Part Two: Naming

by Jonas Weaver

Part 2 of an ongoing series on the death of God within a biblical framework.

…that language is murder, that is, the act of naming things, of substituting a name for the sensation, gives things to us, but in a form that deprives those things of their being. Human speech is thus the annihilation of things qua things, and their articulation through language is truly their death-rattle: Adam is the first serial killer. (p.62, Very Little…Almost Nothing)

In the story of Jesus’ Incarnation we find a moment when he is named. Of course, he’s already been named Jesus, thus cementing him as a human being and further distancing him from the Godhood which is self-ascribed later on. But, more startlingly, in Matthew 3:13-17 we find God giving name to who Jesus is. This is the first moment in which I find Isaiah’s statement, God speaking via Isaiah, to begin to be fulfilled – “But the Lord was pleased/To crush Him, …”. God is naming Jesus as his son, as the child from his loins. But, as Critchley argues, if this is God’s son then naming him as such is a deprivation of that being. In stating that Jesus is his son God the Father is removing from Jesus the title of being God and his son. Ultimately, this is found in the forsaken moments of Jesus upon the cross. Here, though, in the baptism, we find Jesus beginning his death as God. Baptism into his own death.