The immense suffering caused by sin and evil within the modern world, especially in the light of the Holocaust, has had a profound impact on the contemporary understanding of God and his relationship to human suffering. Since the early part of this century there has been a growing consensus among theologians that God himself, within his divine nature, suffers in solidarity and love with those who suffer. This present theological position contradicts the traditional Christian understanding of almost two thousand years that God is impassible and so does not experience negative emotional states, such as suffering.
Thomas Weinandy, O.F.M., resolutely challenges this contemporary view of God and suffering. Calling upon scripture, and the philosophical and theological tradition of the Fathers and Aquinas, Weinandy creatively and systematically addresses all of the contemporary concerns. He strongly advocates the incarnational truth that the Son of God actually does experience, as man, all that pertains to living an authentic human life, and so does indeed suffer.
This book is both a challenge to much received contemporary philosophical and theological wisdom, and a scholarly, original, and refreshing account of the Christian Gospel. It is one of the most comprehensive Christian presentations of God and human suffering available today.
“This theologically erudite and pastorally sensitive study is an essential work for any theologian concerned with the question of divine suffering.” —Theological Studies
“Weinandy’s book is such a compelling treatment of central Christian doctrines that one is eager to see his thesis formulated in a way that presents no temptation to those who might be inclined to repeat the sins of the anti-Jewish past.” —Commonweal
“Weinandy’s book is a strong statement of the grammar of orthodoxy with respect to the question of God’s impassibility and an extremely useful resource for study of the history of the question.” —The Journal of Religion
“This is theology as it should be done. Throughout, Weinandy imaginatively engages the Christian tradition in a way that respects the truths of faith as a ‘mystery’ to be explored rather than as ‘problems’ to be solved, thus giving to his entire work the character of intelligently believing humility. For those who are ready for a very thorough intellectual and spiritual workout, this book is warmly recommended. —First Things
“In... chapters, Thomas Weinandy walks briskly and intelligently through... two extremes, showing how a perfect and immutable God can be said to suffer alongside and because of human sin, not out of any deficiency, but out of his fullness. ...[T]his represents the best of post-conciliar theology: rooted firmly in the tradition while drawing from the best of contemporary thought, sympathetic to diverse positions without ever forfeiting a critical gaze....” —Homiletic & Pastoral Review
“It is to the author’s credit that he has presented difficult philosophical and theological material in a manner that is easily accessible to a general readership and still quite useful to the advanced student.” —Modern Theology
“The only defense of God in the face of a suffering world must be a dogmatic one which asks who he is as he is made known through his Church in the midst of the earth and how He responds in this identity to our suffering. Weinandy’s book is a rare and strong example of a traditional dogmatic response to it, we would all do well, therefore, to follow his argument closely both in order to understand how the Church expressed the mystery of the cross in the past and in order to understand why another approach to the question of Christ’s cry might be needed now.” —St Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly