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A Theology of Suffering and Hope (Online)

Many of us experience suffering. How do we make sense of this suffering? Why does God allow suffering? Why does he allow the innocent and righteous to suffer? Where is God when I’m hurting? In this unit you’ll explore diverse answers to the question, “Why does God permit evil and suffering?” You’ll have the chance to articulate your own perspectives on suffering, informed by Scripture and theology. You’ll also have a chance to describe a theology of hope.

Focused theological input, case study analysis, peer reflection and practitioner insight will engage participants as they review and articulate how their theology of suffering and hope intersects with vocational realities.  

Lecturer: Refer to Timetable
Offered: Refer to Timetable

Undergraduate: Level 2 & 3 elective
Postgraduate: Level 8 foundational

Discipline: CT Systematic Theology 


Learning Outcomes: 

Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

1. Describe and demonstrate an understanding of the most significant theodicies used to make sense of suffering.  
2. Critique a theological understanding of Inaugurated Eschatology as a theology of hope.  
3. Articulate diverse proposals for generating a theology of hope.  
4. Identify resources for responding to expressions of suffering and generating hope in particular contexts.  
5. (Level 3) Assess how their own theology of suffering and hope is relevant to a contemporary contextual issue.  


Book Review (1000 words) 25%
Case Study (1500 words) 35%
Essay (2000 words) 40%

Book Review (1000 words) 10%
Case Study (2000 words) 20%
Essay (3000 words) 50%
Summative Reflection (1000 words) 20%

Select Bibliography:

*Recommended reading

Gutierrez, Gustavo. On Job. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1987. 

Harrower, Scott. God of All Comfort: A Trinitarian Response to the Horrors of This World. Lexham Pr, 2019. 

Kapic, Kelly M. Embodied Hope: A Theological Meditation on Pain and Suffering. Downers Grove: Ivp Academic, 2017. 

Makant, Mindy. The Practice of Story: Suffering and the Possibilities of Redemption. Baylor University Press, 2015. 

McCarroll, Pamela R. Waiting at the Foot of the Cross: Toward a Theology of Hope for Today (Distinguished Dissertations in Christian Theology): 11. Eugene, Or: Pickwick Publications, 2013. 

Moltmann, Jurgen. The Crucified God. Anv edition. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2015. 

———. Theology of Hope. 1st Fortress Press ed edition. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993. 

Peterman, Gerald W., and Andrew J. Schmutzer. Between Pain & Grace: A Biblical Theology of Suffering. Chicago: Moody Pub, 2016. 

Polk, David P. God of Empowering Love: A History and Reconception of the Theodicy Conundrum. Process Century Press, 2016. 

Rice, Richard. Suffering and the Search for Meaning: Contemporary Responses to the Problem of Pain. Downers Grove, IL: Ivp Academic, 2014. 

Scott, Mark S. M. Pathways in Theodicy an Introduction to the Problem of Evil. Minneapolis Minnesota: Augsburg Fortress, 2015. 

SoelleDorothee. Suffering. Translated by Everett R. Kalin. Philadelphia, Pa.: Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 1975. 

Swinton, John. Raging With Compassion: Pastoral Responses to the Problem of Evil. Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans Pub Co, 2007. 

Volf, Miroslav. The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World. Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans Pub Co, 2007. 

Wright, N. T. Evil and the Justice of God. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Books, 2013.