In 1 Peter 3:15, the Apostle Peter tells Christians to “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” We are called to help people see that there are good reasons to retain their hope; it is a hope rooted in the existence, the power and the goodness of God.
In no other area are these challenged than in the face of suffering and evil. In fact, suffering and evil cause many to abandon their hope in the existence, power or goodness of God altogether.
This need not be the case.
That is what Chris Price has shown us in his soon to be released book, Suffering With God. Published by Apologetics Canada, this is a book written from a man with the heart of a pastor and the mind of a scholar.
Let me tell give you three highlights of the book.
1. Intellectual Satisfaction
This book is well argued. That is, without being argumentative, you can tell as you read this that the author knows his stuff. He has thought through the material. He has heard the possible objections to his points. Chris has done his homework (thanks in part to his mentor, Paul Chamberlain of ACTS Seminary).
One of the atheist’s objections to the existence of God is that God and evil cannot coexist together. That is, evil and God are mutually exclusive. This is a mistake in philosophy and logic, according to Chris. Using the free will defense as a very reasonable plausibility for the existence of evil, this book is clearly dialed in to contemporary conversations going on. Chris argues that God may have reasons for allowing evil that would leave the skeptic humbled and theists with an adequate defense against attacks on their faith.
What makes Chris’s writing so good is that he will quote the highest level philosophers and then bring the point home (literally) with a clever story about his family or an event that is sure to connect with all his readers. What makes this book unique is that Chris includes some powerful contributions that he has collected while writing for another blog, Grounded In The Gospel.
The combination of illustration and sound argument are what makes this book so enjoyable to read.
2. Great Theology
Suffering with God is not a philosophy textbook. It is a devotional book for those who want more than inspiring Chicken Soup stories. It is inspiring pastoral book with a theological and philosophical backbone.
Suffering with God shows that the problem of evil is a problem for every worldview (Chris explains this point well). I believe the Christian worldview, through our doctrine of the incarnation and the atonement, gives the best response with our deity who is familiar with suffering. In Jesus Christ, God put on human skin and suffered with us. God identifies with those who have faced and continue to face the worst kinds of pain.
The Christian response to suffering leads us on a path that has an empty tomb at its apex. Chapter three deals with suffering and the resurrection of Jesus. Where can a Christian anchor their hope that this broken world is not all that there is?
In the empty tomb of Jesus.
Chapter three does not just tell us to have hope in the resurrection but it gives us historical evidence why a physical resurrection is the most reasonable explanation for what happened to Jesus of Nazareth.
Don’t believe that miracles are possible? Chris Price has covered those objections as well.
The truth of the resurrection means that those who follow Christ can look forward to our promise of eternal life in heaven with him. C.S. Lewis wrote in The Problem of Pain:
“A book on suffering which says nothing of heav- en, is leaving out almost the whole of one side of the account. Scripture and tradition habitually put the joys of heaven into the scale against the sufferings of earth, and no solution of the prob- lem of pain which does not do so can be called a Christian one.”
A response to the question of suffering and evil must, according to Lewis, include the doctrine of heaven if it is to be a sufficiently Christian response. Chris Price is in accord with Lewis and includes his apologetic of heaven, inspiring his readers to continue on no matter what they are going through this side of that glorious day.
This book is for the philosophy student and the water cooler person who is wrestling with God on some tough questions that he or she has.
With strong arguments, helpful dialogue, inspiring theology and clever stories, Chris Price has provided us with another angle on an important question.
If you are presently asking unsure about how you would answer the question, “Why does God allow so much suffering and evil?”, I wholeheartedly recommend,Suffering With God to you (when it comes out).