Journal for Christian Theological Research


The thesis of this essay is that the theodicy question should be configured as a "lived question" for Christians, an open question, which affects the shape of Christian practice. Building upon the work of Terrence Tilley and Kenneth Surin, who chronicle the perils of disconnecting theodicy reflection from questions of practice, this essay seeks to articulate a Christian framing of the theodicy question in which confession and practice are configured as a mutually forming dialectic. The result is that compassionate action is rendered as a way of protesting against the present state of violence, asking with the sufferer, "my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Thus, as Moltmann says, the problem of suffering becomes "the open wound of life" which has concrete action as its response. The essay argues that the scriptural portrayal of creation and consummation leaves the problem of suffering as an open question -- but a question which must continue to be asked through compassionate response even when that response cannot "fix" the sufferer.