The God I Don’t Understand

Book Review for Immediate Release

by Jim Miller

Paperback Edition
The God I Don’t Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith
Kindle Edition
The God I Don’t Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith
Christopher J. H. Wright
Zondervan (December 23, 2008)

I do not understand God. Oh, I “know” him, I have a good relationship with him, we are tight, but I do not always understand him. His ways are above our ways and past finding out; at least that’s what the Bible says. And I get that and I’m fine with it. I do not need to know everything. If I did, the wonder would be gone and I would no longer need to trust; I could “lean to my own understanding.” But there are some things I do want to know, things I feel the need to know. Like the Big Question: Why does a righteous God allow evil? Or this one: Can the God who commanded the extermination of the Canaanites, right down to their pet poodle, be the same as the God of Jesus? Or, the greatest enigma of them all: What rhyme or reason was there in the execution of Jesus? Why the torture? These questions are raised and resolved in Dr. Chris Wright’s latest book, The God I Don’t Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith.

The book was born out of a casual conversation between friends around Dr. Wright’s dining room table. They were discussing the joys and woes of several mutual friends when the conversation turned to God’s mysterious dealings with humans. Why does God would allow undeserving evil people to be showered with great benefits, like winning the lottery or something, while good people suffer immeasurable affliction or unbearable poverty? Where is the justice in that? So, despite being a respected Bible scholar and theologian, Dr. Wright conceded, “I don’t understand why God does that. It seems to me that the older I get the less I think I really understand God.” (Well, now I am in good company.) The result of this is Wright’s search for answers and his conclusions in “The God I Don’t Understand.”

Helping people resolve their doubts is part of my job. Sure, I know some really don’t want answers; they just relish posing questions, but most are sincerely troubled by God’s dealings with us. They want some answers and a dismissive shrug will not do. This is where people like Dr. Wright, who has thought these things through, are immensely helpful. His book confronts the mystery, offense, and defeat of evil; the inexplicable destruction of the Canaanites and why it poses such a stumbling block for Christians as well as prebelievers; the embarrassment some Christians feel about the “God of the Old Testament”; the mystery of the Cross, the misleading ways some Christians speak of it, and what it means to see its purpose in the light of the whole biblical story; why the term “the end of the world” is an inadequate phrase for what the Bible teaches; what the new creation will be like and what the future holds for believers—all this and more.

Artist Bio
Christopher J. H. Wright is an Anglican clergyman and the International Director of the Langham Partnership International. He also serves as chair of the Lausanne Movement’s Theology Working Group and chair of the Theological Resource Panel of TEAR Fund, a leading Christian relief and development charity. He has written several books, including Living as the People of God (An Eye for an Eye in the US), God’s People in God’s Land, Knowing Jesus through the Old Testament, Walking in the Ways of the Lord, Deuteronomy in the New International Biblical Commentary, The Message of Ezekiel in the Bible Speaks Today series, Old Testament Ethics for the People of God, The Mission of God, and The God I Don’t Understand. Chris and his wife, Liz, have four adult children and six grandchildren.

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