, , , , , , , ,

A focus of my blog has been on faith and doubt. The problem of evil, suffering and injustice in this world is an issue that can make people have doubts. Indeed, this may be the number one stumbling block to faith! If there is a God, why is there so much suffering? Why doesn’t God do something about it? Etc…

For a recent class, I wrote a 20 page paper on this issue – and I thought I’d share some parts of my paper in a series of posts. Ultimately, the question of suffering has no pat answer, and humility is needed as one approaches the issue. However, there are legitimate thoughts and real possibilities that can be shared, especially within a biblical, Christian worldview. Every worldview or system of belief (or unbelief) must provide a perspective or explanation on this issue. For myself, Christianity makes the most sense, and answers more questions than it leaves unanswered in regards to the problem of evil and suffering. (Note that I did not say that Christianity can answer every question.)

Three books I  recommend on this issue are:

Evil and the Justice of God, by NT Wright. This is not one of Wright’s “academic” books, but one written for more everyday people. But that doesn’t mean it lacks substance! I greatly appreciate Wright’s big picture perspective in this book. It really helped me step back and remember how evil and justice ultimately fit into God’s plan for this world. I borrowed mine from the local public library, and wish I had my own copy for present and future reference.

If God is Good, Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil, by Randy Alcorn. Please don’t let the length of this book (5oo pages) scare you! Although Alcorn covers just about every major issue and perspective on this complex problem, he does it in a highly readable way. He introduces some of the more academic issues in a way that an everyday person can understand. He also writes in a pastoral tone with genuine care and concern for those who endure suffering. I highly recommend this book. If you are local and want to borrow my copy, just let me know.

When God Weeps, Why our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty, by Joni Eareckson Tada and Steven Estes.  Joni, who has been a quadriplegic and confined to a wheelchair for over 4o yrs, has “the right” to talk about suffering. She has endured it. But this book is more than just personal, as Joni and Steve Estes together delve into some of the tough issues regarding God and suffering. If you are enduring suffering, perhaps this book would be the best to start with…God does care. If you are local, I’ll lend you my copy.

Perhaps you’d rather not think about the problem of evil and suffering – but you need to! This is an issue you will eventually have to face in one way or another, and it is better to be prepared than unprepared! The neglect of this issue is a major problem in my opinion (more on that in another post).

This post was just a quick intro, and after this I will begin with a series of posts exploring various aspects of evil and suffering.