Monday, May 07, 2007

The Vulnerable God

I have posted on the question of whether God suffers before (click here). The topic came up in Hebrew class recently, and my student Phoebe R., who has been reading J. Moltmann for another class, gave me this neat quote from his Jesus Christ for Today's World.

...If God were in every respect incapable of suffering, he would also be incapable of love. He would at most be able to love himself, but not anything other than himself. But if he is capable of loving something other than himself, then he opens himself for the suffering which love for the other brings him, while still remaining master of the pain which is the consequence of his love. God does not suffer out of deficiency of being, like created beings. But he does suffer from his love, which is the overflowing superabundance of his being. And in this sense he can suffer. (pp. 44-45).

Also of interest, Jon Levenson in his new book on Resurrection in the Hebrew Bible calls our attention to Israel's "widowhood" in Isaiah 54:4. At least in Israel's perception, her husband God has died and left her a widow for her long period of Babylonian exile. Levenson writes, The image of YHWH's disappearing in a metaphorical death, only to return in matrimonial faithfulness, bears some analogy to an important Canaanite cycle of poems.... This is not, to be sure, simply an Israelite version of the story of the god altogether defeated by Mot (Death)...But neither is it a story of a god whose presence and power are always fully activated and fully available, as if the suffering and death of the innocent that his own disappearance reflects were unreal. Israel's God is, in other words, a God who is vulnerable... (Levenson, Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel, 153-54).


Blogger Eliz F said...

Wow, your Hebrew students have some really great conversations! I bet you are going to miss this class!!!!

Mon May 07, 07:35:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger S and C said...

Oh, yes, Elizabeth. This seminar has been a big wonderful group! ---S.

Tue May 08, 08:06:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Maria Papoila said...


Please go to my blog and see my last post. It´s about a missing little girl.
If you can, copy that to your blog and translate in to your native language.

Tue May 08, 08:40:00 AM GMT-5  

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