Suffering raises important questions for life and faith: Why do we suffer? Where does evil come from? How can we then live and believe? In what ways can help be offered? Some historic and contemporary proposals are explored, touching on biblical characters, and theological and philosophical proposals. The nature of hope and its place in nurturing community is investigated by considering a range of texts, the practice of lament and the impact of thinking eschatological and about theodicy. Means of responding to suffering and generating hope are explored.

Unit code: CT2724S

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: Systematic Theology

Delivery Mode: Online

Proposing College: Stirling College

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Learning outcomes


Describe ways of making sense of suffering.


Outline key elements of a theology of hope.


Explore the intersection between understandings of suffering and theologies of hope.


Identify resources for responding to suffering and for generating hope.

Unit sequence

A completed or concurrent unit in theology or biblical studies OR enrolment in an award in Counselling.


Students are encouraged to engage together with texts and concepts to develop their theological understanding and to apply them to lived experience. Set readings, open explorations, discussion and theological reflection methods are utilised.

Synchronous and asynchronous methods will be used, with the unit able to be taken fully asynchronously.

Indicative Bibliography

Engelbert, Pamela F. Who Is Present in Absence? : A Pentecostal Theological Praxis of Suffering and Healing. Pickwick. 2019.

Harrower, Scott. God of All Comfort: A Trinitarian Response to the Horrors of This World. Lexham, 2019.

Kapic, Kelly M. Embodied Hope: A Theological Meditation on Pain and Suffering. Downers Grove: Ivp Academic, 2017.

Makant, Mindy. The Practice of Story: Suffering and the Possibilities of Redemption. Baylor University Press, 2015.

Moltmann, Jürgen. Theology of Hope. 1st Fortress Press ed edition. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993.

Peterman, Gerald W., and Andrew J. Schmutzer. Between Pain & Grace: A Biblical Theology of Suffering. Chicago: Moody Pub, 2016.

Polk, David P. God of Empowering Love: A History and Reconception of the Theodicy Conundrum. Process Century Press, 2016.

Rice, Richard. Suffering and the Search for Meaning: Contemporary Responses to the Problem of Pain. Downers Grove, IL: Ivp Academic, 2014.

Swinton, John. Raging With Compassion: Pastoral Responses to the Problem of Evil. Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans Pub Co, 2007.

Wright, N. T. Evil and the Justice of God. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Books, 2013.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Book Review

Choosing between a list of works, students provide a review in written, video, audio or another prescribed form.

1000 25.0
Case Study

Who was this person and what can they teach us about suffering and hope? Students choose between a list of persons or groups to explore the intersections of suffering and hope and ways of helping others.

1500 35.0

In the light of a theology of suffering and hope, means of responding to real-world contexts are explored.

2000 40.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 2 Sep, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-09-02 13:44:54 +1000