One of those rare books that become more and more pertinent as time goes by, Creation Regained has been in print for almost four decades and translated into eleven languages. It still presents one of the best introductions to an integrated, biblical worldview.
Wolters begins by defining the nature and scope of a worldview, distinguishing it from philosophy and theology. He then outlines three basic chapters in human history (creation, fall, and redemption) – arguing that defining the gospel in narrow and shallow ways discredit the breadth and depth of God’s redemptive plan.
“If Christ is the reconciler of all things, and if we have been entrusted with ‘the ministry of reconciliation’ on his behalf (2 Cor. 5:18), then we have a redemptive task wherever our vocation places us in this world… In the name of Christ, distortion must be opposed everywhere – in the kitchen and the bedroom, in city councils and corporate boardrooms, on the stage and on the air, in the classroom and in the workshop. Everywhere creation calls for the honouring of God’s standards. Everywhere humanity’s sinfulness disrupts and deforms. Everywhere Christ’s victory is pregnant with the defeat of sin and the recovery of creation.”
He thoughtfully explains why the best approach is one that seeks ongoing renewal from within – it does not seek violent overthrow, nor does it reject societal progress. “No matter how dramatic the new life in Jesus may be, it does not seek to tear the fabric of a given historical situation.” He reminds us to avoid both cultural pessimism (seeing only the debilitating effects of sin in society) and cultural optimism (seeing only the positive possibilities of growth and development).
With penetrating insight Wolters distinguishes between the structure and direction implicit in the everyday components of our lives – including family, sexuality, thinking, emotions, and work. Drawing on a wide range of examples, he shows how being able to discern structure and direction enables Christians to engage with complex and conflicting situations in a redemptive way.
In the end, a biblical worldview is not the gospel. Yet an important part of our call to be in the world, but not of the world (Joh. 17) is to faithfully contextualise the gospel for the sake of those around us – so that the power unto salvation can be made known (Rom. 1). In this little book, Albert Wolters does an incredible job of being true to that call.
Review by Lise-Marie Keyser