Sunday, December 4, 2011

God is Innocent: A Review of If God, Why Evil? by Norman Geisler

People have always wrestled with the amount of evil that plagues our world, especially in light of the idea of a loving and perfect God governing the universe. If God is good, then why is there so much evil? Why doesn't he stop it? I've wrestled with these questions as much as anyone. The world is messy, and much of it seems so random sometimes. But if God is good, then there must be a reason evil exists that doesn't make God out to be the cause of it.

Norman Geisler explores these questions in his book IF GOD, WHY EVIL? The book is surprisingly short for a book that explores such a controversial topic, but it works as a concise treatment that anyone can understand. Geisler rightly points out that evil exists because God granted both the angels and human beings with genuine free will. Genuine free will meant that the possibility of choosing to reject God was very real, and unfortunately both Satan and Adam and Eve chose to exercise their freedom to reject God. The result has been a widespread and persistent evil that is still the result of human beings and demonic beings exercising a genuine free will toward evil. Of course, those from a compatibalist view of freedom will find Geisler's appeal to libertarian free will disatisfyjng.

Geisler uses logical arguments throughout the book. His writing is clear and easy to understand. It's a very quick read.

My only discomfort with the book was Geisler's appeal to a "greater good" theodicy, which is probably the most prevalent view of why God allows evil. Obviously God can and does bring good out of evil events that happen. However, does God actually need to allow the evil in order to bring about a "greater" good? Doesn't that imply that evil is necessary for good to happen? Of course, no one who appeals to the "greater good" theodicy believes that evil is necessary. I think the book would have been better had it wrestled with this particular area a little more.

Geisler also has a great chapter about the fate of people who don't hear the gospel. There's also a critique of the book THE SHACK at the end.

IF GOD, WHY EVIL? is a concise look at the problem of evil. There are probably better books out there that look at the problem of evil more in-depth, but this book is good for those who want an easy read on this difficult subject.

I received this book for free for review from Bethany House.

Why do you think God allows evil?

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