I have been recently very puzzled about how to reconcile the notion of God’s impassibility with the suffering of the Word made flesh. More classic theologians have told me that God in his being does not suffer in any sense. But if that is so, I don’t know what the crucifixion – the self-sacrifice of Christ for the other – tells us about God. As such it seems not a revelation but rather a lie.
Yet I have been reading Balthasar on God’s suffering. In particular I find this line of thought very compelling: the idea that God, since he is Love itself, and since he is a self-existent being which cannot gain in perfection, must therefore possess all the modalities of Love itself. One of the forms or modalities of love is obviously voluntary suffering – or “suffering for the sake of the other.” Therefore this reality must exist in God’s very being and nature. Therefore the persons of the Trinity must in some sense suffer and empty themselves for the sake of each other, and thus find fulfillment and perfection in so doing.