Can Suffering Kill God?

The titular issue in Bart Ehrman's book God's Problem (HarperOne; 304 pages) haunts him. Once a Baptist pastor, Ehrman recounts how trying to unravel the ferocious conundrum--of a kind, all-powerful deity who also allows suffering--undid his faith. Since then, as a religion professor and best-selling author (2005's Misquoting Jesus), he has knowledgeably subverted his old beliefs. Here his biblical expertise is a help and a hindrance, since his conceit is to examine only explanations of suffering that appear in Scripture. As Ehrman takes issue with pain--portrayed as punishment for sin (in Genesis et al.), as a consequence of others' sin (in...

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