Episode: It’s a wide-ranging coffee-shop style conversation featuring Thomas Jay Oord and host Matthew W. Bates. Truly, since Tom was at his favorite local coffee shop in Idaho and Matt was drinking copious quantities of coffee at his desk in Illinois. What topics were brewed up? Chaos, the problem of evil, the limits of scientific materialism, the nature of the miraculous–and how all of this could plausibly be explained by a model of divine providence in which God never coerces creation. Oord’s book, The Uncontrolling Love of God, compels all who encounter his ideas to grapple with the very foundation of Christian thought anew. Grab your mug of coffee and join in.
Guest: Thomas Jay Oord is a theologian, philosopher, and scholar of multi-disciplinary studies. Oord is an award-winning author, and he has written or edited more than twenty books. His sole-authored titles include Defining Love: A Philosophical, Scientific, and Theological Engagement (Brazos, 2010) and The Nature of Love: A Theology (Chalice, 2010) His edited volumes frequently engage matters of science and theology: e.g., God in an Open Universe: Science, Metaphysics, and Open Theism (edited with William Hasker and Dean Zimmerman; Wipf & Stock, 2011). Oord has also won the Outstanding Faculty Award twelve times as professor at Northwest Nazarene University, Nampa, Idaho. He is known for his contributions to research on love, relational theology, science and religion, and Wesleyan thought. Oord is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene.
Book: Thomas Jay Oord, The Uncontrolling Love of God: An Open and Relational Account of Providence (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2015). Publisher’s description: Rarely does a new theological position emerge to account well for life in the world, including not only goodness and beauty but also tragedy and randomness. Drawing from Scripture, science, philosophy and various theological traditions, Thomas Jay Oord offers a novel theology of providence―essential kenosis―that emphasizes God’s inherently noncoercive love in relation to creation. The Uncontrolling Love of God provides a clear and powerful answer to the problem of evil, the problem of chance, and how God acts providentially in the world..
The OnScript Quip (our review): Chaos, ugliness, evil. Order, beauty, good. Too many theologies can explain one side, but not the other. Thomas Jay Oord’s The Uncontrolling Love of God determinedly holds fast to both poles, offering a fresh model for how God’s essentially loving nature can provide systematic integration. Prepare to rethink fundamental theology. — Matthew W. Bates, Quincy University, OnScript
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