What's So Funny About God? A Theological Look at Humor by Steve Wilkens

What's So Funny About God? A Theological Look at Humor

Author Steve Wilkens explores how humor is manifested in the biblical narrative and how God’s ways with people are peppered, not surprisingly, with laugh-out-loud jokes and funny observations.

Wilkens explained that the point of his book isn’t to seek humor on each page of Scripture, though there is more there than Christians might realize. Instead, he said, “We should employ the structures and mechanisms of humor to gain insight into the Christian faith.”

Wilkens maintains that humor depends on “incongruity, surprise, misdirection, reversal, and other elements that shatter expectations. … (F)unny occurs when worlds collide.” He points out that this happens repeatedly in the Bible: “Heaven invades earth, humanity encounters God, and the future overlaps with the present.”

Accessible and enjoyable, this book considers God’s humor as revealed in the events of Christmas, Easter, and ordinary time and includes two interludes. In the first, Wilkens fleshes out the role and type of laughter exhibited in Sarah and Abraham’s lives. In the second, he studies the book of Esther as a comedy in which God is the main, unseen actor.

Especially meaningful is the chapter humorously titled “Does This Eschatology Make My End Look Big?” Wilkens approaches the study of eschatology as cosmic comedy. He acknowledges that it’s appropriate to grieve the despair, danger, and destruction rampant in today’s world. However, he asserts, “It is just as appropriate, though, to laugh with God. Our heartiest laughs are not a form of escape, amusement, or diversion. Instead, they are profound theological statements in which we confess our faith in a God who is faithful to us.”

The book could be used for small group study, though it doesn’t include discussion questions. (IVP Academic)

About the Author

Sonya VanderVeen Feddema is a freelance writer and a member of Covenant CRC in St. Catharines, Ontario.

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