I was recently asked what ten books I considered "must reading" for Christians. One of the books on that list is Engaging God's World by Calvin Theological Seminary President, Cornelius Plantinga. Even though I don't agree with everything Plantinga says, I highly recommend it nonetheless.
Here are a few lines from the book that, I hope, will prompt you to get a copy and read it:
- All has been created good, including the full range of human cultures that emerge when humans act according to God's design. But all has been corrupted by evil, including, not only culture but also the natural world. So the whole cosmos must be redeemed by Jesus Christ the Lord. What follows is that all of life is sacred: the whole of it stands under the blessing, judgment, and redeeming purposes of God.
- Ultimate beauty comes not from a lover or a landscape or a home, but only through them. These earthly things are solid goods, and we naturally relish them. But they are not our final good. They point to what is higher up and further back.
- The Bible speaks of dominion, not in the sense of conquest, but in the sense of stewardship.
- The real human predicament, as Scripture reveals, is that inexplicably, irrationally, we all keep living our lives against what's good for us.
- Once reformed, a Christian life needs continual reformation. Even our reforms need reforming, and especially when we grow proud of them or despairing of them. And the central rhythm of reform is dying and rising with Christ, practiced over and over till it becomes a way of being.
- Wherever life has been corrupted, it needs to be reformed. Accordingly, a prime citizen of the Kingdom will be a reformed-minded citizen, looking for ways to address some of the deformities in human life and culture.
- ‘Multiply and fill the earth,' God said after the flood. And the earth is now full. The trouble is that it's full of our trash as well as God's treasure. Remarkably, God wants the earth anyhow. God wants it back.
- In a thousand ways, God will gather what's scattered, rebuild what's broken, restore what has been emptied out by centuries of waste and fraud. In a thousand ways, God will put right what's wrong with his glorious creation.
- We have corrupted the earth through folly and sin, but God means to restore all things in the harmony, justice, and delight of shalom. This is a sign to us: On the third day Jesus rose again from the dead, the pledge that one day all things shall be renewed. And God has called people like us to become agents for the restoration project that is already in process.