Philip Yancey on “What Good is God?”

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December 15, 2010 Tags: Problem of Evil

Today's video features Philip Yancey. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of The BioLogos Foundation. You can read more about what we believe here.

Philip Yancey is on the organizing committee of the Theology of Celebration series of BioLogos Workshops that have taken place in New York City the past three years. Yancey reflects briefly on his experience at one of the workshops here.

In this video “Conversation,” Philip Yancey, Christian journalist and author, discusses the inspiration behind his book What Good is God?

Yancey explains that his book arose from the many interesting circumstances he’s found himself in throughout his travels as a writer. On the way home from a trip to Mumbai, India, during which terrorists attacked the city, he began to form a list of the challenging situations he has experienced. This list morphed into the ten chapters of the book, each of which addresses an example of faith stretched to the extreme. Some of these situations involve suffering and trauma while others are simply difficult experiences like speaking to a crowd of prostitutes. Two themes, however, tie all of these different chapters together: the complexities of suffering and grace.

Many Christians respond to suffering in problematic ways. They either lecture the suffering individual or offer philosophical explanations for their pain. Yancey argues that the correct response to suffering is not found in these things but instead can be seen in the face of Jesus. Looking at Jesus’ life, says Yancey, it is obvious that he is on the side of suffering people. He always responds to people in pain with compassion and healing. While some questions about suffering, Yancey admits, can never be answered, the author starts with “his brightest glue being the face of Jesus who responds to people who are going through suffering and difficulties.”

Philip Yancey's book What Good is God? is available here

Commentary written by the BioLogos editorial team.


Philip Yancey is a best-selling author of evangelical Christian literature and editor-at-large of Christianity Today. He received master’s degrees in communications and English from Wheaton College in Illinois and the University of Chicago. His publications include The Jesus I Never Knew and Where is God When It Hurts? Yancey is a member of the editorial board of Books & Culture, and his books have sold more than 14 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 35 languages. He has received two Christian Book of the Year awards and 13 Gold Medallion awards.


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beaglelady - #43870

December 15th 2010

Sounds like a really good book. Too many people either trivialize suffering or jump at the chance to wallow in it.


pds - #43997

December 16th 2010

Does Philip Yancey endorse the full Biologos agenda?  Has he taken a public position on creation/design/evolution issues?


pds - #44000

December 16th 2010

I am also wondering if any prominent ID proponents or people sympathetic to ID were invited to this year’s workshop?  I don’t think any leading ID voices were invited last year.


Jeff L - #44127

December 17th 2010

Not clear what ID has to do with what Yancey is discussing. Anyway, given that ID has been thoroughly discredited, both scientifically and theologically, I see little need to invite ID proponents to the annual workshops.


pds - #44128

December 17th 2010

Jeff L,

Given that a very large number of highly educated and highly regarded evangelical scientists and theologians do not agree that “ID has been thoroughly discredited, both scientifically and theologically,” your position is quite extreme and says more about you and your apparent rigid views.  I hope Biologos does not share your views.


olu - #44546

December 21st 2010

The issue of suffering and the reality of God has become a trivial and controversial debate and several people, many have argued that, if God really existed, why did allowed and permitted suffering of human being, many has even said that if indeed God is that powerful, why can’t he stop suffering. The reality of suffering has being use by many to substantiate the reason for non existence of God. How can a wholesome and merciful God permitted suffering to continue. Many have forgotten that suffering is the result of disobedient acts of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:7-18) suffering that human being are undergoing is as a result of our willful disobedient in simple instruction. The ultimate suffering that is inevitable; the eternal condemnation, for this reason God decided to become a man in Jesus Christ who came to offered himself as propitiation for the sin and the suffering of man (Revelation 1:6; 2nd Corinthians 5:21) Suffering for the sake of faith and believe is acknowledged as appropriate with is reward while suffering for unjust reason is to be avoided as Christian.(1st Peter 3:13-18).


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