STILL WATERS, SEARCHING FOR MEANING IN AN AGE OF DOUBT by Gregg Easterbrook.
New York, NY: William Morrow and Company, 1998. 318 pages, index, footnotes.
two millennia ago, the philosopher Epicurus asked humanity's foremost question,
"Is deity willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is
he able but not willing? Than he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? If
so, then whence comes evil?" On the basis of this single question, many
have decided that the most reasonable way out of the question is to posit no
deity at all.
are answers within Christianity to the Epicurus question. Few people I know,
even those who espouse those answers, find them quite satisfying. Gregg
Easterbrook proposes a unique answer, perhaps not new, but one I do not see
addressed in current literature. Perhaps God is not omnipotent! Perhaps God is
evolving! In an highly readable, well documented, surely controversial book
which demands recognition, if not acceptance, Easterbrook, a contributing
editor for the Atlantic Monthly and a distinguished fellow of the Fulbright
Foundation addresses some of the most fundamental spiritual issues of our
times. His central thesis is that the Bible never actually asserts an all-powerful God and that
"omnipotence" is a man-made doctrine. How this works out is a well
balanced exposition of both scripture and science in this remarkable book. It
is not "normative" Christianity, to be sure, but it does suggest a
clear set of answers to such questions as "Why does God allow natural
disasters?" and "Why is there such a difference between the God
portrayed in the two testaments." Some of the reasoning appears (to me)
somewhat strained; most of it, however, appears worth consideration, even
without acceptance of the author's admittedly unconventional views.
a recommended read for all ASA members, as well as others within our religious
fellowships who "think they think." I am always excited when a book
takes me beyond my current thinking, and this one does that well.
Minister, First Presbyterian Church
to PERSPECTIVES, the ASA quarterly journal, May 5, 1999
in Volume 51, #4, December 1999
web site is
Backspace to return to the previous page.