219 pages, $15.00 (paperback), ISBN-13: 978-0-7684-4082-9
One major misunderstanding for both atheists and believers is whether man has free will. Does God know everything in advance of when it happens? Why does God allow evil? How does God’s sovereignty function in our lives? This book is divided into two sections. The first is titled “Why?” In this section Shank develops a contrast between what he calls “the extreme sovereignty view” in which God’s will essentially makes us robots who have no control and what Shank calls “the Jesus worldview.” In this reader’s view Shank does a good job of pointing out that we are in control of our lives and are active in determining our eternal destiny. That is what Shank calls the “Jesus worldview.”
The second section of the book is titled “What About …?” This anticipates questions and challenges to the notion that we are in control. Human suffering is a major area and Shank has an excellent treatment of the book of Job. The biggest weakness of this section is an endorsement of Pentecostal-type miraculous healing. This leads into an area of discussion that detracts from the basic theme of why bad things happen to good people.
This is not a useful book for helping atheists or skeptics with the issue of why God allows bad things to happen and why we exist. The argument is totally biblical and then veers off into claims of miraculous healing which will stop an atheist from accepting the author’s position. However, Christians who want a biblical perspective on the Christian world will find it useful. We are not robots and free will does in fact function in our choices and their consequences. We recommend this book to Christians seeking understanding in this vital area.