God and the Pandemic

God and the Pandemic

Author Tom Wright
Publisher SPCK £7.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9780281085118

This is a thoughtful response to the pandemic, necessarily written with speed, but also great care. Wright does not immediately take the line that it is a sign of the end times. He makes us realise that suffering is part of the human condition and that we need as Christians to lament, but above all to act, as encouraged and challenged by the parable of the sheep and the goats. By focusing on Romans 8 in particular, Wright encourages us to see how, even in the midst of this disaster, we can still find God – perhaps it is easier to find him there than we think. He analyses deeply the concept of creation groaning at its incompleteness and the need to find our purpose in God. Wright does not suggest a trite answer to Romans 8.28 that ‘all things work together for good for those who love God.’ This is a verse to struggle with. For Wright, the psalmists’ tradition of lamenting, of wrestling with God in a time of confusion, is part of faith that we should also embrace.

CAVAN WOOD

Biblical Analysis, Theodicy

 

Out of the Whirlwind

Out of the Whirlwind

Author Adrian Roberts
Publisher Sacristy £9.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9781789590678

Subtitled ‘Innocent pain as a challenge to God’, this book starts with a brief outline of the book of Job. The first chapter describes the author sitting with his very sick and much-loved son who is dying from uncontrollable seizures in a hospital ward. Hal suffered from severe brain damage whilst still in the womb and whilst he can drink and chew food, he communicates only non-verbally with his loving carers who do everything else for him. The opening pages tell of the impact on the author of Hal’s arrival in the family, then moves to discuss in depth how God came to create a world where some inhabitants face the possibility of inconsolable distress. This philosophical/ theological issue is addressed with clarity and depth. The thinking is rigorous, the language is non-technical, and the weighty end-notes give thoughtful summaries of philosophers from Aristotle to CS Lewis. This academic philosophy is followed by a heart-stopping dream (from Hal’s bedside) reflecting Job’s vision of God in the whirlwind, as the author draws together his search for a loving God in a created order given free will and prone to sin. A powerful read!

CHRISTINE McMULLEN

Theodicy, Old Testament Analysis (Job)