"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Torrance on Suffering and Incarnation

Lately I've been thinking about the problem of pain, suffering, and evil as related to God. In pastoral matters, it seems that God's sovereignty has a component, but left alone is insufficient when dealing with the topic. Ultimately, the answer to the problem of pain, suffering and evil is the Incarnation (and the Atonement). That lead me back again to Torrance's masterful work on the Incarnation which (despite its few errors) is so wonderful on the Incarnation:

"The agony of Jesus - and how he was constrained until it was accomplished - was that he was the judging God and the judged man at the same time, the electing God and the elected man at the same time, and in this unspeakable tension he remained absolutely faithful as the Son of God and Son of Man." (113)

"[Christ] stooped to shoulder our weakness, astheneia, and to bear it as our high priest, as our shepherd priest before God, so that by his stripes we are healed. The term astheneia on the pages of the New Testament is a profound term speaking of the disease of the body and of the soul, and so his compassion met the double need of the sick and the sinful." (134)

"'From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence'...How does the kingdom of God press in, how does it storm into the hearts of men and women? By the cross. But the cross is the kingdom of God suffering violence, and there we that the weakness of God is stronger than man, so that the preaching of this cross, where the kingdom suffers violence, is the power of God...like Elijah, John had misunderstood the violence of God and was offended at the weakness of Jesus, but in Jesus the still small voice of God has become flesh, and that was more powerful than all the imaginable forces of nature put together and unleashed in their fury" (149-150)

T.F. Torrance. Incarnation: The Person and Life of Christ

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