Pete Enns & The Bible for Normal People

Interview with Tom Oord: The Uncontrolling Love of God

In this episode of The Bible for Normal People Podcast, Pete and Jared talk with Tom Oord about the things God can and cannot do and how that affects our view of the Bible and salvation as they explore the following questions:

  • Why did monotheism create the problem of evil?
  • Why does the problem of evil matter?
  • Can God be all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving at the same time?
  • Are there genuine evils in the world or is suffering and pain part of God’s mysterious plan?
  • Does the Bible have a consistent theology on God’s character?
  • What discoveries did Tom Oord make when he looked at what the Bible said about God’s power?
  • Are words like “revelation” and “inspiration” helpful for talking about the Bible?
  • How do the ways we view God impact the way we read the Bible?
  • Can God communicate to humans in an infallible way?
  • What do we lose if we come to think God does not have control?
  • How does our concept of love get shaped by the concept of justice?
  • Why did Jesus die?
  • What is kenosis


Pithy, shareable, less-than-280-character statements from Tom Oord you can share. 

  • “Since I think love is inherently uncontrolling, this revelation and inspiration [of the Bible] can’t be controlling.” @ThomasJayOord
  • “God really needs our cooperation if love is to win. God really needs our cooperation to overcome evil. ” @ThomasJayOord
  • “God doesn’t need us for God to exist… but in order for God to get the kind of outcomes, consequences, results that God wants and given that those results are always framed in terms of love, God really needs our loving cooperation.” @ThomasJayOord
  • “I go so far as to say God simply couldn’t have given a clear message because to do so God would have to control the message and the messengers and I don’t think God can control.” @ThomasJayOord
  • “We as individuals and in society are consistently learning what love requires given where we are at in our time.” @ThomasJayOord
  • “What is loving is partly contingent on the context and who’s involved, you know? Maybe it is the case in some contexts that acting in some ways is loving but other ways is not.” @ThomasJayOord
  • “If God can’t deny God’s own self, and God is love, God must love. And maybe this love is self-giving, others-empowering, uncontrolling. That might then become a clue on how we might rethink God’s power in light of God’s love.” @ThomasJayOord
  • “I still think God’s powerful, I just don’t think that God has the kind of controlling or single-handed determination that many people have thought God has.” @ThomasJayOord

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