The Cause Of Our Lord’s Death -- By: George Lindley

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 088:350 (Apr 1931)
Article: The Cause Of Our Lord’s Death
Author: George Lindley

The Cause Of Our Lord’s Death

George Lindley

In the Bibliotheca Sacra for October, 1930, there is rather a remarkable article by Lieut.Col. N. W. Sharpe, M.D., F.A.C.S., etc. It is A Study of the Definitive Cause of Death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Written by a competent medical man, an able thinker and an evangelical Christian, the article furnishes food for thought both to the scientist and the non-scientist.

Now we understand the wise policy of the Bibliotheca Sacra to be non-controversial. While it stands firmly for evangelical Bible truth, it is not its custom to consider controversial discussion, at least in the sense of opening its columns to strictures of one writer upon another. But as the spirit of the present article is not polemical, as also the subject introduced by Dr. Sharpe is one of such paramount importance, it is deemed that further consideration from a different viewpoint may be permissible.

Whether or not our Lord died of a broken heart (in the psychological sense of heart), or of a ruptured heart (in the physical or literal sense of heart), we say not. That question we now leave to the very contrary conclusions of medical men. But whether or not He died by the hand of man is a very different thing. It brings us directly to Bible data.

According to the view already presented, Christ’s death was not effected by human means; He did not die by human hands. “All of the man-made plans and agencies to accomplish the death of our Lord failed.” Man had not “been able to accomplish, by his own murderous plan, purpose or agencies, the actual death of the Saviour of man” (p. 442f.). Instead of this, the “act of death” on Christ’s part was “absolutely volitional.” “The Son volitionally commended His spirit to the Father, and volitionally died.” His was a “volitional exitus” (p. 446f.,

451). Thus was His sacrificial and obediential death pre-determinedly and volitionally accomplished to the glory of God the Father” (446).

Stress also is laid on the fact that Jesus “yielded” or “gave up” the ghost. Thus we read: “ ‘Jesus yielded up the ghost’ (Mk. 15:37). ‘He gave up the ghost’ (Lu. 23:46). ‘He gave up the ghost’ (John 19:3). The foregoing inspired records are both unanimous and conclusive, that neither physical nor mental cause of death prevailed; they are equally unanimous and conclusive that the Son volitionally commended His spirit to the Father, and volitionally died” (p. 447).

But if, as t...

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