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I was writing something about Jürgen Moltmann the other day, and for some reason it had me think back to the first quote I read from him that really won me over. The quote convinced me to finally pick up that daunting book on my shelf called The Crucified God. The quote remains one of my favorite quotes from Moltmann, even today. Jürgen Moltmann is one of my top three favorite theologians (next to Barth and Torrance), and I was happy to see how much of his work I’ve read since this quote. I’ve read now fourteen books from Moltmann, and plan to read at least fourteen more (and re-read even more). But going back to where it all started, here’s the quote that made me love Jürgen Moltmann.
The SS hanged two Jewish men and a youth in front of the whole camp. The men died quickly, but the death throes of the youth lasted for half an hour. ‘Where is God? Where is he?’ someone asked behind me. As the youth still hung in torment for a long time, I heard the man call again, ‘Where is God now?’ And I heard a voice in myself answer: ‘Where is he? He is here. He is hanging there on the gallows…’
Any other answer would be blasphemy. There cannot be any other Christian answer to the question of this torment. To speak here of a God who could not suffer would make God a demon. To speak here of an absolute God would make God an annihilating nothingness. To speak here of an indifferent God would condemn men to indifference. 1
Technically the first half of the quote is from E. Wiesel’s book Night (a fantastic book in its own right), but this quote gets to the core of Moltmann’s theology. It struck me so profoundly, as it still does today, that I knew I had to read Jürgen Moltmann. What’s your favorite quote?
I’ve since written a book engaging Moltmann with the question of God and human suffering, and you can download it for free right now when you join my Readers Group!
- Jurgen Moltmann, The Crucified God, p 273-274 ↩