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God at War: The Bible & Spiritual Conflict

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  345 ratings  ·  41 reviews
In this bold and compelling work, Gregory Boyd undertakes to reframe the central issues of Christian theodicy. By Boyd's estimate, theologians still draw too heavily on Augustine's response to the problem of evil, attributing pain and suffering to the mysterious "good" purposes of God.Accordingly, modern Christians are inclined not to expect evil and so are baffled but res ...more
Published (first published September 1997)
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4.19  · 
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 ·  345 ratings  ·  41 reviews


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Jacob Aitken
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boyd, Greg. God at War: The Bible & Spiritual Conflict. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsityPress, 1997.

If I were an Arminian or a Molinist, how would I respond to Greg Boyd? I begin the review that way because Boyd, like some hyper-Calvinists, thinks in a fundamentalistic fashion: you are either 100% committed to his view, or you are 100% committed to what the opposite view necessarily entails. Missing is nuance. This is rather frustrating because much of the book is quite excellent and groundbr
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Carl Jenkins
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We are at war.

This is the foundation of Greg Boyd's book on spiritual warfare, 'God at War.' This book is a lot to chew on, and at the end of it all has left me sitting here just thinking about a lot of different things, and how this book will affect how I look at a number of things from now on.

Boyd's basis is that that the angelic beings that God created were given complete freewill, and a number of them rejected God, rebelled against the task they were given to by God, and now live in war with
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John Martindale
Mar 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, theology
I must say, I feel the sense of accomplishment having tackled a 400 page book. But less I get stuck with lightening for being prideful, I'll won't saying anything more concerning that. So yeah, this book is really interesting, Boyd goes through the Old Testament and then the New, showing how the writers of the bible had a cosmic warfare world-view. This theme throughout scripture has been played down, due to reform theology that thinks God controls everything, that all that happens is part of hi ...more
Willie Krischke
Feb 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Greg Boyd convincingly argues his thesis in "God at War": that evil acts are not part of some mysterious Divine plan; that God does not will and control the rape of little children or the slaughter of nations, but instead battles against spiritual forces that influence world events and cause, or help, these things to happen. And he does so with impressive academic rigor; this is a book for study, not for light reading, a book for seminar classes, more than easy perusal. Boyd knows his stuff and ...more
Ray
Jan 17, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Some good scholarship here. But continuing the war metaphor, this book wins the battle (defending God's goodness) but losing the war (jettisoning God's attributes). A terrible disappointment. Read John Frame's *No Other God* (2001) or Millard Erickson or Bruce Ware (or C.S. Lewis years before the fact!) on the deep problems with Boyd's Open Theism.
Matt Friedman
Some of the data on spiritual things was indispensable, and I am glad overall that I read the book. The undergirding of open theistic theodicy got pretty annoying rather quickly, though, and showed some surprisingly wide logical gaps. For me, the latter issue really seemed to detract from an otherwise valuable book.
Ethan
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A theological discovery/exploration in regards to the question of evil, God's sovereignty, and the existence and nature of the spiritual powers and principalities and spiritual warfare.

The author is upfront regarding the frame of reference: whether or not all evil can be truly attributed to God's mysterious will as would be demanded by what he deems the "classical-philosophical" view of God as manifest in Augustine. He then proposes the spiritual warfare prism, as if God is constantly at odds wi
...more
Lars
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This was written 20 years ago, and Gregory Boyd might have changed his mind on a few things, but it seems he's stuck with the overall themes of this book. Coming to it from a Seventh-Day Adventist background, I found it very refreshing.

Boyd describes how the Bible has always depicted the world as an arena for spiritual war. The Creator is at war with evil spirits who have been abusing the freedom he granted them in the beginning. This is the "great controversy" theme that I grew up with, but it
...more
Jamin Bradley
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is incredible! I was introduced to a more robust supernatural Christian ministry about a decade ago, but wasn’t aware of any good theological studies on spiritual warfare until last year. I knew this book existed back then but I didn’t realize how deep it went! As soon as I found out, I went right for it. An incredibly important read for this generation.
Jimmy Winfrey
Dec 30, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It is very important to realize that Boyd is advocating heresy in this book. Open theism and a virtual dualism detracts greatly from this book (as heresy often does).
Gloria
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I believe a major portion of his premise, but I'm still waiting for the author's definition of God's Sovereignty. Maybe I need to read his next book.

Jill
Jun 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-own
In this book, Boyd outlines and defends what he terms a "warfare worldview," which can be summed up in the following points:

1. God created other spiritual beings besides us (i.e. angels, demons, and Satan are real).
2. God is not a divine puppetmaster. Rather, he gave all his created spiritual beings true free will, including the ability to choose to defy him and commit evil.
3. The existence of evil is not God's will/desire. It is the consequence of choices made by created beings.
4. God is at war
...more
Cayla Pruett
Oct 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Boyd sets out in this book, the eldest sister of two he's written on this topic, to build a theodicy on the foundation of a warfare hermeneutic. The church has drifted a long way from our early post-apostolic church fathers in the way we read and understand the Scriptures, particularly as it pertains to spiritual warfare and the cosmic battle between YHWH (the only creator & eternal God) and his Kingdom and the kingdom of darkness (full of lesser created gods and angelic beings who have rebe ...more
G Stephen
Aug 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
God at War -- The Bible and Spiritual Conflict by Gregory A. Boyd

Since working in the Tsunami in Aceh, Thailand and with those affected by the earthquake in Pakistan, I have been grappling again with life issues such as prayer, suffering, about warfare, the destructiveness of creation and the problem of evil in the world. Greg Boyd helped me deeply with his short book, “Is God to Blame- Beyond Pat Answers to the Problem of Suffering”.

I did not have to look much further to delve more deeply. I h
...more
Joel Wentz
Aug 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Giving this 5 stars does not mean I agree with every of Boyd's assertions. It simply means that I absolutely loved reading this book, and that I think it's an important work. Boyd writes with a clarity that is clearly fueled by passion, and he prophetically speaks out against the ways he has seen the Evangelical/Reformed tradition deal with the problem of evil in the world, completely screening out the profound spiritual language in the Old and New Testaments. Though I may not end up on the same ...more
Steve Watson
Feb 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Prior to this book, the best thing I'd read on the problem of evil was Henri Blocher's book Evil and the Cross, in which he argues that God answers all kinds of questions about evil (what? how long?, etc.) but never the "why?", which remains a mystery so we can focus on fighting evil rather than understanding it.

Greg Boyd leaves his study of evil in the Bible to much the same conclusion, that we need to be activated to fight evil more than understand it. But his thorough review of the scriptures
...more
Chris Baker
Mar 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Boyd offers a unique view of the problem of evil and spiritual warfare, without going overboard and seeing Satan or demons behind every little bad thing that happens.

Boyd's basic premise is that we have not taken the existence of Satan and demons seriously enough when considering why bad things happen and why evil occurs in a world that a good God created. Many evil things happen not as a result of human free will, nor as a result of God's will, but because of the free will of fallen spiritual
...more
Chris K
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly a masterpiece, and a favorite on my bookshelf. As far as works of theology are concerned, this is an astounding presentation on the warfare worldview. To the educated layperson, a good start in the study of Open Theology. I understand the thoughts behind the people who groan about the author's obvious open theistic view, one only need to understand that in viewing God and the future as at least partly open, he attributes the omniscient quality to God that the “God as Dictator” view could n ...more
Terry Wildman
Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
God at War along with the companion book Satan and the Problem of Evil may be one of the most important and helpful books I have ever read. Questions about God that I have wrestled with all my life have been mostly answered. Greg Boyd is a loving, humble yet powerful voice in the world of Christian Theology.

Written for a non-specialist but a challenging read. He has an easier to read book that addresses many of the same questions, Is God to Blame?

I highly recommend this book to those who strug
...more
Steve Bedford
Oct 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites

The main thrust behind this book is that idea that creation is in chaos and that God set out to put things back in order. Whether you want to personify this chaos as the devil is touched on, but delved into deeper in Boyd's follow-up, Satan and The Problem of Evil (I believe, haven't gotten around to reading it yet). Boyd walks us through the Old Testament's warrior God imagery, a war which culminates at Calvary. Well argued and accessible, even though it is a scholarly work.
Tyler
Feb 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A strong, thoroughly biblical account of God's war against the evil in this world. To those of us living in the 21st century, it is incomprehensible that the intellectual problem of evil is not present in the Bible. Boyd has demonstrated that when we adopt scripture's warfare perspective, the problem will disappear for us as well.
Travis
There is no other perspective upon the bible that makes it complete. All other perspectives are full of leaks, holes and misinformation. Which is not a descredit as much as "they are missing this piece" type of critique. After reading this, if you have had questions about "what does it all really mean," you won't anymore.
Kathy Hoopmann
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's taken me months to read God at War because I check every text and cross check what Boyd is saying compared to other authors on the topic (Oh and I need check the dictionary from time to time too!) So it's not a light read, but it has been worth every hour. It has opened my eyes to many things, and raised questions that I have never thought of before. A thought provoking and excellent book.
Andrew
Thrilling. Sobering. Thought-provoking. It was a wonderful thorough journey through a relatively unpopular worldview that affirmed and reconstructed how I viewed God, the cosmos, spiritual beings, and humanity. Even if you ultimately reject every significant notion proposed in this book, it is worth reading as to examine and test why you believe what you do.
William Belgie
This book is a challenging thought provoking perspective of the mission and mindset of the church. War is serious business and too often the get so busy doing the logistics of warfare we fail to engage the enemy.
Jesse Nelms
Mar 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book - first chapter is obviously controversial - but beating that the information about the world view and paradigm of Jesus and his audience opened my eyes to a much deeper understanding of His teachings and the "warfare" motif inherent in the synoptic Gospels.
Mark
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good thesis and points, the writing style was caught between scholarly and lay, which the author is shooting for. I would of liked one focus over somewhere imbetween, but still good a very helpful read.
Lisa Greer
Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you've given up on Calvinism or run into too many people who have endured terrible suffering only to be told that "God caused it," read any of Greg's books. Seriously. He's my favorite Internet pastor and theologian.
Ian
Oct 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: popular-theology
Challenging and controversial Greg Boyd develops his ideas on Open Theism. His compelling argument is a brilliantly educative read on our role in this world. A world which is at war in a battle which is already won by God, though requires our active participation. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Mark
Jul 22, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
eye-opening. a biblical critique of the faulty thinking that is usually labeled Calvinism.
Very very heavy and a tedious read.
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Gregory A. Boyd is the founder and senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minn., and founder and president of ReKnew. He was a professor of theology at Bethel College (St. Paul, Minn.) for sixteen years where he continues to serve as an Adjunct Professor.

Greg is a graduate of the University of Minnesota (BA), Yale Divinity School (M.Div), and Princeton Theological Seminary (PhD). Gre
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“This is our part in spiritual war. We proclaim Christ's truth by praying it, speaking it and (undoubtedly most importantly) by demonstrating it. We are not to accept with sere pious resignation the evil aspects of our world as "coming from a father's hand." Rather, following the example of our Lord and Savior, and going forth with the confidence that he has in principle already defeated his (and our) foes, we are to revolt against the evil aspects of our world as coming from the devil's hand. Our revolt is to be broad--as broad as the evil we seek to confront, and as broad as the work of the cross we seek to proclaim. Wherever there is destruction, hated, apathy, injustice, pain or hopelessness, whether it concerns God's creation, a structural feature of society, or the physical, psychological or spiritual aspect of an individual, we are in word and deed to proclaim to the evil powers that be, "You are defeated." As Jesus did, we proclaim this by demonstrating it. ” 11 likes
“Jesus expressed intense anger toward those who where immoral, such as the self-righteous Pharisees, but he never suggested that they were demonized. Toward the demonized, however, he never expressed anger; rather he exhibited only compassion. As Langton notes, "Pity rather than anger characterizes the attitude of Jesus toward the possessed...He treats them as if they were the victims of an involuntary possession." Indeed, he treats them as though they are casualties of war. For, in his view, this is precisely what they are.” 8 likes
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