“We ignore evil when it doesn’t hit us in the face, and we are shocked and puzzled when it does.”
N.T. Wright, Evil and the Justice of God
The problem of evil. It’s one of the biggest topics Christians debate – for good reason. It’s a difficult, and emotionally charged, topic. But it’s also an important topic in apologetics. How many atheists describe the God of the bible as a genocidal, angry God who wipes out entire populations for no reason? And then proceed to accuse God of not being good because he allows evil in the world?
But Christians shouldn’t be afraid to touch hard topics. And if you’re looking for an answer to evil, N.T. Wright’s Evil and the Justice of God is a good place to start. Throughout the book, Wright explains what evil is, how our postmodern culture isn’t properly equipped to address evil and how a Christian should interpret evil in the bible.
One thing I’ll note is I don’t necessarily recommend every N.T. Wright book. I don’t agree with all of his theology, particularly because he’s a preterist. I don’t mean to discourage you from checking out his stuff, but I just don’t want any confusion about what my theological beliefs are. Feel free to contact me if you want to discuss that.
Difficulty level and how to read it
Evil and the Justice of God isn’t a hard, or long read. But, given the subject matter, it is a heavy read. Take your time with it, and don’t be afraid to put the book down every once in a while. Personally, I have no qualms about reading multiple books at a time, so much as the subject matter is pretty different – but that’s an entirely different debate. If you prefer to read one book at a time, it’s okay to take breaks.
I also want to add a caveat: This book addresses the theology behind evil. It is not a good book to read if you’re going through something difficult and you’re searching for answers in your personal life. If you’ve experienced a hardship, and need some emotional support, you need people to support you. You don’t need a theological treatise. Trust me, I’ve tried that, and it sure didn’t work. So if this is you, and you just need a lending ear, or you don’t know where to get help, feel free to send me an email and I’ll help in whatever way I can.