The problem of evil is one of the most timeless challenges surrounding the existence of God. It is also a timely problem as it lies at the heart of the currently popular debate within Christian circles regarding hell. For these reasons, books tackling the topic of hell and the broader one of evil seem to be surfacing at a rapid rate. So this week and the next I will be reviewing two books covering the same subject matter. But with that exception, these two books could hardly be less alike.
My first impression of If God Is Good... by Randy Alcorn wasn't a coherent thought. It was, however, memorable enough that my two year old daughter echoed my comment back to me later when she saw the book again saying, "Holy cow!" (which was exactly what I said when I first pulled the book from its box). Alcorn has written a tour de force on the problem of evil from every conceivable angle. Clocking in at 494 pages, this book is not for the faint at heart—if your heart faints at the thought of reading anything longer than a blog post.
While the length of the book might be intimidating for some, the readability will not be. Alcorn's style is easily accessible and, even when dealing with more philosophical arguments, handles them with the everyman in mind. For this reason, while a straight read-thru may not be a practical goal for everyone, this may be one of the best books to have on hand as reference material on the problem of evil.
Randy approaches his topic with the heart of a pastor throughout the book, even introducing the book with "A Note to Readers, Especially to Those Hurting and Confused". His sensitive and yet straightforward manner are welcome in an issue that can quickly become either academic or calloused.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Recommended for: Every Christian's library as (at the very least) reference material
This book was a free review copy provided by Multnomah Books.