Eberhard Jüngel: I believe, therefore I suffer

I believe, therefore I suffer. Believers suffer with the suffering, for they would like to rejoice with the suffering and yet in their suffering they continue to long for the joy withheld from them. The believer grieves over the lack of love and hope which proceeds from lack of freedom, justice, and peace. But when believers look into a world painfully marked by death and the henchmen of death, as believers they also suffer deeply over the experience of the hiddenness of God’s activity. . . .

Theology must not only call the trials of faith by name, but also think them through with such thoroughness that theology as a whole becomes a theology of testing: tentatio facit theologum. As a theology of testing it protects the sensitivity of faith without allowing it to degenerate into a sentimental ‘being in love’ with one’s own pain or that of another. For as a theology of the cross, it connects the tested faith to its origin, back to the God who suffers for us, because through his suffering he helped the love that has overcome death to victory, the only comfort of suffering humanity. He has eternally condemned evil and sin to defeat.

The first and last task of proper theology is therefore not that of articulating our story of suffering, but that of bringing the story of Christ’s passion to speech as gospel. Yet in everything it has constantly asserted one thing and one thing only: that the God who was denounced and crucified by his human creatures has said to us and so also to himself once and for all Yes (2 Cor 1.19f.).

—Eberhard Jüngel, Theological Essays II, 18-19

Comments

byron said…
henchmen of death
Great phrase.

So many great ideas here:
*suffering from the hiddenness of God's activity.
*the role of theology in reflecting upon and naming suffering
*the evangelical task of theology faced with suffering