By David Bragg
There are three dates you should keep in mind as you read this article: 1897, 1900, 2012.
The first is the most debatable because the circumstances have, ironically, been exaggerated. One of the most popular versions has it that while Mark Twain was in London an American newspaper erroneously printed the humorist's obituary. When asked to comment on this mistake Twain reportedly replied, "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." Twain would go on living for another 13 years.
The second date, 1900, was the year that German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche passed away. He was 55 years old. He is perhaps best known for his observation, printed in various works, declaring that "God is dead." In intervening years his comment, and what various writers suppose he meant by it, have been widely debated.
The third date is 2012. In that year American theologian William Hamilton died. Hamilton is perhaps best known for an article appearing in the April 8, 1966 issue of Time Magazine entitled "Is God Dead?" Liberal theologians, skeptics and atheists rallied around Hamilton's observations as if it somehow justified their anti-religious views.
All three of these dates are important to consider. Let me state the obvious. There is one date that can not be given because it has not (and never will) exist: the date of God's death. Twain is in his grave. Nietzsche is no more. Hamilton is dead. Yet God, the eternal God, lives.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. (Psalm 90:2)
- David Bragg serves as one of the ministers at the Northwest Church of Christ in Greensboro, NC and is co-editor of BulletinGold. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.nwchurchofchrist.com/ or his blog: http://davidbragg.blogspot.com/