How the Bible Explains Suffering
Through close readings of every section of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, Bart Ehrman discovers that the Bible offers numerous answers that are often contradictory.
The prophets think God sends pain and suffering as a punishment for sin and also that human beings who oppress others create such misery; the writers who tell the Jesus story and the Joseph stories think God works through suffering to achieve redemptive purposes; the writers of Job view pain as God’s test; and the writers of Job and Ecclesiastes conclude that we simply cannot know why we suffer.
In the end, frustrated that the Bible offers such a range of opposing answers, Ehrman gives up on his Christian faith and fashions a peculiarly utilitarian solution to suffering and evil in the world: first, make this life as pleasing to ourselves as we can and then make it pleasing to others.
His book God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question – Why We Suffer is dealing with how the Bible tries to explain suffering in a world ruled by an all-loving and all-powerful benefactor.
Bart Ehrman is renowned for his contributions to the field of religious studies, focusing on New Testament interpretation and the history of ancient Christianity in the first three centuries AD.