What do I think of John Frame’s book published by Lexham Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I really have a hard time reading some books that are heavily Calvinistic. I have friends that are very much Calvinist and we get along just fine, but overall, I find presuppositional thinking to be an epistemological train wreck. Still, I was sent the book by Frame and decided to give it a shot.
The book aims to answer seven questions ultimately. What is everything made of? Do I have free will? Can I know the world? Does God exist? How shall I live? What are my rights? How can I be saved? The last question I think should be seen as a question of more theology than of philosophy.
The advantage is that the book is written for a layman and there can be some good history in there such as learning about pre-Socratics like Thales and Anaximander and others. Aristotle will be mentioned and sometimes some moderns, but beyond that, not many others. I don’t remember Aquinas and Augustine being mentioned, for instance.
The questions are unfortunately all answered from a presuppositional position. If you do not hold to that position and do not find it persuasive, which is true of me definitely, then you will not be persuaded and if anything will just be frustrated. No Christian philosopher would say the text of the Scripture is not data, but let’s not just do Bible study and call it philosophy.
Most troubling though to me is the dealing of the problem of evil. Frame does agree that in some way God is the cause of evil. Why? Who knows, but it will work out for His glory. I do not doubt that all evil will work for God’s glory, but I also do not doubt that God is not the cause of it. God is not the cause of an innocent woman being raped or a child being aborted in the womb or of a family living in poverty.
On the section on the existence of God, I sadly saw no arguments for the existence of God. This could be a good thing because if it would have been anything like my reading of Greg Bahnsen’s Van Til’s Apologetic, I would have been more frustrated as Bahnsen treated Aquinas’s five ways in a way even worse than Dawkins did. I didn’t think that was possible until I read it, but it happened.
In the back is an appendix where Frame answers questions that have been sent to him on topics related to the book. The problem is sometimes you can read an answer and you’re not even clear on what the question is. None of the questions were also from people who were critical of Frame’s approach. If Frame is sure of his approach, I would have liked to have seen how he would have handled a question from a real critic.
Those wanting to learn philosophy have better sources I think available. Even though I disagree with Nash’s rationalism, his Life’s Ultimate Questions would be a good read. You can’t go wrong with Peter Kreeft’s Socratic Logic or his Philosophy 101. I don’t care for his work, but even Norman Geisler’s introduction to philosophy would be prepared.
Not all Calvinists are presuppositionalists, but if you are one, you’ll probably love this. Those of us on the outside just aren’t convinced.