If God Is Good . . . Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil  -     By: Randy Alcorn
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If God Is Good . . . Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil

Random House / 2009 / Hardcover

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Difficult times beg questions about God's goodness and power. Offering compelling true stories, fresh answers, and biblical insights, Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief and reveals the big picture of who God is and what he's doing in the world---equipping you to share your faith clearly with those experiencing pain and fear. 432 pages, hardcover from Multnomah.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 432
Vendor: Random House
Publication Date: 2009
Dimensions: 9.25 X 6.50 X 1.75 (inches)
ISBN: 160142132X
ISBN-13: 9781601421326
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Every one of us will experience suffering. Many of us are experiencing it now. As we have seen in recent years, evil is real in our world, present and close to each one of us.

In such difficult times, suffering and evil beg questions about God--Why would an all-good and all-powerful God create a world full of evil and suffering? And then, how can there be a God if suffering and evil exist?

These are ancient questions, but also modern ones as well. Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and even former believers like Bart Ehrman answer the question simply: The existence of suffering and evil proves there is no God.

In this captivating new book, best-selling author Randy Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief, and brings a fresh, realistic, and thoroughly biblical insight to the issues these important questions raise.

Alcorn offers insights from his conversations with men and women whose lives have been torn apart by suffering, and yet whose faith in God burns brighter than ever. He reveals the big picture of who God is and what God is doing in the world–now and forever. And he equips you to share your faith more clearly and genuinely in this world of pain and fear.

"As he did in his best-selling book, Heaven, Randy Alcorn delves deep into a profound subject, and through compelling stories, provocative questions and answers, and keen biblical understanding, he brings assurance and hope to all."
-Publishers Weekly

Author Bio

Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspectives Ministries and a bestselling author. His novels include Deadline, Dominion, Edge of Eternity, Lord Foulgrin’s Letters, The Ishbane Conspiracy, and the Gold Medallion winner, Safely Home. He has written eighteen nonfiction books as well, including Heaven, The Treasure Principle, The Purity Principle, and The Grace and Truth Paradox. Randy and his wife, Nanci, live in Oregon and have two married daughters and four grandsons.

Author Bio

Best-selling author Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries. His novels include Deadline, Dominion, Edge of Eternity, Lord Foulgrin's Letters, The Ishbane Conspiracy, and the Gold Medallion winner, Safely Home. He has written eighteen nonfiction books as well, including Heaven; The Treasure Principle; The Purity Principle; and The Grace and Truth Paradox. Randy and his wife, Nanci, live in Oregon. They have two married daughters, Karina and Angela, and several grandsons.

Publisher's Weekly

The crossover fiction and nonfiction author of the half-million–selling Heaven throws down a heavy response to a spate of recent bestselling atheism books. Because the main argument of atheists against the existence of God is suffering in the world, Alcorn lays out a weighty and classically reasoned argument to the problem of suffering in this thoroughly modern book. His biggest trump card is that atheists were hardly the first to ask about suffering and evil. Ancient writers did, and “the fact that the Bible raises the problem of evil gives us full permission to do so.” Evil and suffering are addressed in tandem but approached differently. Evil comes from human rebellion or sin, and suffering is a secondary evil brought on by that primary evil. By granting free will to humanity, God allows for an eternal good that humans don't always see now but will experience in the life to come if faithful. Not academic but well-reasoned, Alcorn may not convince atheists, but apart from them readership is wide open. (Sept.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Editorial Reviews

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Displaying items 1-5 of 39
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  1. Age: 55-65
    Gender: Male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    The best book I have read on answering the "why" of evil and suffering.
    January 23, 2015
    Pastor Jim
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: Male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I was very excited about getting my copy of "If God is Good" by Randy Alcorn. I even the loved the cover (rose and thorns). I find Randy Alcorn to be an excellent author who is very scripturally sound. He does a pretty thorough job covering a very hard subject, evil and suffering, in this 500+ page book (long but worth it). This subject is a hard one for anyone to totally understand, but I feel Randy Alcorn, the author, did a great job covering the many angles of hand questions that surround this very question, "if God is good, why all this suffering and evil?"

    This book is divided into 11 sections and covers practically every aspect of evil and suffering from its origins to various views on the subject. I believe Randy did as good a job on covering the subject as anybody could ever attempt to do. To understand it more thoroughly than this, I believe we'll have to wait until the day we stand before the presence of God, and then that which is now dim and cloudy on suffering and evil, will become totally clear. But until then, I believe this book will help you better understand and deal with the suffering and evil that surrounds all of us. Not one of us is exempt from suffering and the consequences of evil in our world.

    I do believe this book will help you to see that you don't need to be getting mad at God over this subject. It is so wonderful to know that through it all our God is in control and that God is good!

    I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review. I was in no way required to write anything positive, all thoughts and opinions expressed here are completely my own.
  2. Alabama
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Don't let the number of pages scare you!
    November 17, 2014
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    I've never read anything before by Randy Alcorn but early last year I went through a very hard season of doubt and struggle and someone recommended I read this book. When I saw it was available for review I decided to pick it up.

    When I first saw it I was at Lifeway checking out more books (can you say book junkie?). It's almost 500 pages... to be honest that kind of scared me. Who wants to read that many pages of a non-fiction book, especially on the goodness of God? You could find yourself in deeper waters than you thought, right?

    Well, don't let the number of pages scare you. I've read several chapters of this book and it is just so good!! One thing I absolutely enjoy about this book is how it's PACKED with Scripture. Few books nowadays have the Word in them and I think it's a great benefit, especially to a book this important.

    Who hasn't asked, God, why does this happen? Why them? Why her? Why ME?

    In the midst of trials and suffering and pain we get real and raw and we ask questions, but more than that we start to SEEK. Is this all there is? How do I live after something like _________?

    Randy Alcorn uses grace and truth to help guide you through the questions to find yourself growing closer to your Maker and having a better understanding of evil. I wish I had had this book when I was going through doubt and depression and questions because he so beautifully points out all the bits of truth I needed to hear. Not all your questions will be answered, but the ones that really count are addressed here and I think you'll be blessed for reading it. If you know someone who is a skeptic or doubting or just struggling through life, I definitely recommend this book. It's lengthy so grab some coffee or hot chocolate and your Bible and get to work.

    Note: I received this book for the exchange of a review.
  3. Wenatchee, WA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Another execellent book by Randy Alcorn
    October 26, 2014
    Annies Inklings
    Wenatchee, WA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    If God is Good, Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil, by Randy Alcorn With so much turmoil in the world today, along with many family members, friends, and acquaintances experiencing traumatic situations, debilitating health issues, and sufferings of all kinds, it seems as though evil is gaining ground. However, I believe in my heart that God is still the One and Only who is in control and that one day evil will be no more. Despite my unwavering faith, I felt I needed to learn more about Gods character and purpose regarding suffering and evil as they are revealed and taught in the Bible.

    For these reasons I chose to read a book by Randy Alcorn called, If God is Good, Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil. I found this book extremely helpful in locating a lot of scripture dealing with this subject. Mr. Alcorns views and commentary seem to be right on and insightful. He has broken up his writing by using many subject headings to organize his thoughts and progressively build his case on the reasons for pain and suffering. This writing style makes it very easy to read and to better understand the answer to why there is suffering and evil.

    I appreciate that Mr. Alcorn spent time pointing out that whether a person is a true believer of Gods sovereignty will determine if one has a spiritual view or a world view of suffering and evil.

    You may find that this book requires a real interest in reading it because it is a thick one. Although it is easy reading, it is not one that you will want to breeze through as it offers plenty to pause and think about it. It is a great piece of writing that will help you to minister to those who need help in dealing with any kind of suffering. I have no hesitation in recommending this book to others.

    I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
  4. California
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    An awesome resource for those asking "Why?'
    August 2, 2014
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    If the Creator of the world is good, why is there evil? Randy Alcorn tackles an age-old question with unique insight and logic. I have asked "Why?" many times. Like Job, never an answer to the question, but a refocus on the greatness of God. Alcorn writes:

    "Grace and forgiveness, both expressions of God's eternal character, are moral goods, but without evil they wouldn't have become clearly evident. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit don't need compassion, mercy, grace, or forgiveness. These qualities could only be fully expressed to finite and fallen creatures."

    Perhaps that is why the angels desire to look into the Gospel, 1 Peter 1:12,; the angels in Heaven have not sinned. They see God's compassion, mercy, grace and forgiveness, and that prompts them to desire to look into the Gospel.Alcorn also reminds readers that we cannot understand God's ways or thoughts. He suggests that maybe an explanation from God for the reason of evil and suffering might lead to greater misunderstanding.

    "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9

    I appreciated the pithy subtitles. I frequently reread them, highlighted them and tweeted them.True-to-Scripture, If God is Good was filled with stories of people who suffered greatly and, yet, said that their faith in God was strengthened in their time of testing. For some of the people Alcorn wrote about, their great trial was over and they understood why they had gone through the trial. For others, there was no answer, but there will be an answer in heaven.

    Alcorn claims that the "Health and Wealth Gospel" perverts our understanding of evil and suffering. He acknowledges that God still miraculously heals people from sickness and that God uses doctors and medicineto heal people. Sometimes, God does not heal miraculously or through medicine. Sometimes, God has a better plan.

    "When you pray only for healing, what are you praying to miss out on? Christlikeness? Shouldn't we learn to pray that our suffering causes growth, that God will give us little glimpses of Heaven as we seek to endure, and that He would use us?"

    When I had fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, I thought that I was to shine for God through my pain, and I believe that was my purpose in that season. Two years before God miraculously healed me, God impressed upon my husband and me that He would heal me. Two years of praying for the promised healing. Two years of consuming the Scriptures and Christian books on healing, all the while, asking what God had for us to learn.

    My fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue were a gift from God. God's healing was also a gift. God has given me little glimpses of Heaven through each of these gifts, directing this life's path on an unexpected adventure that unfolds the great goodness of God.

    Footnoted and hefty, If God is Good, is a resource for those who have endured suffering or evil and for those who are in the midst of suffering or evil ... in other words, this is a resource for everyone who asks "Why?"

    This book has been a great blessing to me ... a gift from God.Thank you, Randy Alcorn, for your diligence and commitment to this subject.

    I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
  5. Maine
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    God is Good ~ Randy Alcorn
    July 2, 2014
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This is an awesome book, Randy does it again. This is a great book loaded with scripture, real stories, real experiences, real people asking real questions.... this is real! Why does GOD allow suffering to his people? This is what Randy talks about, each chapter is the subject of a topic in which we have all heard or wondered about in life situations. Randy covers all these questions, as example: Understanding the problem of Evil and Suffering (or) Why does GOD allow suffering? and there are many more questions in this book. It is a very large book and can be over loading at first, just take it one chapter at a time and allow yourself to take time to read and think about it. You can easily just open to any chapter and take it slow and read for your quiet time.

    I recommend this to everyone, this is an awesome book, either for reference, daily reading, subject reading, book study and so much more. Read this book, it has all the back up and is the truth of GOD's word and so much more.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Blogging for books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising
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Author/Artist Review

Author: Randy Alcorn
Located in: Gresham, Oregon
Submitted: May 28, 2011

    Tell us a little about yourself.  I’m the founder of Eternal Perspective Ministries and the author of over forty books, including my fiction books Deception and Safely Home and my nonfiction works The Treasure Principle and Heaven. My wife Nanci and I are the parents of two married daughters and we have four wonderful grandsons. I enjoy hanging out with my family, biking, tennis, research and reading.

    What was your motivation behind this project?  I wrote If God is Good partly because I am deeply concerned by the radically unbiblical viewpoints being assimilated into the thinking of evangelical Christians. Another reason is that countless people have already read, and will be reading for years, the New York Times bestselling books by atheists Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. I want to reach people who don’t know how to respond to their arguments, as well as those whose nonchristian friends have been influenced by this reasoning. My prayer is that they will see the spiritual power and reason of Scripture, learn sound theology, and develop a truly Christian worldview to replace their superficial one that will never survive either the arguments or the tests that await them. Ultimately what drew me to this issue is that the Bible itself (e.g., in Job and Psalms and the prophets) repeatedly raises the problem of evil. It does so with a full range of insight and mystery. It doesn’t offer easy or simplistic bullet-point answers but offers more satisfying answers than any other worldview. Those answers are centered in the person and work of Jesus Christ. In eternity, I could see Him looking at his children, stretching out His nail-scarred hands, and asking us, in light of the questions we struggled with, “Do these look like the hands of a God who did not care?”

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  I pray and expect that some will come to a genuine faith in Christ through reading the book and the Scriptures it cites, and perhaps discussing it with a Christian friend. The book may serve to help some readers jettison a false faith. If we have a faith that isn’t grounded in reality, we must, by the empowerment of God’s Spirit, lose our false faith in order to find the true one, in Christ.

    How were you personally impacted by working on this project?  In looking for answers to the problem of evil and suffering, I’ve beheld a God who says, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering” (Exodus 3:7). I’ve found great comfort in hearing God speak of a time when he could bear his people’s misery no longer (see Judges 10:16). I revel in God’s emphatic promise that he will make a New Earth where he will come down to live with us, and on which “he will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4). Above all, in this process, I’ve seen Jesus.

    Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists?  When you read as many books as I do, you’re bound to come across some great stories, and I told a number of them in If God Is Good. These include great missionary stories. I also spent considerable time interviewing people. I share two stories told me by my friend Steve Saint that are very powerful and stories from others who have endured personal tragedies, and lifelong suffering, including my friend David O’Brien. Born with extensive cerebral palsy, unable to walk until age seven, and only haltingly then, often falling throughout his life, David is now confined to a wheelchair. He talks in grunts and he drools—a brilliant man trapped for a lifetime in a body that doesn’t work right—yet he’s full of praise for God as we talked about suffering. He said “God made me this way to keep me close to Him.”

    Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know:  This book won’t work magic or make your problems disappear. But I hope God will use it to help you, regardless of the difficulties you face. He offers us profound, moving, and surprising insights that can feed our minds, warm our hearts, and give us the strength to face a world that is not what it once was, or what it one day will be. I pray that readers of If God Is Good will not only find help for themselves, but life-changing insights to share with others—believers and unbelievers, family and friends and neighbors and co-workers—in their time of greatest need. Readers might also like to know that 100% of the royalties from my books go to support worthy Christian organizations around the world.

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