A Study Of The Definitive Cause Of Death Of The Lord Jesus Christ -- By: Norvelle Wallace Sharpe

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 087:348 (Oct 1930)
Article: A Study Of The Definitive Cause Of Death Of The Lord Jesus Christ
Author: Norvelle Wallace Sharpe


A Study Of The Definitive Cause Of Death Of The Lord Jesus Christ

Norvelle Wallace Sharpe

(Dedicated to the Memory of David Somerville, Esq.)

I

It is more than probable that certain readers (lay) have from time to time heard or read,—and it is more than possible that certain readers (cleric) have from time to time uttered or written,—the statement that “Jesus died of a broken heart.” Such statement,—terminology differing somewhat with the author, the time, the place, and the circumstance,—commonly serves as the climax to a precedent discussion of the cosmic tragedy that terminated on Calvary. The discussion itself is usually frankly emotional in type, or quite obviously an effort so to be,—and the speaker, or writer, usually well meaning, and it is assumed, quite probably sincere. Often the statement is made or recorded, that physicians (name, address, qualifications, and date rarely if ever given) state that such was the cause of death.

Now it so happens that the definitive cause of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ far transcends mere casuistic significance, likewise incomparably dominates in importance the personal opinion of any man be he never so well meaning and never so sincere;—for in predetermined plan and purpose it involves the mind of God, and in effective and discriminative application it involves the individual and collective eternal determination of man.

If the foregoing statements be true it would seem abundantly worthy that an effort be made to ascertain the truth or the falsity of the allegation as heretofore stated. Consideration of such statements (whether verbal or written) shows that commonly they originate with a theologian, or a minister, or an exegete, or with one who, if not fairly to be classified with these, is yet more or less interested in Biblical, in spiritual, or in “religious” matters. For the purpose of this study, such a state-

ment will be called the theologic statement. As noted ante this theologic statement is frequently fortified and buttressed by an opinion or statement credited to some physician. For the purpose of this study, such a statement will be termed the scientific statement. Contact points between Theology and Science are obvious to any analytic mind,—but, in general, the two fields are strictly delimited and wholly distinct. Adequate study of this important problem will therefore compel consideration from a two-fold angle.

So far as known to the writer, there is no secular record regarding the definitive cause of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ that is of the slightest value;—and, so far as known to the writer, there is n...

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