Course Description Masters Level
McCormick Theological Seminary
Course Number and Title: T 430 God, Suffering, and Evil
Faculty: Anna Case-Winters
Term: Fall 2010
If God is good and all-powerful, why is there so much suffering and evil in the world? Various theological attempts to respond to this question and the theological problems it raises will be considered and evaluated. The class will explore approaches to raising and addressing this difficult question in congregational life.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
Masters Program Learning Outcomes
The learning outcomes established for each degree program are below. The ones that are underlined are those addressed by the course above. Because a course may be taken by students in any masters degree program, outcomes in more than one degree program may be addressed by this course.
M.Div. Learning Outcomes
MTS Learning Outcomes
MA in Discipleship Development Learning Outcomes
MA in Urban Ministry Learning Outcomes
Required for all students:
Case-Winters, Anna. God's Power: Traditional Understandings and Contemporary Challenges.
Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1990.
Farley, Wendy. Tragic Vision and Divine Compassion. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox
Hall, Douglas John. God and Human Suffering: An Exercise in the Theology of the Cross.
Philadelphia: Augsburg, 2004.
Hick, John. Evil and the God of Love. New York: Harper & Row, 1978 (Out of print.)
Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York: Bantam Books, 1960.
Additional articles posted on Moodle site.
Supplementary Texts: (Each student will chose one of these)
Park, Andrew Sung. The Wounded Heart of God. Nashville: Abingdon, 1993.
Southgate, Christopher. The Groaning of Creation: God, Evolution, and the Problem of Evil. Louisville:
Westminster John Knox, 2008.
Swinton, John. Raging With Compassion: Pastoral Responses to the Problem of Evil. Grand Rapids:
Townes, Emilie M., ed. A Troubling in My Soul: Womanist Perspectives on Evil and Suffering.
Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1993.
Approximate amount of work per week students can expect (reading, writing, etc.)
Course Assignments and Projects
1. Attendance and informed participation in all class sessions.
2. Occasional leadership of discussion of the readings for the class session.
3. Participation in a Field Trip to the Holocaust Museum in Skokie and completion of the related writing assignment.
4. Preparation of one of the following as an approach to engaging a congregation in reflection upon the problem of evil: a sermon (outlined); an order of worship (including prayers, hymns, etc); a 4-week lesson plan for adult education (outlined); a schedule of events for a weekend retreat.
5. Participation in one disputation session responding to an assigned question from the standpoint of one of the approaches to the theodicy question discussed in class.
6. Participation in group presentation to the class of one of the supplementary texts.
7. A 10-15 page paper on the following question: "In what sense (if any) can God's unlimited power and goodness be affirmed given the pervasive presence of evil in world process and world history?"