Yancey answers these questions with clarity, richness, and biblical assurance. He takes us beyond the things that make for disillusionment to a deeper faith, a certitude of God's love, and a thirst to reach not just for what God gives, but for who he is.
©1988 Philip Yancey; (P)2008 Zondervan
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"On the defensive"
The premise of this book is that Richard, young acquaintance of Yancey's, lost his faith in the process of completing a degree at a Christian college-- prompting Yancey to embark on a two-week silent retreat in which he reads the Bible from cover to cover, attempting to find a response to Richard's questions.
What results is a fairly traditional set of theodicies (attempts to explain the apparent co-existence of God and of evil). There are many such theodices floating around. In Disappointment With God, Yancey posits three of them:
1. If God were more inclined to intervence in the world and to perform miracles, we would actually be less inclined toward faith-- we would gripe and be dissatisfied, as were the ancient Hebrews wandering in the desert with their pillar-of-fire God.
2. Things may SEEM to be going horribly for us, but God has a greater plan, just as was the case for Job. Everything will eventually work out for the best.
3. It may seem possible to explain the events of the world without God, but such a view is reductionistic, somewhat like characterizing a symphony in terms of its sound waves. (This discussion moves somewhat away from the Problem of Pain)
That these (or any) theodices are problematic has been discussed at length elsewhere, and there is no space to do so here. To Yancey's credit, he at least writes with empathy and with a reluctance to blame either the victim, or anyone else, for the existence of pain. I also sense that he is opening these questions to a community for whom they are taboo.
However, I dare say that Yancey ultimately fails to answer Richard's questions. His explanations for the Problem of Pain lead us to some rather terrible conclusions, in short, that for God, the end justifies the means and also the idea that to have faith un-bolstered by miracles is "worth" the sacrifice of human lives.
For a more interesting consideration of "God's point of view", I would recommend "God: A Biography" by Jack Miles.
The book is honest and tries to deal with this very hard question truthfully. It's given me some answers and I'm satisfied with them.
I haven't read any other books on this topic but what I liked about it is that Yancey did not try to 'convince' people about the reality of God, but dealt with this question honestly, giving his own 'doubtful' experience.
He is a good reader but I guess his accent is difficult for me sometimes.
Good book overall. I was inspired by it.
"Yancey at his best. Extremely upliftting."
Yes. You will reconsider your times of doubt.
No, but this was very good.
It changed me and took many doubts in God away.
For any Christian who experienced disappointments and sometimes feel that God is silent in times of his/her crisis. This is highly recommended.
"Classic Book Excellently Read"
This is a great narration of this classic book. For anyone who has ever wondered, "Why doesn't God just..." or "Where was God when..." this is a must-listen. The reader conveys the book's meaning well.
Way, way better than my expectations! I finished the audio book in two days and through this immersion, my view and relationship with God is completely and forever changed! The fact that God wants to be loved may sound obvious to some but it made me feel a connection with God like I haven't in a long time! Christian writers tend to be brainless and make theological mistakes after a couple of affirmations but this guy is extremely wise in his conclusions and I was blown away how I could not find fault in his statements! An absolute must for everyone that is mad at the universe/God and/or has a craving to understand suffering in a bigger picture!
The first part of the book was good I was curious as what happened at the end If I had to do it over again I would probably buy a different book on the same subject
I don't come away from these books with a great deal that I remember but the book is generally interesting and it is an important subject.
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