Introduction | John Sanders 1 | Chris Hall 1 | Sanders 2 | Hall 2

Part 2:
John Sanders 3 | Chris Hall 3 | Sanders 4 | Hall 4 | Sanders 5 | Postscript

Dear John,

Like you, I think it's quite helpful to reflect on what has shaped each of us, and how this formation no doubt influences how we do theology and the conclusions we reach. What and who has deeply formed me? My questions and struggles have surely shaped me. Probably the greatest question I've faced over the years, theologically, spiritually, and emotionally, has been the problem of evil. And lurking behind this question, especially during my early days as a Christian, was the question of God. More particularly, was God good? Could God be trusted?

The divorce of my parents when I was a very young believer, for instance, caused me great anguish, especially when it appeared as though God had remained deaf to my fervent prayers that my parents' marriage be preserved. At that time, it seemed to me that my petitions had bounced back into my face, ricocheting off the walls of an inaccessible heaven.

During the same period, I worked as a driver and handyman for one of California's largest mortuaries, and I daily faced the question of evil and suffering. Was God in control of human history? Did God genuinely realize how many people were dying in Los Angeles, oftentimes alone, in despair, and in horrific circumstances? Did God care?

Lastly, during my later college years I began traveling internationally and quickly learned that the tragedies I had encountered in my family and behind the wheel of a hearse were multiplied worldwide. Indeed, the level of suffering I observed in countries such as Indonesia and India surpassed what I had experienced in the States.

I specifically recall visiting ...

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