Lee C. Barrett, "Kierkegaard on the Beauty of the Cross," Participatio Supplemental Volume 5: "Søren Kierkegaard as a Christian, Incarnational Theologian" (2019): 83-101
Barrett, Lee C. "Kierkegaard on the Beauty of the Cross." Participatio Supplemental Volume 5: "Søren Kierkegaard as a Christian, Incarnational Theologian" (2019): 83-101
Paradoxically, Kierkegaard regarded the crucifixion as potentially being an occasion for joy. For Kierkegaard this joy suggested something more than the traditional conviction that the crucifixion was instrumentally related to the forgiveness of sins and the consequent relief from guilt (although he affirms that). Given the centrality of his incarnational realism, at a more basic level he saw the cross as the manifestation of the extent of God’s desire to be in communion with human individuals, and therefore as the culmination of the lowliness of the incarnation. Because self-oriented humans cannot abide the prospect of radically other-regarding love, Christ inevitably provoked lethal hostility. Nevertheless, Christ accepted this persecution and suffering as the price that had to be paid for divine fellowship with humanity. The beauty of this costly divine self-giving can exult the human heart and inspire emulation.