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Why Does God Allow Evil?: Compelling Answers for Life’s Toughest Questions Paperback – August 1, 2017
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"Insightful and engaging—here's a masterful treatment of a difficult and controversial issue by my friend Clay Jones. Readers will benefit greatly from his thoughtful analysis of a topic that has troubled many through the centuries. Read it with a pen in hand to underline the nuggets of wisdom!"
—Lee Strobel, Professor of Christian Thought, Houston Baptist University
"I have read a number of books on the problem of evil, but this is one of the very best yet produced. Professor Clay Jones fearlessly and deftly addresses all the hard questions head-on with rational responses to them. There is no ducking of issues. Moreover, Jones skillfully weaves theology, biblical studies, and philosophy into a coherent, well-integrated book that is suited for both the scholar and the layperson. I highly recommend it."
—J.P. Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University; author of The Soul: How We Know It's Real and Why It Matters
"Dr. Clay Jones doesn't shy away from tough subjects. Instead, he tackles them with honesty, diligence, and resolve. In Why Does God Allow Evil? he engages one of the most difficult questions facing believers and skeptics alike. His treatment is God-honoring, straightforward, and accessible. If you're looking for a resource that acknowledges the severity of evil and the gravity of sin while taking the justice and grace of God seriously, get this book!"
—J. Warner Wallace, senior fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adjunct Professor of Apologetics at Biola, author of Cold-Case Christianity
"If you are looking for one book to make sense of the problem of evil, this book is for you. Clay Jones brings a lifetime of reflection to this difficult issue. He speaks with honesty and realism, and yet offers genuine hope. Both believers and skeptics will benefit from Why Does God Allow Evil?"
—Sean McDowell, PhD, Biola University professor, speaker, author
"In this book, Clay Jones actually answers the question, 'Why does God allow evil?' So many books on the topic don't give an answer. Hence, this is a breath of fresh air. There is a bonus too. In his answer, Jones gives a full-arc presentation of the gospel. I've seen even seasoned Christians awaken to the depths of the gospel for the first time in response to Jones's material. I cannot recommend it more highly. Read it for yourself, then read with a church group. Don't be surprised if you detect palpable spiritual growth in everyone involved in studying this important book."
—Craig J. Hazen, PhD, founder and director MA in Christian Apologetics, Biola University; editor of Philosophia Christi, author of Five Sacred Crossings
"It's hard to imagine there could be a new much-needed book on the problem of evil when so much has already been written, but that's what this is. Clay strikes a rare balance of theological depth and accessibility on this difficult subject, making it an ideal resource for anyone seeking to better understand how evil and suffering can co-exist with a perfectly good and loving God. He answers questions you've always had, questions you're embarrassed to ask, and questions you didn't think to ask but should have...all in an engaging style that makes you not want to put it down."
—Natasha Crain, author of Keeping Your Kids on God's Side
"Clay Jones has a novel and compelling approach to the problem of evil. In the search for answers, people frequently wonder if God is to blame. You'll find Clay's perspective on this matter eye-opening and even shocking."
—William Lane Craig, Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, Professor of Philosophy at Houston Baptist University
"Clay Jones offers a robust and comprehensive resource for addressing the problem of evil. Like the lectures he gives at Biola and around the world, Why Does God Allow Evil? is well-organized, engaging, and accessible. It's an important addition to the growing body of resources for twenty-first-century Christian apologetics."
—Barry H. Corey, president of Biola University, author of Love Kindness: Discover the Power of a Forgotten Christian Virtue
About the Author
Clay Jones (DMin) is an associate professor of Christian apologetics at Biola University and the chairman of the board for Ratio Christi, an international university apologetics ministry. Previously he hosted the nationally syndicated talk radio program Contend for Truth and served on the pastoral staff of two large churches. Clay and his wife, Jean E., live in Southern California.
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Clay Jones is an associate professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, and the chairman of Ratio Christi, a campus apologetics alliance. He is a former talk show host and has served on the pastoral staff of several large churches. Jones received a BA in Philosophy from California State University, an MDiv from American Theological Seminary, and a DMin from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. (Because of his doctorate and the topic of this book, which is his main area of teaching, I lovingly refer to Clay as “Dr. Evil.)
A common complaint from skeptics as well as saints is that there is so much evil in the world. How is this possible if a good and loving God exists? While there are many well-reasoned arguments that show this is not a problem, it is still a challenging topic. It can be especially difficult to discern what is behind the question. Is it intellectual curiosity, skepticism seeking an excuse, or the gut-wrenching reality of the death or suffering of a loved-one. Each kind of questioner needs a different approach. For those in the third category, I would say this book is not for you right now. There is no book on this topic that will really meet your need. You don’t need a book. You need a community of people to come along side you, love you, and hurt with you through this. Go to your community and get the support you need. For those who want an answer, this book is for you. For those hoping to justify your skepticism with the Problem of Evil, I challenge you to read this book with an open mind.
Why God Allows Evil is written from the perspective of a Christian worldview. It offers answers based on what God has revealed in the Holy Bible. If you read this book assuming that Christianity is false, you will find the arguments within meaningless. That would be a great loss.
The book is divided into 11 chapters, with an introduction setting the stage and defining terms. Chapter 1 starts at the beginning, which is to say how evil was actualized by our first parents. Chapters 2 and 3 deal with the question of bad things happening to good people. Chapter 4 deals with the unevangelized, or “if people never hear about Jesus, how is it fair to punish them?” Chapter 5 addresses the fairness of Hell. Chapters 6, 7, and 8 deal with free will and how it plays into these questions. 9, 10, and 11 explain how eternity sets the context for the whole question. The book is then summarized on the epilogue, followed by an appendix that takes a stab at explaining the ultimate origin of evil.
Having sat under Dr. Jones’ teaching on this material in graduate school, I could hear his voice in my head as I read this book. This was an advantage for me. However, for those who have never met him, it could be a challenge for you. Jones goes to great pains to express his heart for those who are wrestling with these issues, but because of his no-nonsense approach, that might not be obvious. He is offering tough answers to tough questions. Trust me when I tell you, he is giving these answers with a pastor’s heart.
From my studies of these issues under Jones and others, I agree with most of what he has to say in this volume. Jones ascribes almost all suffering and death to Adam’s sin and God’s curse on the earth that resulted. I am a little hesitant to agree. I realize Jones’ view is from what he would call “an unforced reading” of the Biblical data. What gives me pause is the number of things that have been discovered to be beneficial to life on earth that are often shown as examples of “natural evil.” For example, earthquakes, which unfortunately cause thousands of deaths around the world, are the result of a natural process, plate tectonics, that makes earth habitable. Hurricanes have a major role in regulating the climate of the planet. However, in the final analysis, I think Jones nails it. We suffer because of sin, ours and that of others, but our suffering will fade into insignificance in eternity.
This book is accessible to even the high school reader, but not dumbed down such that a reader with an advanced degree would be bored with it. It is a must read. I urge you to read it BEFORE you encounter a crisis..
It relies on libertarian free will so some Calvinists (Compatibilists)will hate it, but also emphasizes the perspective of the afterlife in weighing the problem. For this reason it is not really for the skeptic, unless it is one who will allow the Christian to frame the problem from a Christian perspective (not unreasonable allowance for someone defending the Christian God).
Dr. Jones points out that most people that have a problem do not consider the depth of man’s depravity and spends a good portion of the book developing this concept.
It has enough depth to be meaningful but so academic that it is inaccessible. Over all interesting and well written.
honestly, most people don’t see the long game...they see the pain and suffering here. We must see God’s whole plan.