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The Experience of GodA Postmodern Response$
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Kevin Hart and Barbara Wall

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780823225187

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823225187.001.0001

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Schools for Scandal

Schools for Scandal

A Response to Michael Purcell

(p.130) 10 Schools for Scandal
The Experience of God

Kevin L. Hughes

Fordham University Press

Michael Purcell argues that “Human life is meaningful… we are entered into a world in which there is already meaning”. This same life, he says, can seem evacuated of meaning. Ethical responsibility is possible only in the midst of the withdrawal of God. But the doctrine of Incarnation in the Christian faith seems to suggest precisely the opposite: it is the sign of a God who comes to meet us, not the other way around. Hence, one wonders if the notion of “God's purposeful withdrawal” is in the end compatible with or helpful in expressing Christian faith. The coincidence of opposites — God's presence and innocent suffering — is in fact coincidence and not contradiction after all. And this is, as Purcell claims, a scandal. The scandal of the cross is the manifestation of God as weakness, as lament. Insofar as justice seeks to end suffering, it is doomed to fail. In the world as we know and experience it, love is forever touched by suffering.

Keywords:   God, Michael Purcell, faith, weakness, love, suffering, purposeful withdrawal, Incarnation, lament, justice

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