I think Christians under-estimate the challenge the “problem of evil” argument presents to many non-believers and how it can sap the faith of believers as well. For those not familiar, the basic argument is that if God is perfectly good and all-powerful then how can there be evil in the world.
It isn’t that Christians haven’t thought intelligently about the subject, because a great many have. But there is a certain segment of Christianity that I fear have lost a sense of how this argument plays out in the larger culture. I think the problem of evil is probably the single greatest philosophical challenge to informed faith. In our age this presents a big problem; that is to say nothing of the emotional component which is equally challenging to those seeking faith and those growing in faith.
I bring this up not to present a compelling argument myself, but as a mea culpa and as a reading suggestion. Yes, I have missed another deadline. This time it is the blog tour for Randy Alcorn’s If God Is Good Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil. I plan on finishing it and offering a review, but wanted to make you aware of it.
Here is the publishers blurb:
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.
I have heard very good things about Randy Alcorn from friends and family so I am looking forward to finishing this one. So far it looks like a very timely book on a important subject.
Alcorn fails to deal adequately with the key, on-point issue. If God is as almighty as Alcorn and the omnipotentists claim, they why does God allow suffering to exist at all? (He raises the question on Page 18, but then never answers it directly.) The important, on-point answer doesn't surface because Alcorn gets lost in a circular argument about good and evil. You would think the answer would be found somewhere in such a thick book, but it isn't there.