In Old Testament times, sometimes serious agreements were created by taking animals and splitting them in half, then having the party who was making the promise walk between the halves, signifying that if they broke their part of the contract, they would be split apart like these animals.

In Genesis 15, God makes a covenant with Abram, promising that his descendants will be as numerous as the stars and that they will return to their land. But it isn’t Abram who goes between the animal halves–it’s God, manifest as a smoking firepot and a flaming torch.

God keeps his end of the bargain, but less than a chapter later, Abram disregards God and, with Sarai, decides to let Hagar the handmaid have his son instead of the son that God promised. Abram already betrays the covenant. And on a larger scale, Israel betrays him–over and over and over. As does the rest of humanity. At this breaking of the covenant, what God did at its creation symbolizes that He is the one who will have to be torn apart.

Then, 2000 years ago, while Jesus was on the cross, just before he died, cried out, “Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani?” It means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

The Father, one with the Son, had abandoned the Son. God had rent himself in two over humanity’s betrayal.

But our God is not dead–He is surely alive. Three days later, Jesus rose again, proving that when man destroyed the temple, He built it again in three days. God defeated death and literally tore himself in half to save us.

He is risen.

He is risen indeed.

Happy Easter.