In Broken Planet, Dr Sharon Dirckx, scientist and apologist, offers a measured and thoughtful case for how there could be a God of love that allows natural disasters.
The question of suffering is one of the greatest hurdles to Christian faith. When believers respond to the question of why there is suffering in the world, they often turn to the free-will defence. This states that humans make choices for good or ill that can bring about suffering in the lives of others. However, that doesn't explain why children die of cancer, or why the latest earthquakes, tsunamis or pandemics have been so destructive. These seem to happen not because of our choices, but in spite of them. So how do we make sense of these events?
Dr. Sharon Dirckx blends argument, science and first-person narrative in this unique book, weaving answers to real questions with compassion and empathy, while also acknowledging the element of mystery we will always live with while on earth.
Dr Dirckx addresses topics such as:
If God exists, why would he make a world with earthquakes and tsunamis?
Why is there so much suffering in a natural disaster?
Are natural disasters God's judgement?
Is my illness a punishment from God?
What kind of God would allow natural disasters and diseases?
If you have ever struggled to reconcile the idea of a loving God with all the pain in our world, this book will encourage you that belief in such a God is not as unreasonable as it may seem. In fact, it may be where God is revealed most profoundly.
'Natural evil is one of the toughest questions that Christians grapple with. Sharon has combined real-life accounts with insightful theological reflections to create a book that will help anyone looking for answers. Most importantly, Sharon explains why, despite the suffering and evil we face, Christians can offer the redemptive hope of Christ to a broken world. Thoroughly recommended.' -- Justin Brierley, host and author of Unbelievable? 'Broken Planet is a book that speaks deeply to the question, "If there is a good God, why is the created world riddled with natural disasters which wreak havoc and devastation?" In this honest and profound exploration, Broken Planet addresses the pain that can be associated with this question, while opening up fresh and meaningful avenues for thought and consideration. Amongst these perspectives are moving and inspiring accounts of humanity's longing for justice, restoration, hope and a willingness to sacrifice for others, which provoke one to consider the power and presence of goodness within a broken planet. Sharon has provided a helpful and impressive response to a difficult question.' -- Lara Buchanan, Speaker, OCCA The Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics 'Broken Planet is an honest, insightful and much-needed book. Dr Dirckx does not shy away from the intellectual and emotional challenge of natural disasters. As a scientist, she brings a unique perspective to the difficult question of how a loving God could allow earthquakes, forest fires, viruses, tsunamis and other kinds of natural forces that often cause such pain and devastation. This is my new go-to book on the natural problem of evil.' -- Sean McDowell, Professor at Biola University and the author or co-author of more than twenty books, including Evidence that Demands a Verdict 'If you've ever thought that belief in God cannot be squared with the existence of a natural world that teems with viruses, parasites, earthquakes, tsunami and a host of other horrible ways to kill us, then this compelling, informative and lucidly argued book will make you think again.' -- Professor Nick Megoran, School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University, UK, and author of Big Questions in an Age of Global Crises 'I don't recommend this book for bedtime reading, for it raises profound and disturbing questions. But therein lies its greatest value. Sharon Dirckx offers no easy answers. In fact, she makes clear that we will never fully understand natural disasters this side of eternity. But her book compelled me to examine my shallow assumptions and dig down to bedrock truths about God, our broken world and our ultimate hope.' -- Glenn Oeland, Senior Editor, National Geographic 'How can there be a good God when there are hurricanes, tsunami and starvation? This question is often overlooked in conversations around the problem of evil. Rather than shying away from disaster, disease and death, Sharon Dirckx demonstrates that Christianity has the resources to face these issues - as well as to give us hope in the midst of them.' -- Lee Strobel, New York Times bestselling author and founding director, Lee Strobel Center, Colorado Christian University, USA 'The occurrence of disasters and all the associated grief and suffering that they cause poses a major problem for both religious and secular people. In a series of thoughtful chapters, Sharon Dirckx discusses how we might approach this problem, finally landing on a Christian perspective of hope even in the midst of perplexity. The chapters are interspersed with moving personal reflections from both survivors and aid workers that keep the discussion grounded; they brought tears to my eyes.' -- Bob White, FRS, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, University of Cambridge, UK 'Using stories, science, Scripture and philosophy, Sharon helps us to think through the problem of suffering caused by natural disasters. This moving book is honest, and yet it is grounded in the hope of the Christian message.' -- Clare Williams, founder of Get Real Apologetics