I think I’ve recommended this book before, but I’m reading it for the third time (because my students are reading it): The Doors of the Sea by David Bentley Hart (Eerdmans, 2005). It’s only 109 small pages in length, but it is one of the best books on God’s sovereignty and the problem of evil I have ever read. Which is not to say I agree with everything he says in it.
The subtitle is Where was God in the Tsunami? But it’s not just about that one terrible event or just about natural disasters. The book covers a lot of ground in just over 100 pages. Hart’s main opponents are deists of all kinds and divine determinists of all kinds.
Here’s a sample:
“There is, of course, some comfort to be derived from the thought that everything that occurs at the level of secondary causality–in nature or history–is governed not only by a transcendent providence [which Hart believes] but by a universal teleology that makes every instance of pain and loss an indispensable moment in a grand scheme whose ultimate synthesis will justify all things. But one should consider the price at which that comfort is purchased: it requires us to believe in and love a God whose good ends will be realized not only in spite of–but entirely by way of–every cruelty, every fortuitous misery, every catastrophe, every betrayal, every sin the world has ever known: it requires us to believe in the eternal spiritual necessity of a child dying an agonizing death from diptheria, of a young mother ravaged by cancer, of tens of thousands of Asians swallowed in an instant by the sea, of millions murdered in death camps and gulags and forced famines (and so on). It is a strange thing indeed to seek peace in a universe rendered morally intelligible at the cost of a God rendered morally loathsome.” (99)