[Book Review] The Riddle of Life

The Aquila Report | 10/12/2018 | Staff
Man and his world remain an unsolved riddle, an impenetrable mystery. Yet, we are not to despair. There is, in fact, a clear way forward as J. H. Bavinck demonstrates in his book The Riddle of Life. In a simple, understandable, and persuasive manner, he presses in to answer the big questions that have riddled life: What do we know? Who are we? Why are we here? Where do we come from? What is our destiny? How should we live?

J. H. Bavinck. The Riddle of Life.Translated by Bert Hielema. Grand Rapids, MI. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. 2016. Pp. 94. $20.00.

Man - Life - Riddle - Brief - Notes

For fallen man, life is a riddle that was, and that is, and that will continue to be. A few brief notes on the history of Western thought demonstrate this point. The self-proclaimed autonomous man of the Enlightenment sought to employ either his reason (rationalism) or his sense experience (empiricism) to interpret a supposedly open, un-interpreted universe that included himself. However, unable to ground the law of cause-and-effect or even the most basic notion of a subject-object correspondence, David Hume buried the autonomous man. On his gravestone he wrote: a relativist, a skeptic, an unsolved riddle.

Eventually a shift occurred. After repeatedly arriving at the absurd and irrational as a conclusion, the absurd instead became a self-given, the assumed starting-point. This was particularly the case for consciousness and existentialist thinkers. For example, Albert Camus, in his work The Myth of Sisyphus, assumes from the outset that the life of man is akin to that of Sisyphus who was condemned to ceaselessly rolling a stone to the top of a mountain, which would only roll back down of its own weight. Yet, Sisyphus is not to be pitied, but imagined to be happy. “Sisyphus is the absurd hero,” writes Camus, “He is,...
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"However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8
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