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Where the Hell Is God? Paperback – November 1, 2010
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The first chapter in the book is titled "God is not out to get us". And the first paragraph there is: "God does not directly send or will pain, death, suffering, and disease. God does not punish us with bad things." (And "directly" is elaborated upon later in conjunction with God creating an imperfect world - yes, IMperfect.) What the author says about this and everything else he covers is so concisely and clearly put that I cannot possibly summarize any of it and do it justice. Suffice it to say here that God's unconditional love for us all at all times is extensively elucidated.
It's all about our God being a close-up, loving, personal God who is with us intimately every step of the way, suffering along with us when we suffer and always leading us home. He's our very best friend.
Martin Fricke, Ph.D.
Leonard does have some good things to say about the importance of free will and God's presence through suffering.
But chapter five in the book, an argument against the supplementary atonement of Christ's death and its purposeful nature is borderline heretical. To quote Matthew 16:21 - "21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life." Peter objected to what Jesus had to say, and I believe Jesus might have had a "Get thee behind me, Satan" for Leonard here as well.
Leonard's less than wholehearted affirmation of miracles is disappointing as well. He seems to lean toward the idea that "modern science" has ruled out the miraculous, but God can still do miracles "through us". He seems to believe that since a miracle didn't happen for his quadriplegic sister, it won't happen for anyone. Scripture teaches that God does indeed intervene in the world, even if rarely and not by human weems. Much better treatment of the miraculous can be found in C. S. Lewis' "Miracles" and Tim Stafford's recent book of the same name. (And while one is looking at Lewis, see also "The Problem of Pain" and "A Grief Observed" for the classics in dealing with these issues from first a theological and then a personal perspective.)
But Leonard does have some worthy arguments and is worth a look for people struggling with the problem of evil and pain.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very readable book that offers very practical advice on how to deal with tragedy.Published 5 months ago by Stephen R Roscher
A grounded and thoughtful approach by Richard Leonard SJ to the subject of God's relationship with us as we journey through life. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Tania Cavaiuolo
This book was good. I had expected a little more content. I would recommend it to a friend or family member who may have lost someone.Published 16 months ago by Lesley Downs
Excellent read. Mixed theology with personal experience. Highly recommend to those struggling with God's presence in their lives. Worthwhile reading.Published 17 months ago by Robin Peace