BAR 34:05, Sep/Oct 2008
Accounting for Anguish
God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question—Why We Suffer
Bart D. Ehrman
(New York: HarperCollins, 2008) 294 pp., $25.95 (hardcover)
Bart Ehrman’s latest book will be troubling to many readers: He takes on the difficult question of how to reconcile the existence of terrible human suffering with the belief in an all-powerful and benevolent God. Ehrman comes at this question from the perspective of what the Bible says about suffering, and for this task his qualifications are indisputable. He is a recognized expert on Biblical texts, a distinguished professor at the University of North Carolina, a widely published author and a sometime contributor to BAS publications and study programs. So it is not through any deficiency of exposition or interpretation that his latest offering will be troubling, but rather because of the emotionally wrenching and in some ways unanswerable—as Ehrman himself acknowledges—nature of the question.