An Alternative View

Pro-existence, by Udo Middelmann (InterVarsity, 1974, 126 pp., $1.95 pb), is reviewed by Michael H. Macdonald, associate professor of German and philosophy, Seattle Pacific College, Seattle, Washington.

Udo Middelmann here applies biblical precepts to a discussion of the value of work and creativity, pointing to their ultimate significance as part of God’s original purpose for man. His plea is that a job be made to conform to our God-given uniqueness, for each is called to do a unique task well. The book will be of particular interest for those having or dealing with identity-related problems.

Addressing himself to the accumulation of wealth and property, Middelmann stresses that the Bible does not teach pride in poverty. He gives several clear implicit warnings concerning the dangers of rampant socialism; for example, that “community requires that there be something to share.” The aim is for a balanced biblical justice, allowing for equal worth among individuals, yet also “inegality of property and creativity.”

One might trace the origin of modern thinking back to several periods. In Escape From Reason Francis Schaeffer begins with Thomas Aquinas and his division of reality into the higher level of “grace” and the lower of “nature.” In The God Who Is There Schaeffer traces the “present chasm between the generations” to a change in the perception of truth, i.e., Hegel’s emphasis on synthesis instead of the previously accentuated antithesis. Middelmann traces modern philosophical folly to the emphasis on man’s autonomy and freedom from all restriction; man has thus lost the concept of objective truth. Since man is not the measure of all things, immediate experience alone (including reason) cannot be made the ...

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