"Suffering is something over which human beings can rise victorious."

Author Bennett has examined the question raised in his book’s title for many years. He has organized this exploration into three parts. He first recalls the traumas he suffered in childhood, observing the extreme physical suffering of his father, the fears associated with war, the psychological pangs of family separation, and service in the military as a teen, observing horrors in ambulance units. He offers the viewpoints of other religions, such as Christian Science, Buddhism, and native beliefs regarding God’s connection to human suffering, finding within them few satisfactory answers. The second part seeks answers from the Holy Bible, particularly parsing the Book of Job, which indicates that humans are not controlled by “outside forces.” From the New Testament, he encounters the realization provided by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ: “The best is yet to be!”

But what of natural disasters, disease, and continual warfare? In the third part, Bennett arrays advances made in science because of such calamities, which can save lives and allow more people more time to appreciate the prospect of enjoying God’s grace as he intended when he gave humans free will.

Bennett, a scholar with multiple degrees and academic distinctions, has worked as a Baptist minister and a chaplain’s assistant. His experiences have doubtless led to his prodigious study into the abiding question of God’s care for his creation. Bennett has seen pain and suffering close up, including his own loves and losses, yet he is stolid in his conviction that such negative eventualities can offer positive opportunities. He has created this orderly work, well supported by research, as a guide for others for whom the same questions of God’s competence and caring may have arisen. The viewpoints and their factual and scriptural underpinning will provide an enlivening focus for group and individual examination.

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