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At some point, an unbeliever has probably challenged your faith on the so-called problem of evil: If God’s so good and powerful, why doesn’t he put an end to all this pain and suffering?

But the problem of evil runs both directions. If we insist that God could not be both good and sovereign, we lose the possibility of a God whose purposes transcend our understanding. We resign ourselves to un-livable despair.

Good apologetics can help you anticipate such challenges of faith from multiple perspectives. One of my favorite defenders of the faith today is Gavin Ortlund, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Ojai in Ojai, California. He’s also the author of many books, including Finding the Right Hills to Die On: The Case for Theological Triage, published in 2020 by Crossway and The Gospel Coalition. His latest book, where he discusses the problem of evil, is Why God Makes Sense in a World that Doesn’t: The Beauty of Christian Theism (Baker Academic) [written interview | 20 quotes]. In the same apologetic book, Gavin deconstructs arguments against Christianity while also displaying the beauty of God. Here’s a good example:

The plain and resilient fact we all must reckon with is simply this: we live in an intricate and mysterious world, and every possible explanation for that fact evokes wonder and amazement. There is no worldview available on the market that is entirely rational and explicable in terms of observable physical causes. If you don’t like God, you’re probably stuck with zillions of parallel worlds, for which you lack any conclusive evidence. Things are metaphysically interesting, any way you slice them.

Metaphysically interesting would be a good way to discuss Gavin’s book. And Gavin himself. Gavin joined me on Gospelbound to discuss our deepest intuitions, beauty, creation, love, and more. 

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