Inquiring Minds Want to Know: What do you make of The Shack?
To be quite honest, I do not know what to make of the book, The Shack. My impression is that the author, William P. Young, made a noble attempt to explain some of the more difficult questions about God, and did so in an engaging narrative. At the same time, he crossed over some cherished ground in a manner that leaves him open to charges of heresey.
Is Young alone in this?
No. C.S. Lewis, among others, trod this path long before Young.
So what do I think?
I think I am thankful for keener minds than mine.
In particular, I was intrigued with Tim Keller’s analysis of The Shack. Keller makes it clear that he was not offering a review, only some impressions. Still his comments are worth considering:
At the heart of the book is a noble effort — to help modern people understand why God allows suffering, using a narrative form. The argument Young makes at various parts of the book is this. First, this world’s evil and suffering is the result of our abuse of free will. Second, God has not prevented evil in order to accomplish some glorious, greater good that humans cannot now understand. Third, when we stay bitter at God for a particular tragedy we put ourselves in the seat of the ‘Judge of the world and God’, and we are unqualified for such a job. Fourth, we must get an ‘eternal perspective’ and see all God’s people in joy in his presence forever. (The father in the story is given a vision of his deceased daughter living in the joy of Christ’s presence, and it heals his grief.) This is all rather standard, orthodox, pastoral theology (though it’s a bit too heavy on the ‘free-will defense’). It is so accessible to readers because of its narrative form. I have heard many reports of semi-believers and non-believers claiming that this book gave them an answer to their biggest objections to faith in God.
Keller’s “However” needs to be considered. To read Keller’s post click: The Shack – Impressions.