"My God, my God,
why have You forsaken me?
Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.
O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer;
and by night, but I have no rest....
For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
nor has He hidden His face from him;
But when he cried to Him for help, He heard"
(Ps 22:1-2, 24).
For years I've heard the claim that God the Father
separated himself ontologically from
God the Son while Jesus was hanging on the cross.
In my opinion, this doctrine comes from an incorrect interpretation of
Psalm 22 and Jesus' citation of it.
Scholars, in this case, are guilty of violating their own exegetical rules.
Biblical poetry must never be pressed into a full-blown systematic theology. The first half of Psalm 22 (vv. 1-21)
defines what David means by being "forsaken" by God:
"I am crying out to you for deliverance
from my enemies and you are not responding."
The second half of Psalm 22 (vv. 22-31), however, makes it
perfectly clear that God did hear the cries of his anointed one, that he did not hide his face from him. Rather,
God simply refrained from rescuing the king to
fulfill much larger purposes,
namely, the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant
(see Ps 22:27; Matt 28:18-20).
The Father did not separate himself ontologically
or hide his face from his Son
while he was hanging on the cross.
Rather, with incredible forbearance and loving restraint,
he chose to answer his Son's cries for help by
raising him from the grave rather than keep him from it!
"Then He said to them, 'My soul is deeply grieved,
to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.'
And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying,
'My Father, if it is possible, let this cup
pass from Me;
yet not as I will, but as You will'"
(Matt 26:38-39; see 26:53-54).