For this topic and question, I've tried finding and learning from other sources online (for reasons of unintentional duplication here but more-so the intentional avoidance of posting something presumably controversial) to avoid asking this but have failed getting a usable answer.

I'll outline the premise first with this: the christian god created the universe, the world (earth), and everything in it (e.g. us). The christian god is and always has been omniscient and omnipotent. The christian god is also the trinity (father, son, and holy spirit/ghost).

Following that logic (above), the christian god created his executioner (at least for his son), so that constitutes (partial) "sui-deicide" - is that correct?

Lastly (and this is the part that I'm most curious about), what are the implications of assuming that the christian god knowingly created his son's executioners?

  • Argh, not from me, but you're liable to get a "this isn't philosophy even if it's philosophical" complaint lodged against this post as worded. You might try generalizing/abstracting the presentation some, throw in some SEP quotes/links. I feel for you, though, just imagine trying to ask these questions on the ChristianitySE. Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 13:58
  • See Jesus: "Christian doctrines include the beliefs that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, was born of a virgin named Mary, performed miracles, founded the Christian Church, died by crucifixion as a sacrifice to achieve atonement for sin, rose from the dead, and ascended into Heaven, from where he will return." According to this doctrine, Jesus was God "made human"; he "was born and died", and he died because killed by humans. Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 13:59
  • @KristianBerry this question might fly on Chrsitianity.SE only because it mentions the Trinity. But it would have to be a question about Trinitarian theology - not philosophy. Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 14:11
  • @PeterTurner I would hope so, but I worry that most of the replies there would be orthodox and Bible-based. The OP could find a way to "philosophize" the question with a more dogma-neutral description of a multipersonal deity, maybe even just by saying "imagine a multipersonal deity such as the Trinity" and it would be a better fit, here. Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 14:38
  • On the other hand, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has entire articles on specific Christian topics so I also wonder if the question isn't really fine as is? Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 14:39

4 Answers 4


I'll offer, if I may, a simple reductio ad absurdium to the premise of your question. If Jesus had not been crucified, He (in the Person of God) still would have been the creator of the forces that ended His human life. It wouldn't have mattered if He died in a tower accident or disease or even the slow process usually called "Natural Causes". So no matter how Jesus died, calling it suicide, is an immaterial accident.

For the theological reasons why a shedding of blood was necessary for redemption of mankind, I think you ought to ask a question about crucifixion on Christianity.SE, and St. Thomas Aquinas tackles the question of whether Christ needed to suffer in the summa theologiae

For since it is impossible for God's foreknowledge to be deceived and His will or ordinance to be frustrated, then, supposing God's foreknowledge and ordinance regarding Christ's Passion, it was not possible at the same time for Christ not to suffer, and for mankind to be delivered otherwise than by Christ's Passion. And the same holds good of all things foreknown and preordained by God, as was laid down in I:14:13.

And the relevant bit about God's foreknowledge being this

Now God knows all contingent things not only as they are in their causes, but also as each one of them is actually in itself. And although contingent things become actual successively, nevertheless God knows contingent things not successively, as they are in their own being, as we do but simultaneously

The other important thing to remember is that Jesus promised that He would be raised again. So, unlike suicide, which is an end of life. If there was certain foreknowledge of life after death, suicide would be counted as a righteous act of faith which, incidentally, His followers would take upon themselves and He encouraged it:

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

Luke 9:23


Firstly, the Christian God is a trinity (at least, in the mainstream traditions), that is three different persons representing the same God. So, there is a problem with defining suicide: e.g., a person killing themselves does not apply.

Secondly, there is the issue of free will, which Christianity believes to be the case - that is, even though created by God in his image, humans are independent agents, whose actions are not predetermined by God, so the latter cannot be held responsible for their actions.

Philosophically/Ideologically Christianity is really about the dilemmas facing an individual - in their relation to society, to death, etc. - represented via the life of Jesus in the New Testament. It is not about the origin of the physical world and the law, which are the emphasis of Judaism, and which are covered in the Torah. If Torah is incorporated into Christianity as the Old Testament, it is mostly to make the claim on the same unique God, rather then undermining the faith by claiming to represent a new rival one. This precedent was followed later by Islam, which accepts both Judaism and Christianity as earlier but imperfect interpretations of the message from the same God, as summarized by the first pillar of Islam: "There is no god but God (and) Muhammad is the messenger of God."


The term 'deicide' implies the death of a god, not the destruction of a physical manifestation or avatar of a god. In Christian theology Christ was one with God — an aspect of God that took on human physical form — and so Christ's death was not God's death. The crucifixion wasn't even deicide, much less some sort of divine suicide.

Theologically speaking, God took on human form in Christ to show people that there was something which transcended (the miseries of) human life and death. He didn't plan his son's execution; he subjected himself to the worst that human life has to offer so that people could see, understand, and reach for divine grace. You can think of it like a landlord moving into a run-down, crime-infested property so that the people who live there know he hasn't forgotten them, and that he wants to make the place better. It's actually an elegant mythos; I wish more Christians grasped it properly.

  • "He didn't plan his son's execution" The Bible is clear that it was God's plan. For example, Acts 2:23: "This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross." Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 23:56
  • @curiousdannii: I don’t think the acts of the apostles are considered the word of God, but set that aside. No one debates the death of Jesus was part of God‘s plan. But the physical death of Jesus was not the same as the death of God. In Christian theology Jesus didn’t die, he ascended to heaven. Therein lies the difference Commented Nov 19, 2022 at 23:29
  • Acts is absolutely considered the word of God, Christians believe all of the Bible is the inspired word of God. You are totally wrong: in Christian theology Jesus did die. And, because of the hypostatic union, it is right to even say that God the Son died, in his human nature. See Can orthodox Trinitarians say, "God died on the cross"? Can I humbly suggest that rather than saying you "wish more Christians grasped it properly" that they may already be doing so, and it is you who are mistaken about some things. Commented Nov 19, 2022 at 23:45
  • The Tome of Leo says "The God who knew no suffering did not despise becoming a suffering man, and, deathless as he is, to be subject to the laws of death." Since the early church it has been good Christian theology to say that God the Son died. Commented Nov 19, 2022 at 23:50
  • It is Islam which teaches that Jesus didn't die and instead ascended directly to heaven. Could you have mixed that up? Commented Nov 19, 2022 at 23:54

In the terms that you're using, there is an element of suicidal ideation involved, as well as filiacide (murder of a son). But the sonship of the Second Person of the Trinity as such, crossed with the deicidal aspect of the situation (which only applies to the Person, not the divine nature), has "ramifications," but it has so many and varied ramifications that we could write or quote whole treatises on the matter. For example:

  1. Sometimes it is acceptable for a son to kill himself with his father's cooperation.
  2. But maybe this is so only modulo divine paternity.
  3. Or maybe it's a matter of what's at stake: if a father and son care for each other but also about others, and for some reason the son's death will help those others, and is the only relevant way to help them.
  4. Or maybe creating something that kills you externally isn't suicide even if foreknown, depending on how/why the external cause kills you.
  5. And maybe suicide or whatever-icide isn't an apt description, if a resurrection is planned shortly thereafter.
  6. Or even the intent beforehand, for resurrection's sake, only annulls the applicability of the "sui-" prefix to the "-cide."
  7. Or (6) again except the intent must be shared by whoever is killed, in whatever way/by whomever's will.

To be sure, your questions have philosophical resonance, so suspending them on this SE would not be justified relative to that parameter. On the other hand, we also have a "lack of focus" parameter to consider. It's hard to tell what kind of focused answer your questions would have, instead of the meandering of remarks like (1) through (7) above.

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