Rating: 4 out of 5
I think few people are free from the struggle of reconciling a good and loving God with the existence of evil and suffering. IF GOD IS GOOD by Randy Alcorn tackles many of the questions brought about by the struggle. Alcorn has been one of my favorite authors, so I was very interested in reading his take on what is one of the thorniest subjects in the world.
The book is good in that it reveals the utter failure of the non-theist to adequately solve the problem of evil. Alcorn also shows how God can and does bring good out of the suffering that people undergo. He delves into how God utilizes suffering specifically in the process of maturing a believer in Christ. He also brilliantly shows God's two eternal solutions to the problem of evil in heaven or hell. Hell makes sense in light of the problem of evil if Christianity is true.
While I appreciate Alcorn as an author, I didn't find his arguments for compatibilist free will convincing. He argues it well, but I think one of the implications of compatibilism is that God can't genuinely offer salvation to all if he only enables a select few to even be able to respond to that offer. I also struggle with embracing the greater good theodicy that states that God allows only evil that he can bring about a greater good from. This seems to make evil necessary to God accomplishing the good he wants to do.
Still, Alcorn writes with a pastoral heart and has much wisdom and encouragement to give. I appreciate him putting his time into such an overwhelming subject.
Review copy provided by Waterbrook Multnomah