The Place of Suffering Book

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The Place of Suffering Details

Professor Ferguson's book is an impressively eclectic yet cohesive account of the theme of suffering in pre-Christian and Christian traditions. In it, he surveys the role of suffering in Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Persian, Greek and Roman mythology and literature, before going on to examine the theological significance of the theme in the Jewish tradition and in the Old and New Testaments. He discusses the redemptive nature of suffering throughout the history of the Church, from the martyrdom and persecution of the early Christians, through the self-denial of the mystics, to the faith in adversity of those engaged in the Civil Rights struggle in America of the 1960s. In the final chapter, the author weaves these threads together to address the theological problem of suffering in the world, what John Stuart Mill styled "the impossible problem of reconciling infinite benevolence and justice with infinite power in the Creator of a world such as this." Ferguson concludes that Christianity does not offer an intellectual explanation for suffering, but rather offers a God who shares in our suffering. "It proclaims that suffering does not separate us from God," he says, "and that as he calls us to share in the work of redemption, he calls us to accept the suffering through which the work is fulfilled."
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