The Great Assumption

If you’re looking to write a book on one of the toughest possible topics, you can’t find one much tougher than the often discussed and debated question: How can God be good, loving, all-powerful, and all-knowing since evil and suffering exist?

In a book that’s remarkable for its readability and clarity but also its scholarship and depth, Randy Alcorn tackles this whammy in If God Is Good.

In a work that constantly weaves in pertinent Scriptures, Alcorn addresses the question in a way that covers apologetics, philosophy, theology, and evangelism.  Loaded with interesting stories and packed with fantastic one-liners, Alcorn’s effort at addressing this huge question is surprisingly satisfying.

For me, the most important section comes on page 41 (where Alcorn is really just getting warmed up in this 500-page volume!).  Here, Alcorn points out that this whole question rests on the premise that God cannot have good reasons for allowing evil and suffering.  Alcorn challenges this assumption: “We may not understand why a good God would allow terrible suffering.  But this merely establishes that if there is a God, we do not know everything he knows.  Why should this surprise us?  Suppose we add only one premise to the argument that God is all powerful, all knowing, and all loving, and yet evil exists: God has a morally sufficient reason for permitting evil.”  In a book that is very well-organized and extremely thorough, this one point stood out above everything else.  If God has a reason for allowing evil and suffering, a reason that makes sense from an eternal perspective, then it’s perfectly consistent with His being good, all-knowing, all-powerful, and loving!

Even for its size, If God Is Good is highly readable from beginning to end.  It’s also so well organized that I’ll keep it on the shelf as a reference tool.

If you’re going to buy one book to help you wrestle with this big question, this is definitely the one I would recommend.

Note: I received a free copy of this book for review from Waterbrook Multnomah.  But they didn’t tell me what to say.  That would’ve been a lot easier, though, since this book was almost as long as the Old Testament.

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Published in: on January 31, 2011 at 4:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

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