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Soon after the Indian Ocean tsunami in December, Hart penned two essays, one for the Wall Street Journal and another for First Things, concerning the question of theodicy-how a powerful, loving God co-exists with evil and natural disaster. This book expands on the essay's theological thesis that "what God permits, rather than violate the autonomy of the created world, may be in itself contrary to what he wills." Hart, an Eastern Orthodox Christian, wants to rescue God from predestination. The book begins with an elegant description of the geological factors leading to the earthquake and ensuing tsunami. Hart then admits that, upon learning of this devastation, "we should probably all have remained silent for awhile." But since few did, he joined the chorus in an effort to counter some upsetting arguments given to help people understand God's role in the disaster. Writing in a sophisticated, academic style-highlighting the philosophical and theological writings of Voltaire, Aquinas, Dostoyevsky and Calvin-Hart asks Christians to allow themselves to be moved and horrified by violence, natural or human-made, and, at the same time, to acknowledge that God can and someday will bring about the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. It's an eloquent and persuasive stance.
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"Outstanding" The Wall Street Journal "This eloquent statement of a Christian facing, once more, the devastations of what is too easily designated "the natural order" is a lucid exposition of what may and may not be said in the name of Jesus Christ about personal and corporate human suffering." Douglas John Hall "In a lifetime of struggling both personally and pastorally with the problem of evil and suffering, I have come across no brief study more immediately relevant than this one... Hart mounts a searing attack on all accounts of horrendous evil that allow observers to offer packaged comfort while contemplating the suffering of others from a safe distance. His critique of the Reformed tradition should be required reading for those of us who have been shaped by it. Above all, in his "rage against explanation," he shows us how we can be true pastoral companions to those who suffer." Fleming Rutledge "Although David Hart is by training a theologian (one of America's finest), he is also a man of letters. In the terrible wake of the recent Indian Ocean tsunami -- and in the face of a world looking for, even demanding, answers -- his is precisely the voice that is needed, a voice as articulate, incisive, and ultimately inspiring as that of C. S. Lewis." John Betz --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
Hart is brilliant. Maybe a little too brilliant. I had to have a dictionary handy. I have never heard of some of the words he uses. Some of his sentences are unusually long. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Theodicy in its most common form, attempts to answer the question why a good God permits the manifestation of evil. So says Wikipedia. Dr. Read morePublished 2 months ago by James H. Beauchamp
I hate to give the great David Bentley Hart two stars, but I'm afraid I must. I read two books by him previously, which prompted me to pick this book for a class discussion I was... Read morePublished 2 months ago by M. A. D'Virgilio
Though his writing style, a very academic one at that, was at times difficult to get through, his clarity of thought, line of reasoning, and gifted reasoning skills, made reading... Read morePublished 2 months ago by M. Zahn Martin
I have appreciated Hart's writings in the journal First Things, so my high hopes were disappointed in this book. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Daniel Handel
A compelling and serious book by one of the most brilliant contemporary religious thinkers. He does not tolerate fools gladly and has a great style and he answers one of the great... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Lawrence Cross