Mrs Oz from For Such a Time is hosting a summer book club featuring If God is Good by Randy Alcorn.
This week we read the introduction and Section 1 - Understanding the Problem of Evil and Suffering.
The problem of evil and suffering is likely the world's "best" argument against God. How to reconcile the fact that evil and suffering exist, and that God is both all-powerful and all-loving. The argument goes, of course, that since God is not stopping evil He must be either not powerful enough to stop it, or not loving enough to care.
There is one assumption being made however that needs to be challenged. Perhaps there is a reason God is not stepping in to stop all evil right now.
A couple interesting points brought up in the first section....
1) Personally experiencing evil and suffering puts our theology to the test. We may think we know what we believe about evil and suffering and how an all-powerful, all-loving God fits into that, but when we experience it ourselves, that's where what we really think comes through. We need to study the Word and find out exactly what it says about evil and suffering, so that when (not if!) we experience it ourselves, we will be better equipped to deal with it.
2) Personally experiencing evil and suffering usually destroys a weak faith, and enriches an already strong faith. A weak faith was likely faith in something other than God to begin. And the experience of evil and suffering reveals it to be false. Which will result in either a complete loss of faith, or the development of true faith for the first time. An already strong faith will withstand the experience of evil and suffering and come out stronger than before.
3) Christians often have the faulty notion that being a Christian means that God will protect us from all evil and suffering. In fact, the Bible is clear that the exact opposite is true. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33 I think this is a very important thing that we need to teach our children. It's an incredibly difficult thing to teach because we don't even fully understand it all. But they need to know that God is not a genie in a bottle. They need to know that they will experience bad times (some their own fault through poor choices, others not their own fault). They need to know that God will not always rescue them from evil and suffering here on earth. But they also need to know that God understands how horrible it is, and He is with us through it all, and that eventually, eternally, God and good will prevail.
I am thoroughly enjoying this book (I knew I would - Randy Alcorn is an amazing writer and researcher)! Stay tuned for further installments...