I finished reading The Shack a couple of days ago. I needed that time to think through my response. It certainly isn’t a novel that can be cast aside lightly.
William Young told a powerful story. It certainly cuts to the heart of any parent. Beyond the emotional response, Young artfully challenged a systematized view of God that seems prevalent in modern Western Christianity. He forced the reader to consider a God that is beyond mere dogma. In its place Young presented a Christianity stripped of hollow ritual and introduced a relationship with the Divine.
If I have one criticism, although minor, it’s that the God as represented in the novel is also a limited perspective. While it does rightly reflect the spirit of the divine/human relationship, God’s character is limited. There is a diminished sense of God’s terrible holiness. The truth that God is wholely other. I mention that it is a minor criticism because in a metaphor such as this, the emphasis is on redemption and God’s immanence. It would be incongruous to articulate God’s transcendence when presenting such a theodicy.
When Jesus approached the tomb of Lazarus he saw the people mourning the loss of their brother and friend. Overcome with emotion, Jesus wept. Young reminds us that God still weeps.