Tragedy needs an explanation. Per­haps one of our deepest human needs is to make meaning out of the painful events we witness and experience. In The Uncontrolling Love of God, Thomas Jay Oord presents a comprehensive answer to questions about God’s providence and its relationship to both “genuine evils” and random events.

He addresses the ancient conundrum: if God is perfectly good, and if God is able to control creatures or circumstances but does not do so to prevent genuine evil and suffering, then God is not perfectly good after all and is morally culpable in the genuine evil that occurs in the world. Oord presents the problem starkly: “A God worthy of our worship cannot be someone who causes, supports, or allows genuine evil. In fact, I believe it is impossible to worship wholeheartedly a God who loves halfheartedly.”

Before presenting his own solution, Oord describes and critiques seven models for understanding providence, giving careful attention to those that seem to be most commonly held among today’s Christians. His critiques are humble and fair; he ac­knowledges the reasons each model is ap­pealing to some people, while being honest about the problems it creates.