Theodicy, Moltmann, and a Cruciform God

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arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I have seen an uptick in answering for the problem of suffering by stating that God partakes in and suffers with those suffer. I believe Moltmann is a representative of this sort of 'comfort' or theodicy; others label it the 'Cruciform God', etc. Providence seems absent in order to make God look nice.
How wluld you answer someone who believes and comforts others with this idea? Are there good theodices that interact with these ideas?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Get them to clarify what they mean by God. Usually they themselves don't know. Are we talking about the Father, the essence, Jesus, what?
 

PezLad

Puritan Board Freshman
If we suffer with him, we will reign with him, if we deny him he will deny us. And again, we have a great high priest who can sympathize with our weakness. And again he was crushed...it pleased the Lord to bruise him. Only the pre eminent sufferer Christ can offer comfort to the suffering saint, for Christ did in his soul bear the exchange of truth for the lie and was truly and utterly crushed by the Fathers wrath, our iniquity and his bodily destruction. Yes the cross of Christ comforts and sanctifies us.
 

joep

Puritan Board Freshman
What you're probably looking for is a defense of the impassibility of God. I found Matthew Barrett's article in Tabletalk, Does God Suffer?, quite an accessible answer; incidentally it too identifies Moltmann as one of the proponents of a suffering God as the answer to suffering.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Moltmann comes close to using Kabbalistic concepts of God. His view of God the father is almost bodily. That's why he can say that God feels suffering. Bodies suffer.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
The truth that Christ has suffered along with us—indeed, far beyond our own sufferings—is one important part of a robust answer to the "problem" of suffering. But specifying that we are talking about Christ, the God-man, is much better than saying God partakes in our suffering.

Moreover, trying to create a magic-bullet answer to suffering by focusing on just one doctrinal truth will usually lead to some excessive statements because you're trying too hard to solve the problem in a single answer. Making sense of suffering requires a well-rounded understanding of many truths: not just our suffering Savior, but also God's sovereignty, creation, sin, judgment, sanctification, glorification, and much more. Each of these areas of theology has its own important answer to suffering. We need to see and chew on the whole picture, but today's impatient armchair theologians would rather find one quick response that silences all objections. That doesn't work very well.

We do not have to be theological giants to have good answers to suffering, but we do need to be well-grounded in all the theological basics. Here's a rather ordinary guy I came across who has a solid-enough grasp of the full range of theology and applies the right approach: "15 Doctrines that Ought to Bring Comfort in Suffering."
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
I don't know how God would feel suffering? But making all of God suffer is different from saying part of God suffers, Christ in his humanity for instance. I think terminology is important here, what are talking about? Specifically?
 
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