Tim Keller explains his use of the somewhat arresting title The Prodigal God for his forthcoming book. Use of the word “prodigal” as a descriptor of God has caused some controversy (for example, see the comments below this post). Keller sums up the question:
The word ‘prodigal’ is an English word that means recklessly extravagant, spending to the point of poverty, of ‘being in want’ (Luke 15:14.) The dictionaries tell us that the word can be understood in a more negative or a more positive sense. The more positive meaning is to be lavishly and sacrificially abundant in giving. The more negative sense, is to be wasteful and irresponsible in one’s spending. The negative sense obviously applies to the actions of the younger brother in the Luke 15 parable of the two sons. But is there any sense in which God can be called ‘Prodigal’?
Read Keller’s response.