How Can I Believe When I Live in a World Like This?
L.M. Read was a Philosophy of Religion and Economics professor at
Ecclesiastes says, “There is a vanity which takes place on earth, that
there are righteous men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the
wicked, and there are wicked men to whom it happens according to the
deeds of the righteous.” It is “a world like this” to which
Stackhouse refers in the title of this book. In this context, how can
one believe in a God who is all-powerful and good? Leibniz called this
profound problem “theodicy” (that is, the justice of God).
The author briefly reviews the responses of the philosophers Plato,
Leibniz, and Voltaire to the problem of evil, but turns to the Bible and
especially to Job for guidance not simply in understanding this age-old
problem but in coping with it in our own existence. He finds six
theodicies either explicitly stated or anticipated in Job. Each
theodicy, he argues, is true in part but is not the whole truth.
Stackhouse brings to his discussions of this deep and troublesome
problem a sensitive, probing mind and a rich experience as pastor,
professor, and member of Parliament. He enlivens his intellectual
probings with numerous stories drawn mostly from his own experience.
Indeed, the book is such easy reading that readers must be warned that
frequently what they have passed over so easily is also very profound.