Christian Living

healthenews 04/17/08

Be 'Expelled' No More: A Book Review for Kicking It Up a Notch

So what does this book on worldview have to do with this new movie, "Expelled," which explores the controversy between evolution and Intelligent Design?

Revolutions in Worldview takes you on a grand tour of what the authors consider the 10 major epochs of Western thought.

Dreadfully boring stuff you may say? Not if you invest some time in understanding that since God created time there have been His ways and man's ways.

The book simply explores how that has played out over the course of history in Western thought.

I would contend that this book illustrates the eternal truths of Scripture. In doing that, I'd also suggest that there is great relevance to our own age - and an excellent illustration of the ancient dictum, "There is nothing new under the sun."

This brings us to the connection between worldview and "Expelled." Evolution is one of those elements that is indeed nothing new under the sun.

I am talking about evolution in the sense of "macroevolution." Macroevolution is the schematic that says atoms can self-organize over time to become mankind and everything else.

By contrast "microevolution" merely says that plants and animals can change some within limits. That is, creatures do not have innate characteristics that can create anything radically new as macroevolution claims.

So do you think that this modern idea of "atoms as creators" arose out of the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life in 1859?

Hardly. Underlying Darwin's thinking is the philosophy of atomism. Atomism is actually a philosophical term that goes back to the ancient Greeks who first developed that trend.

Here's an excerpt on this from John Frame, the author of the Greek chapter in "Revolutions in Worldview":

When Paul visited Athens, he found it "full of idols" -Acts 17:16-. He preached there to an audience that included Epicurean and Stoic philosophers, and concluded by demanding their repentance for the sin of idolatry.

Although Epicureans and Stoics had little use for traditional Greek god, Paul evidently believed that Stoic materialistic pantheism and Epicurean atomism were no better than the worship of Zeus and Apollo. The world is not governed by impersonal fate (Stoicism) or impersonal -occasionally random- movements of atoms (Epicurus) but by a personal God who "has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead (Acts 17:31).

When Paul said this, some mocked, some withheld judgment, and a few believed."

This is so relevant to our lives today as we deal with atomists, pantheists, and stoics of our day.

Atomists are the evolutionists who base their lives on physical reality alone.Pantheists are the New Agers or cosmic humanists. Stoics come in many varieties - even finding some kinship with Muslims.

To all of them, Paul points out their error and moves directly to the hope offered in Christ. Equally, as Frame notes, there are a variety of responses just as in our day.

There is so much more in this book that I hardly know where to start. Well, besides looking at Greek thought, the various authors give readers insights into those other epochs that mark revolutions in Western thought: Hebrew, New Testament, Early Church Fathers through Charlemagne, Medieval, Renaissance, Reformation, Enlightenment, 19th Century, and 20th Century.

Some of you may be wondering if this tome is just way over your heads. Yes, this book is academically oriented.

However, if you grab a good dictionary and sit down with some patience, you will find a treasure. Plus the book does have a glossary. At the end of each chapter, there are also books for further reading and questions for further discussion.

In sum, I'd recommend it for parents, juniors and seniors in high school, college graduates who feel they've had insufficient exposure to sound Christian thought, and anyone who wants to understand how we got where we are.

If you find it tough slogging, remember how to eat an elephant - one bite at a time.

So whether you're just trying to get that wider perspective on creation and Intelligent Design vs. Evolution or you just seek to think more biblically, this is a book to get.

Michael Payne in his chapter, "Philosophy Among the Ruins: The Twentieth Century and Beyond," so well summarizes:

"The story Christians need to tell is the one that makes all others intelligible. The gospel is not one story among many. The Christian worldview is not one option among a plethora of options, each of which will satisfy the human need for clarity and truth. The Christian worldview is true. As such, it makes the world intelligible and reveals the many half-truths in the aberrant worldviews with which it competes."

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