Some reject Christianity because there is evil and suffering in the world. How could there be a God as described in the Bible with such suffering? Dinesh has thought about this for decades and finally feels he has something original to say.
He argues that God, wanting to make a universe with conscious, rational human beings, constructed the universe in the only way it could be done. God could have created a different universe with different laws – in which case he would have gotten different creatures. God could not have created a universe without evil and suffering and still have us in it. There are outcomes that can be obtained only one way, this universe being such an outcome. Of the Anthropic Principle, he says, “Consequently it is reasonable to suppose that if God wanted to make creatures like you and me, there was, as far as we can tell, only one formula available to him. And he used it.” (176)
Dinesh explores why the natural world must be the way it is, earthquakes, tsunamis, disease, etc. He argues that evil and suffering in the world are necessary for a greater good, a greater plan of God. We may be unhappy about evil and suffering but we can understand “that it is an intrinsic part of the formula that produced us.” (34)
Dinesh also addresses the evil that God fails to prevent and whether God is the perpetrator of evil. He also looks at hell, arguing that it is actually a good idea and is required by the goodness of God.
Dinesh says his book has three purposes: to answer the atheist's argument that evil and suffering contradicts the idea of a good God, to convince everyone that there is purpose for evil and suffering in God's plan and providence, and to address Christians who are suffering.
I have read a number of books on this issue and it does seem that Dinesh brings new thoughts to the table. I am not sure any argument will convince atheists of the existence of God but this book certainly provides a great deal about which they will need to think.
There were two areas Dinesh discussed that were of particular interest to me. The first was, “Does God have emotions?” This is apparently an issue addressed by theologians beginning with the early church fathers but it was new to me. The other issue was Dinesh's argument that God's plan for a fallen mankind is better than a plan with no fall of man.
Reading his book has certainly given me much to think about and has already stimulated a couple of discussions with friends. Anyone interested in the question of the existence of evil and a good God will benefit from reading this book.
Go to http://godforsakenbook.com/ to watch a book trailer, an interview with D'Souza and additional information about the book.
Dinesh D'Souza is the president of The King's College in New York City. He was a former policy analyst in the Reagan White House. He is the author of several books and a Fellow at two Institutes. For more information, visit dineshdsouza.com.
Tyndale House Publishers, 274 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers for the purpose of this review. The opinions expressed are my own.