Redeeming Reason: A God-Centered Approach – Vern Poythress

Vern S. Poythress, Redeeming Reason: A God-Centered Approach (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2023), 181 pp.

Vern S. Poythress never disappoints. His writing has encouraged the hearts and illumined the minds of God’s people for many years now. Dr. Poythress continues down the same path with his new work, Redeeming Reason: A God-Centered Approach.

Poythress argues that sinful creatures need renewed minds and must draw knowledge from the source of knowledge, which is in God. The stated goal of the book, then, is “to explore how human reasoning depends on God.” Depending on God for knowledge involves staying in the confines that he has created and ordained.

Truth is derived via God who exists from all eternity as triune. The author asks, “Can we see expressions of the truth of the Trinity by looking at how God displays himself in the world? And would the truth of the Trinity also be reflected in the nature of human reasoning?”

Poythress pays homage to John Frame as he utilizes Dr. Frame’s well-known perspectivalism. This theological paradigm views the Christian life through three lenses – the situational perspective, the normative perspective, and the existential perspective. This threefold distinction is expressed in God’s lordship in the way he deals with the world – the aspects of authority, control, and presence, respectively.

The author presses further by noting the rationality of the Triune God. He writes, “God is rational. So God the Father is rational. The Son is rational. And the Holy Spirit is rational. yet there are not three rationalities but one.” In short, the Triune God expresses rationality in his very being.

Human rationality draws from the river of knowledge, which is found in God. God utilizes the laws of logic, which are a reflection of his character. Or as Poythress observes, “they reflect his love for himself. The Father loves the Son. He will never deviate from that love. That love is love for the Logos, who also expresses the rationality of God.”

In the end, we find the reality of the Trinity at the very heart of the book. “All human knowledge,” writes Poythress is analogical.” He continues, “Our thinking imitates and reflects God’s thoughts.” We are able to know because God gives us knowledge which causes us to respond in unhindered praise for the greatness of his worth.”

Redeeming Reason exposes the folly of man-centered philosophy but the main thrust is positive and directs readers to know God and to use reason in God-centered ways.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

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