Thursday, December 10, 2009

Is God Good

If God Is Good By Randy Alcorn

To be totally honest this book read so much like a theology text book that it was way over my head most of the time. It took me forever to read because I would get so frustrated with being lost and overwhelmed that I would just put it down for long periods at a time.

That being said I do know a thing or two about theology, as I have taken a few classes on the topic, and would agree with this book on the whole. But if you are looking for a quick or easy to understand book that will help you understand or easily explain it, you have the wrong book.

If you are a lover of the type of book that you really have to grapple with and mull over and cross reference with many different sources, then this is the book for you.

Here is what the publisher had to say.

Does God have emotions?

from Business as UNusual
Except taken from the chapter
"Evil and Suffering as Seen in Scripture’s Redemptive Story"
from Randy Alcorn’s new release If God is Good.

Some time ago theologians formulated the doctrine of God’s impassibility. They argued that God was “without passions.” Their motive was to distinguish God from the mood swings and more erratic and unstable aspects of human emotions. Unfortunately, many Christians came to believe that God doesn’t have emotions.

It’s critical that we know the heart of God. He genuinely loves and cares about us. If we believe he has no emotions, then we will never feel his love for us, nor will we experience deep love for him.

An abundance of biblical passages show that God experiences a broad range of emotions. God commands us not to “grieve” the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). God is said to be “angry” (Deuteronomy 1:37), “moved by pity” (Judges 2:18, ESV), “pleased” (1 Kings 3:10), and “to rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). Genesis 6:6 says, “So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart” (NLT).

Some explain these verses as ascribing human emotions to God so that we can relate to him better. But surely God wants us to relate to him as he really is, and passages that don’t describe him as he is would mislead us. God wants us to understand that he can genuinely grieve, his heart full of pain. Surely he didn’t choose these powerful words so we would respond, “Of course, God didn’t really feel moved—he has no emotions.”

Since God made us in his image, we should assume our emotions are reflective of his, even though ours are subject to sin while his are not. Consider a small sampling of verses illustrating God’s emotions:

Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. (Exodus 32:10)

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.
(Psalm 103:13)

“In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD your Redeemer. (Isaiah 54:8)

As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you. (Isaiah 62:5)

Nor does God limit his compassion to his children. He says, “I wail over Moab, for all Moab I cry out” (Jeremiah 48:31).

A passage about God’s goodness and compassion contains a remarkable statement: “In all their distress he too was distressed” (Isaiah 63:9). A form of the same word is used to describe God’s people’s distress as to depict God’s own. Yes, our distress can involve feelings which God doesn’t feel, such as helplessness and uncertainty. But clearly God intends us to see a similarity between our emotional distress and his.

The fact that the second member of the triune God suffered unimaginable torture on the cross should explode any notion that God lacks feelings. In the suffering of Jesus, God himself suffered. No one who grasps this truth can say, “God doesn’t understand my suffering.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in a Nazi prison camp, “Only the suffering God can help.”

Excerpted from If God Is Good by Randy Alcorn Copyright © 2009 by Randy Alcorn. Excerpted by permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

If God Is Good by Randy Alcorn
Multnomah Books/September 15, 2009
ISBN 978-1601421326/Hardcover/512 pages/$24.99

About If God is Good:

Every one of us will experience suffering. Many of us are experiencing it now. As we have seen in recent years, evil is real in our world, present and close to each one of us.

In such difficult times, suffering and evil beg questions about God—Why would an all-good and all-powerful God create a world full of evil and suffering? And then, how can there be a God if suffering and evil exist?

These are ancient questions, but also modern ones as well. Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and even former believers answer the question simply: The existence of suffering and evil proves there is no God.

In this captivating new book, best-selling author Randy Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief, and brings a fresh, realistic, and thoroughly biblical insight to the issues these important questions raise.

Alcorn offers insights from his conversations with men and women whose lives have been torn apart by suffering, and yet whose faith in God burns brighter than ever. He reveals the big picture of who God is and what God is doing in the world–now and forever. And he equips you to share your faith more clearly and genuinely in this world of pain and fear.

Randy Alcorn delves deep into a profound subject, and through compelling stories, provocative questions and answers, and keen biblical understanding, he brings assurance and hope to all.

For radio interview information, contact:
Audra Jennings - 800-927-0517 x 104 - ajennings(at)

1 comment:

  1. a few courses on theology eh? ;)

    And ya, I felt the same way. I've read a few books lately that would make good theology text books but not so great for everyday type reading.

    miss you.