Sunday, January 2

Faith in the Midst of Suffering

If God Is Good by Randy Alcorn

I have never read a Randy Alcorn book before. In fact, for the longest time I thought he wrote cheesy Christian Romance novels. I was quickly corrected when I first mentioned it. As it turns out Alcorn is a Pastor who is well known for writing both Fiction and Non-Fiction, and is also the author of Heaven, a book that I’ve heard is quite popular.

If God Is Good
is Alcorn’s attempt to take a look at the presence of suffering. He largely writes in response to Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, who cite suffering as one of their reasons for not believing in a God. Alcorn also addresses the book When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner, who Alcorn believes paints an incorrect picture of how God deals with suffering.

This is not an easy book to get through. It is nearly 500 pages and is presented in a well thought out manner. The book is split up into 11 sections, including, “Understanding the Problem of Evil and Suffering,” “Evil and Suffering in the Great Drama of Christ’s Redemptive Work,” and “Why Does God Allow Suffering.” Each section is then broken into further chapters that go into further detail.

It is obvious from reading that Alcorn has put a good deal of thought and Biblical research into the topic. He also has researched opposing views, so that he may fully confront them. He explains his views in a way that is both understandable and applicable. When I finished the book, I felt like I had a better grasp on what he was presenting. When I’ve read other books on suffering, such as Plan B, they didn’t do much to address the problem of suffering. They merely sought to placate the reader by assuring them that God is present by using Bible stories. But in the stories Alcorn shares, sometimes Bible stories aren’t enough. Sometimes you need to be able to be able to identify for yourself the reason that God has allowed suffering on Earth. I believe that Alcorn presents this in his book.

Here’s a quick snippet from the book, “God’s goodness entails more than whatever makes us feel warm and happy. We argue that if God were as good as we are, then evil and suffering wouldn’t exist. On the contrary, evil and suffering wouldn’t exist if we were as good as God is….We conclude that God is not good because ironically, we are so far from good that we do not understand what severe justice that true goodness must exact against sin.” – page 168.

This is the strongest book on the topic of suffering I have read. While it won’t change the minds of atheist who use the idea of suffering against Christianity, it allows Christians something with which to examine those arguments. If you have ever had questions about suffering, and especially if books like When Bad Things Happen to Good People felt like they diminished God, this may help you. What Alcorn says isn’t always easy to hear. But then again, anything dealing with sin isn’t. However, it is hopeful because of the death and resurrection of Christ.


Read a few pages here.

Rate this review here.

I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their Blogging for Books program. 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

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