Ryan's Reviews > Engaging God's World: A Christian Vision of Faith, Learning, and Living

Engaging God's World by Cornelius Plantinga Jr.
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Jun 11, 12

bookshelves: non-fiction, religion-theology, family-relationship, education, own
Read from December 26, 2011 to June 11, 2012

** spoiler alert ** My summary and notes from the book:
Three acts of the world's drama: creation, fall, redemption. ***

Ch2 - Creation - Scripture tells us who created the wonders of the world and why. Study of these wonders tells us how God did his wonders, and when. Some people believe that the world drama is only about humans, but Plantinga argues that the Bible makes clear "the earth is the Lord's nd all that is in it." psalm 24:1. Also, in Genesis 9, God makes a convenant with Noah and every living creature. The initial command for us to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth is taken as God's command for us to work creating culture, etc. Part of this command also asks us to be image bearers of God, and this includes subduing the earth, but also filling it with God-pleasing cultural activity. Reformed Christians think a lot about the implications of the original creation. For example, they argue that the original goodness of creation implies that all of it, including any human being we meet, is potentially redeemable. Being created in the image of God also means that we must balance our individual and corporate identities. Creation also tells us our place in relation to God and the rest of creation. We are not God, but we do bear His image. ***

Ch3 - fall - If the falleness of creation extends everywhere, then it also extends into our thinking processes themselves (thus we have distorted reasoning with God's help). ***

Ch4 - redemption - Reformed Christians take a very big view of falleness. They argue that God doesn't just want to save souls, but to save bodies too. God wants to save social systems and economic structures. Calvinists want to reform the entire world using Scripture and relying on the Holy Spirit to determine what is the right way to reform things. ***

Ch5 Vocation in the Kingdom of God - God wants us to be a "prime" citizen of the kingdom and yearn passionately for the kingdom of God to come. Your college education is not just job training, but training to help you become a "prime" citizen. God can accomplish His purposes in the context of secular education, but it is more difficult because you cannot have conversations that include meta-narratives regarding humans being created in the image of God. Plantinga argues that it is very difficult for the committed Christian to thrive and learn how to serve in God's kingdom in a secular school of higher education. He also warns against going to a Christian school in order to prevent your beliefs from being tested. Each Christian must go through the hard work of thinking through his or her beliefs no matter where they are.
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