Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Problem of Pain and Suffering

I suppose it’s time for some deep thoughts…

I spent some time yesterday reading a blog-debate between two New Testament scholars. Bart Ehrman is a professer at UNC, very smart, and a born-again-but-then-gave-it-up Christian-turned-Agnostic. I had a class with him, it was amazing. N.T. Wright is a Bishop in the Church of England. Both are prolific writers and know way more about the New Testament than I thought possible. They debated “the problem of evil/pain/suffering,” which you can read here.

I consider myself to have a decent hold of the intellectual side of my theology. I have read some “classic” by Lewis, Packer, Piper, Tozer, etc., and have had stimulating theological conversation and have heard both the problems and solutions for the big questions of the faith. However, as I read Ehrman’s first post, I found myself being very persuaded and agreeing with most of the the things he said. Then I read Wright’s response, in which I found myself persuaded again. This went on through the entirety of the debate; each post’s argument seemed to both (for the most part) persuade and humble me, as I found myself being exposed to new thoughts that sounded good.

My aim here is not to spill my intellectual guts for you, but rather to highlight the frailty of logic and reason. The scholars were arguing for vastly different things, yet supported them with arguments that seemed very solid and thought out. But isn’t truth by definition exclusive? As in my past experiences with viewing/reading debates, I am alarmed at how easily my own mind can latch onto an argument and run with it, then embrace something totally different 5 minutes later, especially concerning spiritual things.

While in the end I agree with the majority of Wright’s stances, one must admit there are still challenges to human logic presented in Scripture and the story of God and his people. I am thankful that my hope rests not on my ability to think, reason, or argue, but to trust and believe in the omniscient Christ.

No comments: