As a Thomistic alternative to my normal Barthian tendencies, I’m observing Holy Week this year by reading the theological essays of Herbert McCabe.
A Dominican philosopher, McCabe has revolutionized my thinking about the faith and prompted me to get back in to reading Aquinas this past year.
This is from his essay ‘Freedom’ in the volume God Matters, which was published shortly after McCabe’s death.
‘The story of Jesus is what the eternal trinitarian life of God looks like when it is projected on to the screen of history, and this means on the screen not only of human history but of sinful human history.
The obedience of Jesus to the Father, his obedience to his mission, is just what the eternal procession of the Son from the Father appears as in history. His obedience consists in nothing else but being in history, human.
Jesus did nothing but be the Son as human; that his life was so colorful, eventful, and tragic is simply because of what being human involves in our world.
We for the most part shy off being human because if we are really human we will be crucified.
If we didn’t know that before, we know it now; the crucifixion of Jesus was simply the dramatic manifestation of the sort of world we have made, the showing up of the world, the unmasking of what we call, traditionally, original sin.
There is no need whatever for peculiar theories about the Father deliberately putting his Son to death.
There is no need for any theory about the death of Jesus.
It doesn’t need any explanation once you know that he was human in our world.
Jesus died in obedience to the Father’s will simply in the sense that the Father will the Son to be human in our world.’