Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Review of HAND IN HAND by Randy Alcorn

Randy Alcorn has been one of my favorite authors ever since I read his thorough book on the theology of heaven. With hand in Hand, he tackles the often debated topic of human responsibility in the midst of a universe sovereignly governed by God. Over the years, after much study, I tend to lean more toward a Molinist approach, though I wouldn't say I agree with all of it.

After reading Alcorn's book, I find I agree with much of his approach to the subject in recognizing that the Bible teaches genuine human responsibility and God's sovereignty being true of reality. However, God's sovereignty doesn't mean meticulous control of every event that occurs. It does mean that God is free to meticulously control everything if he so chooses. In one sense, God's will is thwarted by human decisions, but God's ultimate will of saving those who believe is never thwarted. Alcorn discusses all of these points well in a way that is understandable. Each chapter builds on the one before it.

The only part of the book I struggle with is Alcorn's reliance on the "greater good" argument for why evil exists. The greater good argument depends on the existence of evil in order for God to bring about a "greater good," and this seems to make God in some way dependent upon evil to bring about certain goods. It seems more accurate to say that God is capable of bringing about the greatest good without the existence of evil, which means the "greater good" wouldn't require the existence of evil. Yet God can and does utilize the evil that occurs in a way that will lead to good. For a theodicy argument, I fall more in line with Brian Little's Creation-Order Theodicy.

Overall, I would have to say that this was one of the most refreshing books on the subject that I've read, and I've read a lot. Alcorn writes with graciousness toward all sides and a deep love of God.

Review copy provided by Blogging for Books

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