Evil and the Justice of God Review

N.T. Wright. Evil and the Justice of God. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006.
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N.T. Wright tackles the problem of evil with his usual brilliance. He argues that evil is real and powerful. Evil is more than the sum of individual sin and cannot be understood in dualistic categories. By misunderstanding evil we have react to it in immature and unwise ways. He engages the Old Testament to show that Israel is, albeit ambiguously, God’s answer to evil – what God is doing about evil – as a people who will be a kingdom of priests. The gospels tell the story of Christ as the climax of the story of Israel. Here Wright expands what he sees as a narrow juridical view of atonement theology. In Jesus Christ, God allowed evil to do its worst to his incarnate self. So Easter is God’s victory over evil and the first fruits of the future world where evil will no longer have power over creation. Thus, Christians are allowed to participate in a new reality in Christ. Because of the cross, Christians can now act as God’s wise agents, constantly worshiping the creator with their very lives as they work for justice and mercy, imaging God as they do. Finally the difficult work of forgiveness brings the problem of evil full circle as God promises to teach us how to forgive, and to make sure that there will be a time when those who refuse to forgive will not be able to hold the world hostage any longer.
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This book is an incredible resource for pastors who will be constantly confronted with the problem of evil in ministry. There are many good practical elements. For instance, Wright has several pages on the nature of the satan which I think should be taught in every evangelical church in America! The problem of evil is at the center of our faith. Wright takes this subject, which is often reduced to philosophical minutiae, and opens it up for all who wish to hear to good news that God has come and is coming to put the world to rights under his just and gentle rule.
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There is quite a lot of N.T. Wright footage on youtube. This is an interesting clip in which he sort of teases the content of the book & talks a bit about writing it.
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