could abandon Jesus, then He could certainly abandon us. But I’m very happy to tell you that this is a LIE. When we say Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we’re saying that God is about relationship. He never does anything alone!
So, in light of our celebration of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, remember that God never, ever, no, not ever…abandoned His Son for even one moment. And He will NEVER abandon you either, no matter what the circumstance!
For He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] (Heb.13:5b AMP)
* Unless otherwise noted, New King James Bible translation. All emphasis added.
NOTE: I will be away from the blogosphere until after Easter. I wish you and yours a very blessed Resurrection Weekend. He is risen!