The early chapters of Genesis are among my favorite passages of Scripture. I consider them imperative for an understanding of who God is and what is his plan for humankind and his creation in general. I probably reference those early chapters in some way in nearly all my own books. I have been studying them for years. Yet when Judy and I discussed various portions of his manuscript with Robin, and later proofread the whole, I was astonished at a number of insights that offered windows into early Genesis I had never seen. Robin’s book opened new vistas in my thinking.
But Robin’s book is not just about Genesis. It’s about God’s involvement in all aspects of the physical world, from our material bodies to technology to art and culture. Some of the themes Robin takes up include the importance of self-care, the sanctification of work, and the need to be loving stewards of the environment. All these and other questions are explored from the standpoint of God’s overarching purposes for the cosmos, and the promise of a new heavens and a new earth.
A key background to Robin’s thought about this has been George MacDonald’s writings, which are suffused with wonderful insights and perspectives about the natural world. Robin’s book dovetails exquisitely with that MacDonald-tradition of love for nature, which he puts in dialogue with numerous other thinkers, especially those of the Eastern Orthodox tradition.
Robin is a thinker, an academic and intellectual. I admit that portions of Rediscovering the Goodness of Creation are challenging. Robin’s analysis, which he approaches from an Eastern Orthodox perspective, leaves no stone unturned. When he tackles a subject, he digs deep! But those willing to take this journey into the heart of God’s purposes for creation will find this a mind-expanding and eye-opening adventure. It was for me.
- Michael Phillips