John Dickson is a historian and a Christian apologist who has written many books. He is also an Anglican minister and popular speaker, and in case you hadn’t notice, I’m a big fan! (I have previously reviewed many of his other books here, here, here and here). In this book, If I were God I’d end all the pain, he addresses the issue of evil and suffering.
Dickson begins by acknowledging that he doesn’t have all the answers but also points out that neither do the Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims or atheists and in the final analysis Christianity is the best, though not entirely satisfactory, explanation.
Dickson logically points out that the existence of suffering does not disprove the existence of an all-powerful and all-loving God. All it does is introduce the possibility that God must have loving reasons for permitting suffering. Dickson discusses free will and notes that while we may want God to stop the evil that others inflict we don’t often consider the evil we inflict. Do we want God to stop us spending $30 on a CD in order to give the money to relieve the suffering of someone in a third world country?
Dickson discusses the final outcome of suffering and how one day God will “balance” the scales of justice and how this knowledge provides us with comfort. Finally he looks at the wounded God – Jesus. We have a God who knows what it is like to suffer and while we don’t always understand God’s plans and purposes, we “can always trust his motives”.
Overall I found this short book very helpful as it addresses the main areas people struggle with in regard to suffering.