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What Shall We Say?: Evil, Suffering, And The Crisis Of Faith (2011)

by Thomas G. Long(Favorite Author)
4.24 of 5 Votes: 5
0802865143 (ISBN13: 9780802865144)
William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
review 1: This is a pretty solid piece of work. Tom Long reveals a great deal of scholarship and research for this book. I was surprised by the vastness of his quotes of scholarly material. But it is a pretty clearly and plainly presented argument. He does not settle for easy or cheap answers. He deals with the mystery of a Good God, powerful, loving and evil. One of those must not be true -- or so philosophers have suggested. Dr. Long argues that Christian preachers do have another way of coming at the problem. A good God made a good earth. when evil is found, we have a right and an act of loyal faith to come in fury, anger and pain to God and voice our displeasure with him. But God is not responsible for evil. There is a power of evil and sin in the world which causes our su... moreffering. But the evil in all of us means that God cannot come and destroy evil for we would all be destroyed. Also God is not a God of military force or power to destroy evil by force. God is not a God that loves power in our human understanding of power. God is the power of love which is revealed in the suffering and death of Christ on the Cross. It is by this power of love that God is at work now in the world, in this people, through his church to confront and fight evil. All the people who respond to disasters are people of love who are diluting the power of evil. The power of love has and will make in the final victory eliminate evil.Whether this will satisfy our newly minted atheistic culture is another question but it is a different approach to the logical mess of the four love, good, power evil gridlock.
review 2: Through dramatic retelling of this history and sharing stories of individual suffering, Long pushes us face-to-face with the thorniest problem in all theology, the one that has come to be labeled “theodicy.” He points out that theodicy is a relatively recent way of reacting to pain and suffering. In biblical times, when a person experienced this sort of injustice, it would drive him or her to prayerful lament, to ever greater cries to God to come and save. In our time, pain and suffering often drive people to frame evil and suffering as a rational problem that requires a logical solution. Long calls this latter response “the impossible chess match,” a game in which the outcome always seems rigged against faith in favor of no faith.What, then, shall we say to the problems of evil and suffering? First, Long argues, a compassionate Christian response accepts people who are suffering where they are. There is a time simply to acknowledge suffering, and listen to the voices of pain and outrage. But, Long says, there does come a time when people of faith try to make sense of their experiences of evil and suffering. When that time comes, we must realize – and this is Long’s second point – that the Bible does not operate in the same way as contemporary philosophical discourse. It is less a record of philosophy and more a living story of relationship. Though the Bible doesn’t answer all the problematic philosophical questions we might throw at it, it offers something more important. It bears witness to the triune God who offers us a close relationship in and through suffering, to the time when “God will wipe every tear from their eyes ….” From our perspective, we can’t know everything about evil, but we do know that it is God’s enemy, and that God comes to battle it in the power of the cross and the power of love. less
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What I like about Long's books is he always makes me think about subjects in new and different ways.
Super. The organization is helpful for teaching purposes.
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