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Evil and the Justice of God Hardcover – October 5, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Why does evil persist in a world created by a good God? And why does the church seem so feeble in counteracting evil? Wright, a New Testament scholar who is Anglican bishop of Durham, U.K., and author of several well-received volumes, including Jesus and the Victory of God, addresses these questions in a readable and compelling plea to renew the church's compassionate mission in these challenging times. While many look to secular institutions to fix society's problems, Wright counsels that Christians must envision what life will be like in the coming Kingdom, and then suggests ways in which they can help bring about that world—one where suffering and war are things of the past. Wright expresses godly concern and deep devotion, and offers a vision that he believes is workable even in the midst of so many problems. He sees the call to the church as an extension of God's call to Israel: to be a light to all the nations, a vessel of God's love to the whole world. Jesus, he insists, "articulates and models the call to Israel to be Israel." Wright calls upon the church to accept the challenge to represent God in the world in its service and its witness, and to reach out to those who are hurting. (Nov.)
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From Booklist

When the bishop of Durham, Christian scholar and excellent popular exegete, turns to that sturdy theological tough nut, the problem of evil, he fills old answers with fresh hope. That is fortunate, for the two most current answers to it are hollow. The ideology of progress--that there is only constant improvement toward perfection--was quashed by the Holocaust, and the postmodernist tenet most succinctly stated as "Shit happens" declares us powerless to fight evil. But God, Wright argues, has conclusively answered the problem of evil in his promises to the Jews in the Old Testament and to everyone through Christ's death and resurrection. Wright's biblical exegesis is brilliant enough to revive many a flagging spirit, and the advice on how to use faith in God's promises to deal with evil in the real world is even more restorative. Live within the kingdom of God now, imaginatively but also really, by living in holiness, and practice forgiveness (e.g., in the nascent restorative justice movement). Familiar teaching made vital and compelling again. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books; Fifth edition (October 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830833986
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830833986
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #897,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

N.T. WRIGHT is the former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England and one of the world's leading Bible scholars. He is now serving as the Chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the School of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews. For twenty years he taught New Testament studies at Cambridge, McGill and Oxford Universities. As being both one of the world's leading Bible scholars and a popular author, he has been featured on ABC News, Dateline, The Colbert Report, and Fresh Air. His award-winning books include The Case for the Psalms, How God Became King, Simply Jesus, After You Believe, Surprised by Hope, Simply Christian, Scripture and the Authority of God, The Meaning of Jesus (co-authored with Marcus Borg), as well as being the translator for The Kingdom New Testament. He also wrote the impressive Christian Origins and the Question of God series, including The New Testament and the People of God, Jesus and the Victory of God, The Resurrection of the Son of God and most recently, Paul and the Faithfulness of God.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Erin J on November 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
N. T. Wright summarizes the subject of evil in the world, and how God allows it, and what he has done and is doing about its continuing presence. This is not an exhaustive treatment of the subject, but it is certainly a provacative and well thought out discussion of evil. Wright says that he was attempting to deal with the meaning of the cross and found that he had to deal with the subject of what does the cross do about evil? This book starts out by recognizing and pointing out some of the obvious problems of evil in the world. He shows that evil is not just found in so-called evil people, but runs potentially down the middle of all of us. He also shows how that evil is in the world as exemplified by such things as earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis.

Bishop Wright the biblical origins of evil by beginning in Genesis and then carrying the thread throughout the Hebrew Scriptures and then the New Testament. He asks the question, what can God do about evil? He speaks of the cross, resurrection, and life in the Spirit as being God's reversal of evil in God's New Creation that began according to John 20:1 "Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark..." when Mary came to the tomb and found it empty. The author in no way encourages Christians to ignore the problem of evil, but rather invites us to imagine a world without evil and to pray for God's will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven and deliver us from evil. This is not a light weight treatment of the subject, but this book is not difficult reading. There is not any highly technical language so anyone could read and understand this book. I recommend it highly. God bless.
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115 of 125 people found the following review helpful By Cameron B. Clark VINE VOICE on December 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wright's book was developed out of five lectures he delivered at Westminster Abbey in 2003 and, in summary form, through a television program which first screened in the U.K. on Easter Day 2005. Its approach is biblical, practical, even intuitive, but not philosophical. As he states in his preface after reflecting on the recent natural disasters caused by tsunamis, hurricanes and earthquakes and the 9/11 attacks: "They are a reminder that 'the problem of evil' is not something we will 'solve' in the present world, and that our primary task is not so much to give answers to impossible philosophical questions as to bring signs of God's new world to birth on the basis of Jesus' death and in the power of his Spirit, even in the midst of 'the present evil age.'" This primary task underlies Wright's approach to what he calls, in chapter 1, 'the new problem of evil'. The old problem was a metaphysical question, asking why evil exists if there is a wise, good and supremely-powerful god. Contrary to some, Wright thinks this is a futile question, and one the Bible does not answer in any way satisfying to contemporary philosophers. The new problem in its present metaphysical form, he says, has been around for at least two-and-a-half centuries, beginning with the Lisbon earthquake on All Saints' Day 1755. He agrees with Susan Neiman's assessment in her book, Evil in Modern Thought, that Europe's philosophical history is best understood as people trying to cope or come to terms with evil. This includes Enlightenment-modern thinkers as well as postmodern ones. However, Wright sees the lines of thought that emerge from these attempts to understand the world in general and evil in particular as unsatisfactory.Read more ›
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Waldron Scott on February 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Bishop Wright begins his five-part meditation on Evil by refering to well-known horrific events such as the Lisbon earthquake, 9/11, the Sumatra tsunami and Katrina, suggesting that he will deal with the conundrum of "natural evil" as well as the "personal evil" that pervades the world. This promise is not fulfilled, for most of the book focuses on personal evil and how a just God had dealt and will deal with it, and how human beings might relate to it relevantly today. He frames the problem within the framework of the Christus Victor theory, and concludes that "Jesus throughout his public career and supremely at the cross had dealt with it [evil], taken its full force, exhausted it," thereby effectively defeating it. He concludes with some very practical thoughts on what it means to forgive orselves and forgive others. In his presentation Wright dialogues with such luminaries as Susan Neiman,Desmund Tutu, Miroslav Wolf and I. Gregory Jones. Wright's conclusions will not be convincing to all - in what sense can we say the power of evil (natural as well as personal) has been exhausted? -- but as always he is a provocative and pastoral writer, each of whose books I have read with benefit.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Daniel and Keren Threlfall on December 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In Evil and the Jus­tice of God, N.T. Wright unleashes his cus­tom­ary pow­er­ful and insight­ful bib­li­cal prowess, com­bin­ing it with a keen aware­ness of cir­cum­stances today. The book is no ivory tower analy­sis of a the­o­ret­i­cal evil pres­ence. Instead, Wright grap­ples with the appalling nat­ural tragedies and shock­ing injus­tice that rock our world today. He even wres­tles with the his­tor­i­cal dif­fi­cul­ties of geno­cide and mur­der that read­ers of the Old Tes­ta­ment encounter.

Evil and the Jus­tice of God is divided into five chapters:

Chap­ter 1 -- Evil Is Still a Four-Letter Word: The New Prob­lem of Evil -- Wright dis­cusses the panorama of the prob­lem of evil, includ­ing a sur­vey of the post­mod­ern under­stand­ing of evil.
Chap­ter 2 -- What Can God Do About Evil? Unjust World, Just God? Here is where Wright explores the Old Tes­ta­ment pas­sages on evil, focus­ing par­tic­u­larly on Isa­iah and Job.
Chap­ter 3 -- Evil and the Cru­ci­fied God. Chap­ter three is a sur­vey of the New Tes­ta­ment data, includ­ing the atonement.
Chap­ter 4 -- Imag­ine There's No Evil: God's Promise of a World Set Free. Wright empha­sizes a restora­tive jus­tice per­spec­tive when he deals with evil on a global scale.
Chap­ter 5 -- Deliver Us from Evil: For­giv­ing Myself, For­giv­ing Oth­ers. The book closes on a tone of per­sonal appli­ca­tion, encour­ag­ing for­give­ness, and joy in the ulti­mate tri­umph of God over all evil.

Why I Nod­ded My Head When I Read Evil and the Jus­tice of God

One of the help­ful fea­tures of the book is the way in which Wright per­forms a bib­li­cal the­ol­ogy of evil. This bib­li­cal the­ol­ogy is quite selec­tive.
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