This is pursuant to a bible study group which met in my home tonight, and I came out with the outlandish statement that God didn't abandon Jesus on the cross.
Matthew 27:46 is regularly seen in some protestant circles as grounding a notion of the atonement in that Jesus suffered 'Hell' on the Cross, insofar as he experienced separation from God. Now, I'm pretty sure that's going beyond Mt 27:46, and Ps 22:1. I suspect it also catches on to a somewhat populist idea that Hell is 'Separation from God'. There does seem some warrant in that idea, the language of being 'cast outside', and the 'outer darkness', etc..
Jn 8:29 and the like, seem to me to indicate the abiding presence of the Father with the Son. In fact, I go so far to affirm the Patristic notion that at the Cross Jesus dies in his human nature, and his human nature is cut off from the favour and personal fellowship of the Father. The Son, in his divine nature cannot be separated from the Father.
Truly this is a mystery. Perhaps my outlandish statement was too outlandish though. Perhaps I should carefully qualify and articulate these statements.
[Edit: I think I'm continuing to be unclear. I think I want to affirm that the punishment Jesus endures involves separation in terms of fellowship and favour of the Father, but not 'presence', because God is omnipresent, neither 'ontological' separation - the Son cannot be separated from the Father because they are one Substance. Thus, when Jesus dies on the Cross, and dies in his human nature, the Divine Son experiences, mysteriously for the Living God, Death in his Human Nature for sin. Hope this clarification helps.]
What are your thoughts on the subject?