In this comprehensive and thought-provoking study, Terence Fretheim focuses on the theme of divine suffering, an aspect of our understanding of God which both the church and scholarship have neglected. Maintaining that "metaphors matter," Fretheim carefully examines the ruling and anthropomorphic metaphors of the Old Testament and discusses them in the context of current biblical-theological scholarship. His aim is to broaden our understanding of the God of the Old Testament by showing that "suffering belongs to the person and purpose of God".
Fretheim challenges our notion of God as omniscient and omnipotent by addressing biblical example after example where God (while certainly aware of the possibility of where human choices might go) is being portrayed as surprised, saddened even influenced in His own choices. This is anathema to people who cling to a view of God's sovereignty that may well be non-biblical. The author's views finds further expression in the so-called "open theism" of contemporary authors such as Clark Pinnock, Gregory Boyd and John Sanders (this bookstore carries titles by them). (recommended by Tom Hallas)
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I have been tracking through the material of the "openness group": authors like, Clark Pinnock, John Sanders, Gregory Boyd, et al, and have found that all at some time refer to Terence Fretheim in their writing. I first met Fretheim in his wonderful representation of God in "The Suffering of God."
In this book, he lays the foundation upon which many of the openness (open theism) writers continue to build. In the first chapters, he develops the appropriate hermeneutic for viewing the Old Testament Scriptures and then proceeds to view the Scripture through that lens. He is referred to by the group as the 'master of metaphor' and takes the view that humans are â€œtheomorphismsâ€ rather than human experiences, just like emotions being attributed to God as anthropomorphisms. A must read for all who wish to develop an appropriate theology of the Personhood of the Godhead.
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