Thursday, August 23, 2007

Walter Kaiser on Suffering

In this article Walter Kaiser identifies eight kinds of suffering
  • retributive suffering, caused by sin and disobedience to God
  • educational or disciplinary suffering as in Proverbs 3:11 or Hebrews 12:5-6;
  • vicarious suffering, as in the case of our Lord's death on the cross;
  • empathetic suffering, where one person's grief affects many others, as Isaiah 63:9 illustrates;
  • evidential or testimonial suffering, as in the first two chapters of Job;
  • doxological suffering for the glory of God, as in the man born blind in John 9;
  • revelational suffering, as in the case of the prophet Hosea's wife abandoning him; and
  • apocalyptic or eschatological suffering that will come at the end of this age.
One of his points is that the error of Job's friends was in reducing all suffering to "retributive suffering" instead of recognizing that there are other forms.