The death of Jesus is commonly regarded as the one radically novel perspective from which the problem of suffering is viewed in the New Testament, as opposed to the appropriation of viewpoints present elsewhere in contemporary writings and in the Old Testament. Tom Holmén's focus on the death of Jesus as a source of New Testament theodicy reveals a two-fold reasoning: the lasting relevance of the theme of Jesus' death on the cross and theodicy, and the lack of thorough and sustained New Testament investigations into this theme.
Holmén's argument focuses on the changes in the concept of suffering occasioned by the unprecedented sacrifice of Jesus. He explores both the derivative nature of suffering as God's retribution or a test for discipline – in line with the traditions known in the time contemporary to the formation of the New testament – and the sharp, wholly new contrast of suffering as intercessory in the crucifixion of Christ, Son of God, appearing to the world as 'impossible'. Touching upon the context of
providence and covenant, the problem that Jesus' death causes for theodicy, an examination of Paul and other perspectives and the practical considerations of coping with anguish, Holmén concludes that the crucifixion forms a fascinating starting point for understanding New testament approaches to suffering.