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Arguing with God;: A Christian examination of the problem of evil by Hugh Silvester (1972-08-02)

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Book Arguing with God;: A Christian examination of the problem of evil by Hugh Silvester (1972-08-02)

Arguing with God;: A Christian examination of the problem of evil by Hugh Silvester (1972-08-02)

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Original name book: Arguing with God;: A Christian examination of the problem of evil by Hugh Silvester (1972-08-02)

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Language: Unknown

Publisher: InterVarsity Press (1652)

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Customer Reviews
  • By Steven H Propp on August 23, 2013

    Author Hugh Silvester [who also wrote The Christian difference] wrote in the Introduction to this 1971 book, "This is really written for Christians. It has been said many times that there is no 'problem' about evil and pain for someone who does not believe in a loving God. For the unbeliever... He is wasting his breath to complain... because in his view there is no one to complain to. But the Christian DOES have someone to complain to. And ... he will sometimes... complain to his friends that it doesn't make sense that a loving God should have allowed so much trouble in the world... this book also contains some pointers as to how the Christian should cope with suffering or deal with evil in his own life and worldview. But this book is also written for those unbelievers who, for varying reasons, are considering becoming Christians. And part of the cost of that decision will be to believe in a loving God while living in a world in which there are many unpleasant features." (Pg. 7-8)He admits that "The difficulty with Natural Evil is that God, if He exists, is directly responsible... fossil evidence demonstrates beyond reasonable doubt that animals were dying and dead long before man appeared anywhere... As for geological and meterological conditions these are implicit in the very nature of the planet from the beginning of time. The Creator is responsible for these in a way that no one else is... Does God really approve of earthquakes?... It is shallow and heartless to say that God can teach the people things they would not otherwise learn through such misfortune... In arguing on God's behalf we can find ourselves making un-Christian statements..." (Pg. 31-32)He observes, "It seems to me to be an important point that the forbidden fruit came from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which implies that Adam did not KNOW what good and evil were until he had made the fatal mistake. Then what did he choose between, if he didn't know good and evil? He chose between God and himself." (Pg. 64-65)He argues, "It can be convincingly argued that God's foreknowledge does not affect my freedom. Knowledge is subsequent to the thing known logically, through chronologically it may precede it... But it is doubtful if one can make this distinction for God. What difference is there for Him in knowing and willing? After all he only has to think something and it is!... We are treading on holy ground: struggling to see into the mind of God, boldly applying our own puny introspection to discover His thought-processes..." (Pg. 72)He admits that the doctrine of Annihilation of the wicked [aka "conditional immortality"] "is quite consistent with the [Free Will Doctrine]... he chooses and he accepts the result of his choice. From God's side no part of His creation is 'out of control' for all pockets of resistance are eliminated. Indeed, being God, He does not have to 'eliminate' but merely ceases to extend to His First Order Approval to this or that individual. Annihilation however also has its difficulties... it does not quite do justice to the words of Jesus. He spoke about 'eternal punishment,' 'unquenchable fire,' 'eternal fire,' '...outer darkness, there men will weep and gnash their teeth.' All these expressions imply that the awful fate reserved for the rebellious is not instantaneous annihilation. The word 'eternal' is used many times." (Pg. 89)Of hell, he says, "although the sentence of condemnation must ultimately be God's, it is man himself who chooses hell... to say that hell is a punishment of retribution without reform is not necessarily unethical... sin and death are no more two separate realities than the acorn and the oak. The one is the 'end' of the other... [Finally,] the Bible does not say that God made and predestined certain humans to hell." (Pg. 89-91) He adds, "God has the power to make man a different being, but He will not use it. Rather than un-make man in heaven, God allows man to un-make himself on his own. Then why did He make man? Now we really ARE asking impossible questions: we shall never know what might have been." (Pg. 94-95)This book remains a "classic" discussion of this difficult issue, and will be of exceptional interest to anyone studying the matter.

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