KNOWING THE UNKNOWABLE GOD: How Faith Thrives on Divine Mystery

James R. Lucas, Author . WaterBrook $13.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-57856-600-6

Lucas, author of 13 books on parenting and leadership as well as some fictional works, begins with a good idea—to explore some significant paradoxes found in the Bible. He sets out to discuss issues like God's judgment versus God's mercy, God's declared hatred of sinners versus God's declared love of sinners, God's omniscience versus statements about God "forgetting." However, this exploration lacks the sort of precise thinking such topics deserve. Several chapters discuss the difficulty of God's foreknowledge, but Lucas's conclusions don't really help sort out that paradox's innate tension. Several of the other paradoxes are not true paradoxes at all, such as the instruction to Christians to be both innocent and shrewd. His interpretation of scripture is disappointingly flat, interpreting wisdom proverbs as "commands," and allowing no notion that Jesus' teaching might be used as a critique on some of the ideas in the Old Testament. Several of his theological conclusions are disturbing—that God's love is in fact conditional, or that while we are called to forgive our own enemies, we are called to hate God's enemies: "In the end, we apparently have no choice but to reject those who have rejected God." The book could be valuable to spark discussion, as each section concludes with a set of questions, but it does not fulfill the potential of its interesting premise. (Dec. 16)

Reviewed on: 11/10/2003
Release date: 12/01/2003
Ebook - 189 pages - 978-0-307-55255-6
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