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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Norman Geisler: If God, Why Evil?

5 stars: Fabulous and Rigorous, Highly Recommended

Geisler's book would not necessarily be the most comforting to read for those who are concurrently going through an emotionally trying time, since it maintains an objective presentation for the problem of evil. At the same time, it WOULD be helpful for those who wish to puzzle through these issues, and gives credible reasons for believing in God despite the existence of evil.

The ten chapters with topics that Geisler addresses are:

Three Views on Evil
The Nature of Evil
The Origin of Evil
The Persistence of Evil
The Purpose of Evil
The Avoidability of Evil
The Problem of Physical Evil
Miracles and Evil
The Problem of Eternal Evil (Hell)
What About Those Who Have Never Heard?

Geisler presents arguments for the existence of the Christian God: a separate being from his creation, who is all-knowing, all-loving, all-just, and all-powerful. He asks blunt questions: if this evil type of situation exists, how can God be there also?

Geisler sets up the arguments against God in a syllogistic format, stating the premises that lead to disbelieving that God exists, and then discusses why some of the premises may be faulty.

His arguments are elegant, with information that takes time to digest. Even so, the book is only about 175 pages, certainly not over-intimidating. Geisler also includes three appendices: Animal death before Adam, Evidence for the existence of God, and a Critique of The Shack, that are provocative.

As a Christian I found Geisler's arguments compelling. At the same time, while talking with atheists I find that straight logic is usually not sufficient to "prove" God's existence, although God's existence can be strongly supported. (Strongly supported enough that as a scientist and skeptic, I came to faith through studying the historic circumstances surrounding the death of Jesus). There is an emotional resistance to the Christian God's existence, probably because accepting His existence means bowing to Him as Lord, something many are reluctant to do.

Geisler's book is a concise and smart rendering of Christian arguments to answer the question: If God exists, why is there evil in the world? I wish I could have given this book more than five stars. Highly recommended.

I am grateful to Bethany House for providing a copy of this book for me to review. I was not bound to give a positive review, simply a review.

1 comment:

Anne Lang Bundy said...

I've just sent myself a memo to check this out. Thanks for the heads up, Amy!