I really liked how the author breaks down the critical arguments against God about evil. While I did TRY to enjoy it, it is not really a book meant to 'enjoy' but rather one from which to gain insight. I found it taxing to read for any length of time simply due to the subject matter. I imagine it would be very insightful for any theologian to consider or anyone interested in the God vs. Evil issue. For example, after 9/11, I heard a Catholic priest on national tv being very critical of God. I think the book is a 'must read' for him. Really, anyone bent on blaming God for the bad in their lives would benefit themselves to read this book. Just plan for it to take a while. I am a very fast reader of fiction, but this non-fiction work slowed my pace CONSIDERABLY simply to absorb it.
I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my review.
Many Christians and non-Christians alike have often pondered the question, "If God exists, how can He be an all-loving God and still allow so much pain, suffering, death, etc. in the world?" Author Norman L. Geisler looks to answer this question, among many similar and related ones, in his book titled "If God, Why Evil? - A New Way to Think About the Question".
I found this book to be a lot easier to read in comparison to other books that focus on tough questions and theistic topics. For me, it read less like a text book and more like a one-on-one conversation with the author himself. I think Geisler did a nice job keeping to the point as he gave his reasons and arguments for or against a topic related to the "If God, Why Evil?" question. Not only did he use Biblical references to support the fact that God exists, he also gave scientific, philosophical and historical examples as to why evil exists.
In each chapter of the book, Geisler begins by giving three views on each topic related to the questions of evil: Pantheism's affirmation of God and denying of evil; Atheism's affirmation of evil and denying God; and Theism's affirmation of both God and evil (found in Chapter 1). Geisler then goes on in the remaining chapters to tackle the reasoning for and behind such questions as the origin, the persistence and the purpose of evil, physical evil, eternal evil (Hell), as well as the question of what happens to those individuals who do not have a means of learning about God or Jesus Christ (through churches, priests, missionaries, etc.). Even though I think he was a bit philosophical at times in his explanations, I think Geisler did a good job in finding the Biblical and scholarly references to support his reasonings and answers to the questions and topics about evil.
I don't normally read books like this one for pleasure or on a regular basis, but I did find it interesting at times. If I had to recommend this book to anyone, I would suggest it to a minister or someone in such a profession or position who is faced with having to answer such difficult questions for friends, family members, and congregation members. I think it would make a good reference book for him or her with its easy-to-read topic layout, Bible verse references, and to-the-point topic discussions.
Thank you to Bethany House for providing this book for review. 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
As a pastor's wife I have often encountered people who have asked the question "If there is such a loving God, why are so many bad things allowed to happen?" It has been difficult to answer without seeming to give pat answers or weak arguments. If God, Why Evil?: A New Way to Think About the Question by Norman L. Geisler is an excellent resource for both the layperson and ministry leader to use in identifying the many questions and finding answers to address this common concern.
Geisler tackles topics such as the nature, origin, persistence and purpose of evil; why evil is unavoidable; the problems of physical and eternal evil; miracles and evil; and what about those who have never heard the gospel. Each chapter is considered from the three views in regard to evil:
Pantheism affirms God and denies evil.
Atheism affirms evil and denies God.
Theism affirms both God and evil.
Each chapter then tackles the topic from all three viewpoints, giving the Christian a solid basis in which to answer and shows how God is ultimately in control.
"...God is the Ã¢â¬Ëauthor' of everything that happens in the indirect and ultimate sense; He is not the immediate cause of evil actions. He neither promotes them nor produces them; He permits them and controls the course of history so that it accomplishes His ultimate purposes." page 24.
The book includes three appendices: animal death before Adam, evidence for the existence for God, and a critique of The Shack. I was interested to see how the author would tackle the arguments for the existence for God and was pleased to see the wide range of theories and objections presented and the logical, systematic answers to them.
While the book seemed a bit too philosophical at times, it is an excellent apologetic resource for every believer and one that will be referred to many times.
I must say that this is a very analytical approach to evil, examining the cause, nature, purpose and persistence of evil. The author uses a cause and effect approach and then analyzes those statement to determine their validity. Though, I tend to be an analytical thinker, I found myself having to reread portions of the book to grasp an understanding of the material. The subtitle of the book is "A New Way to Think About the Question." This book was full of new ways of thinking. It discussed aspects of evil that I had never even considered. It includes an appendix on the Evidence for the Existence of God, which follows the same format as the entire book and it includes a critique of the contemporary Christian novel, The Shack. The author of this book presents many fallacies of the novel and in his opinion, the novel presents many unrealistic and unbiblical concepts. If you want to think and really examine all you want to know about evil, this would be a good book to read, however, I will say that I found it very taxing to my mind.
I received a free copy of this book for review from Bethany House. I was not obligated to provide a positive review. The opinions and writings in this review are my own.
This is one of the best treatments of the topic of evil I've read. It has one major draw back though. This book was dealing with a theological issue in an almost entirely philosophical way. It's therefore incomplete because it totally neglects the Genesis record except briefly in an appendix. The appendix is thoroughly unbiblical at that favoring the heresy recently invented by William Dembksi that God created the world flawed, corrupt, fallen and under the curse because he knew Adam would eventually sin. So things are not bad as a result of sin but because a perfect God created imperfection to punish sin that hadn't taken place yet. That's bad theology and bad philosophy. Other than this it really was a good book.