QUICK HIT: Best known for his academic work in theology and philosophy, Dr. William Lane Craig shifts gears in What is God Like? to bring these often complicated doctrines about God to a level that children can understand. In God is All-Loving, Craig focuses on unconditional love of God for us and contrasts this type of love with a performance-based love that has to be earned.
In eight reviews so far in the What is God Like? series, I’ve definitely written more words than are actually in the series. Some may consider that superfluous, and when I began this journey, I thought that there was no way I’d find enough to say about each book to warrant a full length review. I was wrong. In every book, there has been more than enough depth and complexity among the simplicity to pull out enough content for a review—and that’s not even counting the half hour my wife and I discussed the books after I made her read them as well. (Conclusion: We’re definitely reading them to our future children.)
God is All-Loving focuses on unconditional love of God for us and contrasts this type of love with a performance-based love that has to be earned. The book also draws out the contrast that God hates sin and yet loves sinners. Papa notes that “In no other religion in the world do people believe that God loves sinners.” He even directly contrasts it with Islam, quoting the Koran in a couple different places, making this the only Christian children’s book to ever cite the Koran.
This kind of approach is what makes What is God Like? unique. Craig doesn’t avoid questions or over-simplify answers. He uses language that is appropriate to the target audience, but isn’t afraid to challenge children intellectually, either. Of course, any discussion of unconditional love leads right to the Cross, and Craig takes the story there in a powerful way.
Even beyond God’s love, Craig draws the practical application that God’s unconditional love of us is the basis for our own self-esteem and sense of self-worth. We should also love ourselves unconditionally. If God can love you just as you are, then you can love yourself too.
I have been a fan of Dr. Craig for a long time and when I picked up these books, I knew I was in for something special. I truly did not know how special and wonderful these books would be. Reasonable Faith may be his magnum opus, but these books may prove to be his greatest and most influential works.