The Innocence of God by Udo Middelmann is a straightforward, yet witty, approach to explaining God’s personal interest in His creation while refuting all attacks on His character. In his defense of God, Middelmann biblically dissects modern Christian belief, differentiating between Bible-inspired belief and pagan-inspired beliefs. The book’s argument is clear: God, as loving and holy in character, is neither too strong to grant us free will nor too weak to overcome evil. By testing against biblical truth theologies tied to Christianity, such as modern Calvinism and openness of God theology, The Innocence of God reveals how true predestination and free will collaborate within God’s plan of salvation, allowing a Father innocent of His children’s sins to save them without violating His character.
Though his book reads like a school text in the areas of its more detailed theology, Middelmann also offers a personal touch throughout that reminds the reader that, while the topic may be apologetics, the writer is still human. Udo Middelmann, with degrees in law and theology, is the president of the Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation and gives lectures internationally on ethics and society.
Within his argument against deterministic predestination theology and openness theology, the author cites several biblical passages from Genesis, Exodus, and Job, and specifically Romans 8:28-30 to demonstrate how God is aware of all possible choices while it is the humans who choose. By such citations, Middelmann successfully argues that the Bible has the personal, intellectual, and spiritual dynamics that prove God to be gracious and just. This is emphatically supported by the book’s other basic concept that the Bible does not contradict itself.
Overall, the book is extremely well written and insightful, though the concept details are overwhelming at times. Middelmann’s view is consistently supported by biblical references and other contextual evidence, but the reader could very well struggle through several of the chapters due to the academic flavoring of word choice. Those in the field or with an interest in apologetics or theology would find The Innocence of God an enlightening, even brilliant piece, but it is certainly not for the fan of light reading. -- Holly Savage, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
The Bible teaches us that God is sovereign over all. Does that mean that in his sovereignty and foreknowledge, all events are determined? What about evil and the choices of man to disobey God or not believe in him at all? What a choice to have to choose between a good but weak God or a bad but strong God. The sovereignty of God, the existence of evil, the responsibility of man...how do these work together to explain human history and the reality of the world around us? Belief in the sovereignty of God has lead to extreme forms of determinism, while a rejection of Gods sovereignty has resulted in an openness view of history, which assumes the idea of a God with limited power and knowledge. In The Innocence of God, Udo Middelmann critiques both positions and demonstrates the continuing battle of a good and powerful God for his creation. God admonishes us to seek justice, goodness, and mercy in the continuing struggle against evil. The truth of Gods patient, yet powerful battle for redemption is absent when everything has been already determined.