Is it really possible to relate to God? Certainly, we don’t know what it’s like to be God, but how well can God really understand what it’s like to be us? This is of special significance in times of suffering and difficulty. Can God suffer with us? Does God suffer with us?
At the time this interview was recorded, our nation was several weeks into quarantine due to COVID-19 threats. As this interview is now going live, the conversation has only become more poignant because of the strong unrest in the United States with nationwide protests–some peaceful and some violent–in the wake of George Floyd’s death under police custody. Many are speaking about suffering, injustice, and isolation. It matters where God is in all of this.
Alicia Williamson completed her guided research at the Harding School of Theology on the subject of Divine Passibility. Specifically, she interacts with two leading thinkers on the subject: Terence Fretheim and Jürgen Moltmann. We are glad to feature her in this Research Spotlight.
In our interview, Alicia helps ground us in an understanding of the larger conversation, she talks about her own position, derived from her research, and she suggests implications for all of this on how we understand God as well as how we minister to God’s people.
An Interview With Alicia Williamson
- Why the possibility of God suffering has large implications about the nature of God himself.
- Some key points from both Fretheim and Moltmann.
- Allowing an understanding of a God who suffers guide us into more effective leadership.
- The surprising hope that comes from contemplating God’s willingness to suffer with us and for us.
About Alicia Williamson
Alicia Williamson has completed her M.A. in Systematic Theology at the Harding School of Theology in Memphis, Tennessee. She and her husband Carl spent fourteen years in New Jersey as church planters, and currently live in Searcy, Arkansas where they now work with Harding University. Carl and Alicia have two daughters, Zoe and Elle.
- Divine Suffering and Passibility: Terence Fretheim and Jürgen Moltmann by Alicia Williamson
- The Creative Suffering of God by Paul S. Fiddes
- The Suffering of God: An Old Testament Perspective by Terence Fretheim
- The Prophets by Abraham Joshua Heschel
- The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation and Criticism of Christian Theology by Jürgen Moltmann
- The Cross of Christ by John R. W. Stott
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