“God is not a spectator, but a fellow-sufferer, who has himself absorbed the full force of evil. In the lonely figure hanging in the darkness and dereliction of Calvary the Christian believes that he sees God opening his arms to embrace the bitterness of the strange world he has made. The God revealed in the vulnerability of the incarnation and in the vulnerability of creation are one. He is the crucified God, whose paradoxical power is perfected in weakness, whose self-chosen symbol is the King reigning from the gallows”
From Science and Providence, page 68
Theodicy and the "Problem of Evil" are, I believe, the most difficult intellectual problems we face as followers of Christ. And it is more than just an intellectual problem since it has led many to abandon the faith, and their trust in God. I certainly do not have great answers. However, when we finally do get a satisfactory answer, I believe that answer will include Polkinghorne’s point that God is a fellow-sufferer.
Faith is not so much about belief but trust, trust in the living God who is the foundation of our being. Questions and doubt are an integral part of faith, not its opposite. As human parents, we encourage our children to ask questions. A child that asks no questions is disintrested or worse.
So when faced with the problem of evil, in which type of God do you wish to place your trust: A “Designer God” who designed all things in their intricate detail, including things that bring pain, suffering, death, and destruction? A “Philosopher God” who answers all your questions including why there is so much pain, suffering, death, and destruction? Or a suffering God, a crucified, resurrected God who has experienced pain, suffering, and death, and in so doing has destroyed the very power of death? For me, the answer to that question is easy.