Evil and the Justice of God

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Overview

Merit Award, 2007 Christianity Today Theology/Ethics Book

With every earthquake and war, understanding the nature of evil and our response to it becomes more urgent. Evil is no longer the concern just of ministers and theologians but also of politicians and the media.

We hear of child abuse, ethnic cleansing, AIDS, torture and terrorism, and rightfully we are shocked. But, N. T. Wright says, we should not be surprised. For too long we have ...

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Overview

Merit Award, 2007 Christianity Today Theology/Ethics Book

With every earthquake and war, understanding the nature of evil and our response to it becomes more urgent. Evil is no longer the concern just of ministers and theologians but also of politicians and the media.

We hear of child abuse, ethnic cleansing, AIDS, torture and terrorism, and rightfully we are shocked. But, N. T. Wright says, we should not be surprised. For too long we have naively believed in the modern idea of human progress. In contrast, postmodern thinkers have rightly argued that evil is real, powerful and important, but they give no real clue as to what we should do about it.

In fact, evil is more serious than either our culture or our theology has supposed. How then might Jesus' death be the culmination of the Old Testament solution to evil but on a wider and deeper scale than most imagine? Can we possibly envision a world in which we are delivered from evil? How might we work toward such a future through prayer and justice in the present?

These are the powerful and pressing themes that N. T. Wright addresses in this book that is at once timely and timeless.

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Editorial Reviews

Kenneth J. Zanca
"The subject of evil itself is intriguing, and Bishop Wright keeps our eyes riveted on it. . . . This book's treasures are accessible to any serious reader. There is little in the way of scholarly or critical apparatus, jargon or references to obscure theologians to put one off. Quite the contrary, it reads like an informal speech, given by a knowledgeable individual speaking out of his hard won insights into a most vexing human and theological problem."
Stephen Vantassel
"Wright should be commended for refocusing us on what we ought to do with evil, rather than discussing how it came to be. . . . His book can be profitable to pastors and theologians interested in reflecting on Biblically responsible ways to minister to an evil stricken and suffering world."
Eric Hurtgen
"As always, Wright's arguments are well-conceived and timely; this is a highly recommended read."
Church Libraries MN
"[This book] is an excellent and readable work. The author does not pretend to answer all the philosophical questions that surround this issue, but he does offer some solid insights and encouragement."
Betty Waller
"This short book is remarkable in its content. . . . It is an opportunity to sit at the feet of a real scholar as he deals with a topic complicated by various philosophies in order to find the truth. . . . This is a book of worth and wisdom that belongs in the church library."
I. Birdwhistell
"Well written and accessible."
Dr. Marva Dawn
"With his habitual unparalleled depth and brilliance, Tom Wright offers us in this book new starting points and fruitful paths for relocating and coming to grips with the problem of evil. Along the way he stirs us to fresh commitment to combat evil imaginatively and faithfully. This is a profound book much needed in these times full of catastrophes and conflicts."
Peggy Wehmeyer
"Evil and the Justice of God unravels any skeptic's doubt that a loving God can exist in a world so full of suffering. Tom Wright offers a breathtaking glimpse into the mind and purposes of God . . . and a hope-filled plan for how we can reconcile a broken world with the kingdom to come."
John Wilson
"Wright puts evil in perspective by giving us a powerfully persuasive vision of the 'new heavens and new earth,' the ultimate reality in which we can already begin to participate. This is a book that every thoughtful Christian should read."
J. P. Moreland
"The shadow of N. T. Wright looms large over the evangelical horizon. Wright has established himself as the scholar/activist/teacher to a generation of evangelicals. With the publication of Evil and the Justice of God, Wright enters an arena largely occupied by philosophers, and his entrance is timely indeed. With the tragic events of recent years, there has been a renewed interest in the problem of evil, and while philosophical discussions of the problem are helpful, the desperate need has been for a distinctively biblical approach to the topic by someone apt for handling the subject. Evil and the Justice of God stands alone in satisfying this need. From now on, it should be the first work consulted by Christian philosophers and theologians working on the problem of evil, and pastors, laypeople and Christian workers should read and internalize the perspective of the book to insure a distinctively biblical approach in ministering to people in the face of evil."
Lamin Sanneh
"Evil and the Justice of God is a sure-footed, lively summary of the subject in Scripture and Christian thought. Its central contentions are that the problem of evil has to be confronted in creation, not apart from it, that human beings have a part to play in that drama, and that such a role belongs with what it means to be truly and completely human. Suffering need not remain an eternal riddle; it is a pillar of the structure of reality and of the purpose of God. The book is an immensely useful introduction to one of the great issues of human existence."
Myka Kennedy Stephens
"It is helpful to find an author who pushes readers toward a better understanding of evil instead of rushing to provide answers for why evil happens."
Augustin Tchamba
"The book is well written and easy to read. Wright's purpose is outlined from the beginning and is consistent throughout, providing a practical solution to the problem of evil. We are indebted to Wright for his contribution to this difficult subject of theodicy. An excellent tool for theologians and religion teachers as the book comes to grips with the reality of evil."
Rodney Stent
"[D]eserves careful reading by all who are in any way seeking to understand the modern day challenges of evil. . . . I recommend this book. Its ultimate concern shines through to be pastoral and practical rather than merely satisfying philosophically."
David Loy
"[A]n important and refreshing treatment of the problem of evil. . . . [A] gem for any pastor or theologically interested lay person."
Donald Senior
"Wright effectively phrases the believer's questions about such issues and recalls the foundations of faith that sustain one in the midst of suffering and ambiguity."
Fitzroy Willis in The Pneuma Review
"[A] very practical and thought-provoking composition that addresses the challenges and inherent connection between evil and the justice of God within both a postmodern Western context and a Judeo-Christian context."
www.zealfortruth.org Bryan
"Like all . . . Wright's works that I have so far read, this one is quite lucid and enjoyable to read."
PreachingNOW newsletter
"N. T. Wright is one of the most influential thinkers in today's church, and his book helps us better understand why evil exists and points us to a day when it will be ultimately defeated. Wright's discussion of the power of the cross makes this excellent reading for pastors."
George R. Carson for Religious Studies Review
"Bishop Wright inspires us. . . . All Christians can benefit from this well-written book."
Jeff Robertson for Stone-Campbell Journal
"Wright takes a complex subject and in his usual delightful way provides a readable, stimulating, and profound account. . . . It will help equip believers with a biblical worldview on a matter which directly concerns us all."
The Christian Century
"More successfully than I have seen him do before, Wright shows how the kingdom of God is not just a matter of going to heaven when you die or of reordering present reality, but the establishment of a new people and a new creation to serve God and reign on earth."
The Daily Sentinel Religion
"Wright will get you thinking outside your theological comfort zone and may open up new vistas to how to understand Evil and the Justice of God."
November 2007 Relevant
"The vivid reality of evil in our world pulls the questions of God's reality—and God's perplexing timing—to the fore. Wright, one of the Church's most penetrating contemporary theologians, places the age-old question of evil square in the new context of post-modernity, asserting that the cross and resurrection of Jesus have a decisive word to interject into our dark experiences."
The Anglican Digest
"Wright, one of the foremost theologians of our age, is always accessible and informative but the timeliness of the topic and the insightful way in which he approaches it from a solid Biblical foundation without becoming pedantic gives hope for those of us who care about the hard questions in life."
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.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830834150
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 3/21/2013
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 225,423
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

A prolific writer of both scholarly and popular books, N. T. Wright has written over thirty books, including Simply Christian, The Original Jesus: The Life and Vision of a Revolutionary, What Saint Paul Really Said, The Challenge of Jesus and The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions. His magisterial work, Jesus and the Victory of God, is widely regarded as one of the most significant contributions to contemporary New Testament studies. His N. T. Wright For Everyone Series includes commentaries covering the entire New Testament.

Formerly bishop of Durham in England, Wright is research professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. He was formerly canon theologian of Westminster Abbey and dean of Lichfield Cathedral. He also taught New Testament studies for twenty years at Cambridge, McGill and Oxford Universities. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard Divinity School, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Gregorian University in Rome and many other institutions around the world.

In addition to his many books, Wright reaches a broad audience through his frequent media appearances. A sought-after commentator, Wright writes frequently for newspapers in England, including the Times, the Independent and the Guardian. He has been interviewed numerous times by radio and television broadcasters on both sides of the Atlantic, including ABC, NBC, CNN, PBS and NPR.

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Table of Contents

Preface1. Evil Is Still a Four-Letter Word: The New Problem of Evil
The New Problem of Evil
The New Nihilism: Postmodernity
Towards a Nuanced View of Evil
Conclusion2. What Can God Do About Evil? Unjust World, Just God?
To Renew the Blessing
People of the Solution, People of the Problem
My Servant Israel, My Servant Job
Conclusion3. Evil and the Crucified God
Rereading the Gospels
Jesus Dealing with Evil
Early Christian View of Evil's Defeat
Results: Atonement and the Problem of Evil4. Imagine There's No Evil: God's Promise of a World Set Free
Interlude: Naming the Powers
World Without Evil
The Intermediate Tasks
Educating the Imagination
Conclusion5. Deliver Us from Evil: Forgiving Myself, Forgiving Others
God's Final Victory over Evil
Forgiveness in the Present
Conclusion
Notes
Subject Index
Scripture Index
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