If God Is Good: Table of Contents

  If God Is Good... Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil

Table of Contents

 

 


Contents

If God Is Good ...

Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi

Introduction: A Note to Readers, Especially to Those Hurting

          and Confused . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Section 1

Understanding the Problem of Evil and Suffering

1   Why Is the Problem of Evil and Suffering So Important? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9

  What Is the Problem of Evil and Suffering? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

3   What Is Evil, and How Does It Differ from Suffering? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

4   What Are Some Possible Responses to the Problem of Evil and Suffering? . . . .  30

5   A Closer Look at Central Issues in the Problem of Evil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  40

 

Section 2

Understanding Evil: Its Origins, Nature, and Consequences

6   Evil’s Entry into the Universe: A Rebellion of Angels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  47

7   Humanity’s Evil and the Suffering It Has Caused . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   55

8   Inherited Sin and Our Sin Nature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  62

9   A Deeper Consideration of What Our Sin Nature Does and Doesn’t Mean . . . . . . 74

10  Natural Disasters: Creation Under the Curse of Human Evil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84

 

Section 3

Problems for Non-Theists: Moral Standards, Goodness, and Extreme Evil

11  A Case Study: Bart Ehrman, a “Christian” Who Lost His Faith . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95

12  Non-Theistic Worldviews Lack a Substantial Basis for Condemning Evil . . . . .  108

13  The Unbeliever’s Problem of Goodness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119

14  The Unbeliever’s Problem of Extreme Evil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131

Section 4

Proposed Solutions to the Problem of Evil and Suffering: Limiting God’s Attributes

15  Is God’s Limited Power a Solution? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  141

16  Is God’s Limited Knowledge a Solution? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   146

17  Is God’s Limited Goodness a Solution? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  163

18  Is God’s Limited Love a Solution? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177

 

Section 5

Evil and Suffering in the Great Drama of Christ’s Redemptive Work

19  Evil and Suffering as Seen in Scripture’s Redemptive Story . . . . . . . . . . . . .  189

20  If You Were the Author, How Would You Have Written the Story? . . . . . . . . . 196

21  Jesus: The Only Answer Bigger Than the Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   206

Section 6

Divine Sovereignty and Meaningful Human Choice: Accounting for Evil and Suffering

22  God’s Sovereignty and Its Reach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  225

23  “Free Will” and Meaningful Choice  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  238

24  This World’s Structure Is Necessary for Meaningful Choice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 251

25  Meaningful Human Choice and Divine Sovereignty Working Together . . . . . .  258

26  Further Thoughts on God’s Sovereignty and Human Will . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  271

27  The God Who Brings Good Out of Bad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 282

 

Section 7

The Two Eternal Solutions to the Problem of Evil: Heaven and Hell

28  Heaven: Eternal Grace to Unworthy but Grateful Children . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 293

29  Hell: Eternal Sovereign Justice Exacted upon Evildoers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 308

Section 8

God’s Allowance and Restraint of Evil and Suffering

30  Why Doesn’t God Do More to Restrain Evil and Suffering? . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  327

31  Why Does God Delay Justice? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   334

32  Why Doesn’t God Explain His Reasons? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  342

33  Understanding That God Is God and We Are Not . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 352

 

Section 9

Evil and Suffering Used for God’s Glory

34  Pain and Suffering in God’s World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  361

35  Apparently Gratuitous Evil and Pointless Suffering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 370

36  How the Health and Wealth Gospel Perverts Our View of Evil and Suffering . .  378

 

Section 10

Why Does God Allow Suffering?
37  How God Uses Suffering for His Glory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 392

38  How God Uses Suffering for Our Sanctification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 403

39  How God Uses Suffering to Build Our Character . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 413

40  Suffering Can Give Birth to Joy, Compassion, and Hope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  425

41  How God Uses Our Suffering for the Good of Others . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 436

Section 11

Living Meaningfully in Suffering

42  Finding God in Suffering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 449

43  Finding Help in Dark Times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 459

44  Finding Grace to Ease Others’ Suffering and to Endure Our Own  . . . . . . . . .  469

45  Discovering Death’s Curse and Blessing  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  479

Conclusion:  Final Thoughts About God, Goodness, Evil, and Suffering . . . . . . . . 486

 If God Is Good ...

 

Note from EPM: Randy's new book If God Is Good is available for purchase online, in local bookstores, and from the Eternal Perspective Ministries website. (Check out the If God Is Good Chapter Summaries for a preview of the book's content.)

Randy Alcorn, founder of EPM

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over fifty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries

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