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The Doors of the Sea: Where Was God in the Tsunami? [Hardcover]

By David Bentley Hart (Author)
Our Price $ 11.90  
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Item Number 143729  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   108
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.04" Width: 6.26" Height: 0.57"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2005
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN  0802829767  
EAN  9780802829764  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
As news reports of the horrific tsunami in Asia reached the rest of the world, commentators were quick to seize upon the disaster as proof of either God's power or God's nonexistence. Expanding on his Wall Street Journal piece, "Tremors of Doubt," published the last day of 2004, David Bentley Hart here returns to this pressing question: How can the existence of a good and loving God be reconciled with such suffering? Hart clarifies the biblical account of God's goodness, the nature of evil, and the shape of redemption, incisively revealing where both Christianity's champions and its critics misrepresent what is most essential to Christian belief. Though he responds to those skeptical of Christian faith, Hart is at his most perceptive and provocative as he examines Christian attempts to rationalize the tsunami disaster. Many people want a divine plan that will make sense of evil. Hart contends, however, that the history of suffering and death is not willed by God. Rather than appealing to a divine calculus that can account for every instance of suffering, Christians must recognize the ongoing struggle between the rebellious powers that enslave the world and the God who loves it. This meditation by a brilliant young theologian will deeply challenge serious readers grappling with God's ways in a suffering world.

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More About David Bentley Hart

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! An Orthodox theologian, David Bentley Hart's specialties are philosophical theology and patristics. He completed his divinity school training at the University of Cambridge, and his graduate training at the University of Virginia. He is the author of The Doors of the Sea: Where Was God in the Tsunami? and The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Well Written, but Needless Apologetics.  Jun 10, 2008
This short nearly poetically well written book makes for interesting and thoughtful reading. The author discusses various natural disasters ("acts of God") including the 1753 Lisbon flood, Voltaire's response, and many more horrific historical episodes, concluding with the recent tsusami in Indonesia..since then, events in Burma and China, among many others, have also occurred. The problem of evil in God's realm is nicely analysed. However, the standard condemnations of atheists and agnostics who do no go along with theodicy apologetics are there in full force. Therefore, though the book is worth reading, it addresses only those who are part of the choir, and from a scientific standpoint leaves much to be desired.
In a nutshell  May 13, 2008
This is a tough book to wade through. Hart's prose is as thick as tar. The only people who would really profit from it are those with a theological/philosophical education and a good thesaurus. That being said, let me try to summarize his conclusions in a nutshell.

1) Evil and sin are meaningless.
2) God does not need to use sin or evil to show forth that He is good or loving.
3) Theodicies that try to explain evil and sin away actually pervert the gospel by giving them a meaning they don't posess. Christ came into the world to overthrow evil and sin, not to use these for good.
4) The tsunami is part of the fallen world of meaningless suffering. Yet, the Christian should work to see the world for the good creation it is, in the hope that Christ will come again to make all things new.
Excellent Treatise of the Problem of Evil  Oct 23, 2007
On the first day of my vacation with my family, I just read The Doors of the Sea by David Bentley Hart (Eerdmans, 2005). I could not it put down. I recommend it to any reader who wants to delve deeper into the problem of evil. Hart wrote this wonderful little treatise, subtitled "Where was God in the Tsunami", in the wake of the Indonesian Tsunami. Out of his deep faith and informed mind and with profound honesty and eloquence, Hart responds to the horrors of that 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Chris Tilling reviewed and recommend the book on his web blog, Chrisendom, and his enthusiasm was so unrestrained that I immediately ordered my copy.

Against the backdrop of two manifestations of Natural Evil (the 2004 tsunami, and the Lisbon earthquake/tsunami/fire of 1755) and Dostoyevsky's portrayal of Moral Evil in The Brothers Karamozov, Hart thoughtfully weaves his "elucidation" of God's goodness, evil's reality, suffering, and redemption. With his multiple scathing denunciations of Calvinistic determinism (which he calls absurd) and eloquent dismissals of all other standard Christian theodicies (many of which he unapologetically identifies as "blasphemous flippancies"), Hart shows his utter contempt for much of what passes as Christian explanations of the problem of evil.

The truth, Hart helps us to see, is to be found in the context of free-acting evil, the understanding of the cosmos as entropic and death driven, the coexisting of two Kingdoms (life/light and death/darkness ... but Hart is no dualist!), the suffering that results from this state of affairs, and the glory that awaits a final consummation.

Hart's thoughts closely parallel many of my own; he comes nearer than anything I've ever read to the concepts that make sense for me. There are still significant differences, and Hart would doubtless include mine in the category of "rational theodicies" which he uniformly rejects. Nevertheless, I continue to pursue a sensible theodicy, encouraged and re-inspired by Hart's superb book.
Cogent, powerful, speaks beautifully to the hope and promise of God  Jan 9, 2007
Take a $10 chance and buy, read and consider this remarkable and enormously important Christ-centered (read: love-centered) book. Be not, as another wisely observes, mislead by the title: this is a book of keen theological perspicacity, scholarship and complexion, the catastrophic Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 but, however difficult and unthinkable, the backdrop upon which these beautiful, hope-filled words on the amaranthine love of God are cast. In many ways, the most important, with one exception of course, book I've ever read.
A tough but worthwhile read   Aug 18, 2006
"The Doors of the Sea" subtitled, "Where Was God in the Tsunami?" It's written by an Eastern Orthodox theologian, David Bentley Hart. And it's a fine work that demands careful reading. I read and then re-read it. It is short (109 pages), lyrical and literary.

The title tells it all. Hart's book is an expansion of an op ed piece he wrote entitled "Tremors of Doubt: What Kind of a God Would Allow a Deadly Tsunami?" that was published in the Wall Street Journal, on the last day of the year in 2004.

As a couple of other reviewers have noted, Hart can be obscure at times, but persistence with this book will pay dividends,

The title "The Doors of the Sea" is a loose reference to Job, chapter 38.

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