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How Long, O Lord?, 2nd Edition

Reflections on Suffering and Evil

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"A straightforward, tough-minded, pastorally motivated treatment of the problem of evil. Carson writes as a biblical scholar addressing fellow believers who struggle with the challenge evil poses for their faith."--Jerry L. Walls, Asbury Theological Journal


This clear and accessible treatment of key biblical themes related to human suffering and evil is written by one of the most respected evangelical biblical scholars alive today. Carson brings together a close, careful exposition of key biblical passages with helpful pastoral applications. The second edition has been updated throughout.



"[A] sober, encouraging book. . . . The two sides of the author, the biblical scholar who reads, thinks, and misses no detail and the pastoral teacher who understands people, feels with them, and cares for them, combine here to give us a treatment of suffering under God's sovereignty which is outstandingly accurate, wise, and helpful. All who follow the author's fast-flowing argument will find their heads cleared and their hearts strengthened."--J. I. Packer, Regent College

"Covers a wealth of biblical material with carefully reasoned clarity and umbrella-like relevance to help us prepare for whatever difficulties life may bring. This volume represents important and profoundly useful reading for pastors and counselors and for every Christian willing to think about life as it really happens."--Larry J. Crabb, New Way Ministries

"The author writes, with Bible in hand, less as philosopher than as a devout and battered pilgrim. His meditations on suffering and evil and the questions they raise and address are solid study-group materials conducive to faith, joy, and hope."--Carl F. H. Henry, founding editor of Christianity Today

The Author

  1. D. A. Carson

    D. A. Carson

    D. A. Carson (PhD, University of Cambridge) is emeritus professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and is the author or editor of more than fifty books, including The God Who Is There, Commentary on the...

    Continue reading about D. A. Carson


Reviews of the second edition:
"In 1990 I read this book and found it to be thoughtful and helpful in both theological insight and pastoral concern. In 2007 I read it again, and delightfully found it no less thoughtful and helpful. . . . I have given the book to people who are suffering grief; I have read it in times of my own grief, and not only does Carson administer preventative medicine, he administers active and healing medicine as he carefully and boldly addresses the real issues of suffering and evil, and in doing so defends the existence of God, and provides thoughtful, if not quick, answers. . . . He gives some pastoral suggestions as a way forward that are sensible, biblical and God centered. Carson has updated the book from 1990 and has included the recent discussions on the openness of God, terrorism and the war on terror, various views on hell, and the recent tendencies in western (American) Christianity not only to politicize the kingdom of God in terms of present governmental rule, but historicize it to a triumphal realization of hedonism and pleasure. . . . He has included a complete appendix on AIDS and speaks to the horror of this pandemic with compassion, theological integrity, and prophetic challenge to the Church. . . . The book is aptly named in that it boldly acknowledges the reality of suffering and its sources, but in the end gives a source of confidence and trust in a God of compassion, goodness and hope."--David G. Barker, Eusebeia

"The book offers sound biblical exposition of key biblical passages, along with valuable theological reflection and pastoral application. . . . The second edition has been updated throughout, including an appendix entitled 'Reflections on AIDS.' This is a book to read and reread--and to pass on to friends who need it."--Mark R. Stevenson, Emmaus Journal

"A sustained reflection on the theme of suffering. . . . In this revised edition, Carson updates his analysis by examining more recent examples of suffering to demonstrate the relevance of Scripture to the contemporary plight of suffering. This is most vividly illustrated by the addition of an appendix entitled 'Reflection on AIDS' that discourages simplistic pronouncements of divine judgment and encourages a more thorough and balanced biblical reflection. . . . [This book is] full of powerful insights that should educate the reader, not only on how to think about suffering, but also on how to read and use Scripture."--Michael Gurney, Cultural Encounters

Reviews of the first edition:
"A straightforward, tough-minded, pastorally motivated treatment of the problem of evil. Carson writes not as a philosopher trying to give an account of evil to skeptics but as a biblical scholar addressing fellow believers who struggle with the challenge evil poses for their faith."--Jerry L. Walls, Asbury Theological Journal

"The best compliment I can pay to Carson's book is that I have used it in a college seminar on the problem of evil and that I would do so again. My students seemed especially to benefit from it. Carson covers many if not most biblical themes related to the topic, and therein lies the secret to appreciating his book. . . . It is truly a fine model of excellent scholarship used in the service of the Church."--Daniel B. Clendenin, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

"The writing is clear, compressed, and vigorous; and notes and bibliography provide ample food to satisfy the appetite which the book will surely arouse."--Paul Ellingworth, Evangelical Quarterly

"No one will deny that this book addresses a real point of tension in every person's life and [that] the author has addressed himself to the issue with great sensitivity, pastoral concern and biblical insight. It is a most edifying book which will help Christians prepare for the day when they have to experience a 'frowning providence' and can face that with faith and hope because of an unshakable trust in the providence of God."--Vox Reformata

"Carson's writings always demonstrate a fine ability to synthesize a wide range of material and present it in a digestible form. This book is no exception. . . . This book deserves wide readership. It will help prepare the thoughtful reader for whatever mysteries of suffering may lie ahead. Discussion questions at the conclusion of each chapter should make this a profitable tool for Sunday School classes, home Bible studies, or personal reflection."--David G. Dunbar, Biblical Interpretation

"With a pastor's heart and an understanding of suffering born both of experience and an expert's engagement with the biblical text, Don Carson tackles in this courageous volume the thorny problem of evil."--Covenant Seminary Review

"This book will help pastors and others think through issues related to human suffering and so help them to be better consolers of those who suffer."--Roy B. Zuck, Bibliotheca Sacra

"I thoroughly enjoyed this challenging, enlightening read. . . . Although the book covers a lot of ground, it never meanders and Carson is able to tie it all together into a consistent theological whole. . . . If you are interested in developing a systematic understanding of how evil and suffering fit into a world created by a loving, sovereign God and are looking for a book that will provoke much thought and reflection, I would highly recommend this book."--Noah Tutak,

"One of eminent author, researcher, evangelist, and professor D. A. Carson's strengths is thinking rigorously but explaining lucidly and simply. In [this book], Carson applies those gifts to the very real question of pain. . . . Carson does not pretend to have all the answers to God's mysterious providence. But he does carefully mine the clearest source of answers God has given his children. . . . Carson's book has reached a second, updated edition . . . not merely because he is one of the most respected theologians and scholars in evangelicalism but because his book is biblical and helpful."--Mark Ward, Christian Library Journal