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Evil and the Justice of God

de N. T. Wright

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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.… (mais)
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evil in perspective
  SrMaryLea | Aug 22, 2023 |
I didn't actually finish this book. I got swept up in the way it was written and I actually became too mad to take in any of the points he was making. We started off on the wrong foot - he mentioned the fact that there would be no sea in the new heaven and earth. He's right, the Bible plainly states in Revelation 21:1 that there will be no sea. And I don't understand why, because the seas are lovely and beautiful and much good comes from them. Maybe the fact that he felt that he had to justify it with some of the horrible things that can happen -tsunamis, hurricanes, etc - and didn't allow himself any sorrow over it rubbed me the wrong way. So then I started questioning everything he wrote, got upset over the assumptions he was making, and wondering whether he was possibly being slightly patronizing. Once that idea got in my head I knew that I wouldn't be able to finish the book despite the most likely good theology that he was presenting. I know, I know, I've got issues over the whole patronizing thing. Also over the use of extreme adjectives and adverbs. And the prodigious use of brackets to explain why he wasn't fully following up and certain things. Which is too bad as I was really looking forward to finally reading N.T. Wright. It would have been better for me if I had read the outline in bullet point form because my emotions wouldn't have gotten in the way and I would have actually gleaned some knowledge. ( )
  carliwi | Sep 23, 2019 |
with apologies to the author, it was a little too dry even for an intellectual. ( )
  SaraMSLIS | Jan 26, 2016 |
Wright tackles the age-old problem of evil (why does God allow evil to happen?), but with a little bit of a twist. Wright does not discuss natural evil, and there is little attempt to explain or justify personal evil. No wishy-washy explanations, such as the typical argument that God allows evil because it creates circumstances in which virtue can flourish. Rather, Wright focuses on what God is doing about evil. Remember: the prophets repeatedly promised a coming age when the world would be rid of evil. Can we even imagine such a world?

First, if you’re tempted to pronounce judgment on God for all the evils in the world, you’re too late; God has already served his sentence on the cross. But the gospels tell us more; they insist that Jesus overcame evil on the cross. That is some strange theology, no matter how you approach it. How does succumbing to evil prove victorious over it, and why doesn’t it feel like evil has been conquered?

The key to the whole topic is understanding the role of forgiveness. Both the forgiveness of God and our own forgiveness of others. The justice of God is not vengeance; it is granting us a measure of the forgiveness Jesus showed, so that the evil of others cannot hold us hostage. A perfect age is coming, but we cannot embrace it until we have outgrown our bitterness over what others have done to us, conquering evil in the same manner as Jesus.

Dang, that’s deep. I really was hoping we could just hunt evil down and kill it. Good book, by the way, though not as scholarly as I’ve come to expect from Wright. ( )
1 vote DubiousDisciple | Jun 16, 2013 |
Excellent. Highly suggested. ( )
  davegregg | May 3, 2011 |
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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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