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God and Human Suffering: An Exercise in the Theology of the Cross

Author: 
Douglas John Hall (Author)
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Description

Professor Hall has written a major work on an agonizing subject, at once brilliant, comprehensive, and thought provoking.

In contrast to many writers who gloss over one or the other, Dr. Hall is true both to the reality of suffering and to the affirmation that God creates, sustains, and redeems.

Creative is his view that certain aspects of what we call suffering -- loneliness, experience of limits, temptation, anxiety -- are necessary parts of God's good creation. These he distinguishes from suffering after the fall, the tragic dimension of life.

Unique is his structure:
  • creation-suffering as becoming
  • the fall--suffering as a burden
  • redemption--conquest from within.


Professor Hall succeeds in moving the reader beyond the customary way of stating the problem: "How can undeserved suffering coexist with a just and almighty God?" He also evaluates five popular, leading thinkers on suffering: Harold Kushner, C.S. Lewis, Diogenes Allen, George Buttrick, and Leslie Weatherhead.
ISBN: 
9780806623146
Price: 
$23.00
Release date: 
January 1, 1987
Pages: 
224
Width: 
8.38
Height: 
5.56

Endorsements

"I seldom call a book 'great' but do so in describing this book. It probes with freshness and profundity faith's most perplexing dilemma. It combines careful intellectual discriminations with passion. It illumines the possibilities for faith and inspires action in the world."
--John C. Bennett

"This brilliant theological essay on God and evil, faithful to the gospel, and in solidarity with sufferers and victims, offers a moving invitation to mourn, to act, and to hope."
--Gregory Baum

"Douglas John Hall is Karl Barth's type of theologian, with the Scripture in the one hand and a daily newspaper in the other. He has a deep perception of the Christian tradition--moving Christologically--and razored insights into the problems of our culture."
--James A. Nestingen

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
     Basic Affirmations of the Tradition
     The Importance of the Context
     The Ordering of the Discussion

1. The Reality of Human Suffering
     A. Biblical Faith Confesses the Radical Reality of Human Suffering
     B. Ideological Presuppositions of First World Apathy
     C. The Incapacity to Suffer
     D. The Question

2. Creation: Suffering as Becoming
     Introduction: What Should Be?
     A. Struggle Belongs to the Created Order
     B. The Circumscription of Suffering in Creational Theology
     C. The Human Vocation: Stewarding Life
     D. Transition: The Great Risk

3. The Fall: Suffering as Burden
     Introduction: Suffering that Should Not Be!
     A. Sin and Suffering: Connections?
     B. The Irony of Sin
     C. The Tragic Dimension
     D. Understanding and Changing

4. Redemption: Conquest from Within
     Introduction: Redemption as "Point of Departure"
     A. Not by Might
     B. Intimations of an Alternative: The Theology of the Cross
     C. The Conquest from Within
     D. Acceptance and Transformation

5. The Church: Community of Suffering and Hope
     Introduction: Faith, Religion, and Suffering
     A. The Courage to Become
     B. Suffering as Participation and Transformation
     C. We Rejoice in Our Sufferings: Suffering and Hope

Appendix: Dialog and Conclusions
     1. Harold S. Kushner, When Bad Things Happen To Good People
     2. C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
     3. Diogenes Allen, Traces of God: In a Frequently Hostile World
     4. George A. Buttrick, God, Pain and Evil
     5. Leslie D. Weatherhead, Salute to a Sufferer

Notes
Indexes