Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Nonfiction Review: Good God by Lucas Miles

In "Good God," author Lucas Miles rightfully reminds us that evil and temptation do not come from the one true Christian God and that we must be willing to take credit for our own actions. Miles gives fascinating new insights to key Scriptures to support his points - insights that have influenced my own view of suffering. However, his book could benefit from a summary chapter clarifying his beliefs.

In addition to some questionable arguments (he disagrees with Calvin and Spurgeon, and, in my opinion, misinterprets their quotes), Miles presents a confusing and seemingly contradictory position. On the one hand, Miles says that God does not allow bad things to happen, but rather, allows us to allow bad things to happen. On the other hand, he does not seem to have a problem with believing that God indeed can and does intervene (so if He can, why not always? He does not appear to limit himself as much as Miles states). Miles equates "allowing" with "causing," and therefore says God cannot allow or know all that happens and be good at the same time. Yet there is no reference to the many intellectual, philosophical debates about God's sovereignty and omniscience (i.e. did God set up the best possible world, knowing what all other possible worlds would look like?). And what about God's constant upkeep of creation?

Miles also neglects to consider God's right as righteous creator - as in, we are all sinners and therefore even a good God could wipe out the human race if it were not for His merciful covenants and promises and His overall plan to save man through Christ. We must also not forget that just because God does not cause evil, does not mean He cannot use His Spirit and other circumstances for good (which, again, Miles seems to somewhat admit to).

I left "Good God" feeling that much of what Miles believes could easily be reconciled to what he argues against if only we took better consideration of what we mean by the language we use. Still, while the message here is positive, it also includes an Arminian point of view and other views that many Orthodox Christians will strongly disagree with (he comes awfully close to Word of Faith prosperity preaching). Overall, Miles misses many key pieces to the discussion and leave the reader more confused than informed.

*Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

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