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If you could ask God one question

If you could ask God one question, what would it be?

This age old question gave rise to Paul Williams and Barry Cooper's book, which seeks to answer twelve of these FAQs, using the Bible.

Unlike many books that claim to speak to unbelievers, but really only serve as a cheerleader to believers, this resource from Christianity Explored actually engages non-Christians in a winsome and humorous, and yet compelling and uncompromising, manner.

The twelve questions, which form the chapter headings of the book, are as follows:

  1. If you're really there, God, why on earth don't you prove it?
  2. Isn't the Bible just a bunch of made-up stories?
  3. All good people go to heaven, right?
  4. If you're a God of love, why send anyone to hell?
  5. If Jesus really was your son, how come he got killed?
  6. If I can be forgiven everything, doesn't that mean I can do whatever I like?
  7. How can anyone be sure there's life after death?
  8. What about followers of other religions?
  9. Isn't faith just a psychological crutch?
  10. Why do you allow suffering?
  11. Why do you hate sex?
  12. Why don't you just do a miracle?

It would be difficult so summarize the answers to these questions, given in this small and very readable book, without just copying the entire book down again. However, to what is doubtless the oldest and most common question regarding the existence of God, I will share some of the the authors' excellent insight.

Many times the question is flippantly, even rhetorically, asked, "If there is a good God, why would He allow suffering?" To this question they respond (in part):

The conclusion is this: if we decide to reject God out of hand because of the suffering we see in the world, then we must come to terms with something far worse than suffering: meaningless suffering. Because without God, there is no justice, no future, and no significance to human life.

The authors conclude the book with one final question, a compelling one for anyone who is genuinely and seriously contemplating the reality of God: "So, God, if you could ask me one question, what would it be?"

The lack of the typical defensiveness, the accessibility and reasonableness and humor of the answers -- these combine to make this little book a worthwhile read for anyone. Christians may learn how to better explain and answer questions from sincere non-Christians, and non-Christians may actually find the answers to some of their questions finally satisfied.