Writing a review of Dr. Oord’s new book “God Can’t: How to believe in God and Love after Tragedy, Abuse and Other Suffering” has been difficult for me. I am familiar with his views on the problem of evil and the ‘limitation’ of God. I have argued with them, struggled with them and prayed over them. I have come to appreciate his view of God even if I still struggle with some of the nuance in it.
This book however, is not an academic tome. This book is not for someone like me who has been following Dr. Oord’s work for 20+ years. At the same time, it is for someone like me, someone who has grown up with congenital heart disease, served through 9/11 held a dying baby’s in my arms. This book was written for my people, people who are hurting, people who have been hurt. Some who are struggling to maintain believe in a God who would allow the kind of evils they have endured and seen their loved ones endure.
Oord presents God, as one who is Love, One who never causes evil but also one who can’t ‘single-handedly’ prevent evil. Oord’s view of God is certainly different from what a lot of Christians traditionally believe. However, his view is well defended with Scripture. This perspective of God will be challenging to some and that is okay. But, it will offer hope to many.
The book itself is not what one would expect from a respected theologian and philosopher. It is candid and often raw, written with the compassion of someone who deeply cares for others. It is also written in plain language; there are no technical terms. If Oord’s other 20+ books represent his best lectures, this book is the equivalent of sitting across from him at a coffee shop. It is deeply personal and conversational.
As a pastor I am excited to offer this book. It presents God as one who hurts for and with His people. I have read it cover to cover 3 times and each time I do the faces of people I have ministered to come to mind. There is a list friends and colleagues that I plan to buy copies for personally because I believe, “God Can’t” will be instrumental in their healing.