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God Can't: How to Believe in God and Love after Tragedy, Abuse, and Other Evils Paperback – January 1, 2019
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- Publisher : SacraSage Press (January 1, 2019)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 212 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1948609126
- ISBN-13 : 978-1948609128
- Item Weight : 9.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.53 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #67,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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In God Can’t, Oord offers a solution to the problem of evil. God’s essential nature is love, which Oord defines as acting intentionally to promote overall well-being. He defines evil as useless and pointless pain and suffering. Because a loving God could never allow abuse and evil, Oord concludes God simply cannot stop evil by acting alone. God can use suffering to bring about good but God does not cause or allow it. Rather, God is continually working to heal to the utmost in every moment, given the circumstances of life, the past, and our free will choices. A radical shift from the concept of God we have been taught in many Christian circles, this is a god with whom we can give and receive love without fear, a god worthy of our devotion.
Oord makes his case using real-life stories, explaining scripture, challenging problematic dogma touted by the well-meaning, and correcting misconceptions about God which inflict more harm than help. Oord’s concept of God calls us to listen for the divine aim and respond by participating with the divine in works of grace. If you are looking for a bible study book, God Can’t is not it. However, Oord addresses some of the bible passages often used to portray God as a vengeful judge, a detached creator, or a controlling parent. He shows us a very different God of compassion and empathy relentlessly working for our best, and demonstrates the consistency of this image with the Bible and its overarching message of love.
While this book includes a clear message comprehensible to anyone, if you seek a more in-depth approach, I encourage you to next read Oord’s earlier book, The Uncontrolling Love of God. His other publications offer nuance to his central theme of God as love, affectionately earning him the title of “Dr. Love” among his university students and colleagues. This seminal text should not be confused with Uncontrolling Love: Essays Exploring the Love of God. The book of essays demonstrate the application of Oord’s views by others with varying degrees of success and show us the journey to revising our ideas about God is anything but a simple straight line.
Be advised, truly absorbing the meaning of Oord’s message in God Can’t will cause some dissonance. You may experience guilt from having expressed unhelpful opinions, such as “Everything happens for a reason” and “It’s all part of God’s plan” to yourself and others who have lived through abuse and tragedy. You may have to take responsibility for your role in creating a better world. More than anything, though, you will feel healing begin in your soul and in your life and you will find encouragement and hope. You will see God and the world more coherently. You will find your ideas about God becoming more emotionally and intellectually rational and you will be able to feel and experience God’s grace in a new way.
In this book Dr. Oord has made practical every day application to the position he previously outlined in “The Uncontrolling love of God.” Together they point out the logical and scriptural role of God in the midst of suffering. It maintains the reality of a God who loves unconditionally but accepts that suffering is a part of life.
I have found use for this understanding to be very helpful in the work that I do. While I cannot always express the view openly due to the misleading approach proclaimed in churches, it guides my approach to people suffering from Spiritual Distress. The result is that a person can go to our loving God for comfort instead of avoiding God because God is the source of my suffering.
I believe this new perspective is going to make significant difference in the lives of Christian and non-Christian and I recommend it to anyone in the health care community.
Top reviews from other countries
Each chapter is detailed and engaging yet avoids becoming tedious. There are useful questions at the end of each section which help during times of reflection and there is much to reflect on here!
It's important to finish the book before jumping to conclusions as most of the inevitable questions are dealt with by the end of the book. It's also important to remember throughout that though God "can't" it certainly doesn't mean that God is inactive and uncaring!
I felt this book may be particularly helpful for Christians who liked "The Shack" (along with it's theology) but were left with the question of "why?" still unanswered.
Overall a great book that avoids appeals to mystery that often plague this subject.