Divine Impassibility and the Mystery of Human Suffering

Feast of St Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople
Divine Impassibility and the Mystery of Human Suffering edited by James F. Keating and Thomas Joseph White, O.P.

Divine_Impassibility_and_Mystery_of_Human_Suffering_Square.jpegDOES GOD suffer along with his creation, or is He impassible—beyond the reach of all suffering and evil? Modern theologians, in the wake of epic tragedies such as the Holocaust or the Indonesian Tsunami, have increasingly challenged classical Christian doctrines of impassibility: “Since we suffer, should we not say that God suffers as well?” Traditionalist responses in turn raise the central question of human redemption: “Must not God in some way be free from suffering . . . if He is able to save us?” This rich collection of essays by eleven contemporary theologians—Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox—explores the many facets of an increasingly heated discussion. Each theologian chooses to frame the question of impassibility in different ways, from Bruce Marshal’s reflection on the final words of Jesus (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) to David Bentley Hart’s incisive arguments for divine transcendence to Paul Gavrilyuk’s presentation of a paradoxical Christology. But together they add new dimensions to our understanding of theodicy, God’s nature, and human culpability and salvation. The collection also offers a superb introduction to the many voices that have addressed the subject over the last three thousand years, from Job to Augustine, Cyril, and Hilary of Poitiers, from Aquinas to Nietzsche, Barth, Balthasar, and Dostoevsky.

355 pp. paper $52.00

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