Eyes to See, Tim Muehlhoff (Foreword by J. P. Moreland). Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2021.
Summary: An exploration of how God acts in the ordinary elements of everyday life, the idea of common grace, and how we may be encouraged as we recognize these ways of God at work.
When we think of the idea of God at work, we often look for the extraordinary, and we may wonder why we do not see more of that. Tim Muehlhoff believes in this extraordinary work, but he also wants to help us recognize the ordinary, yet beautiful ways God is at work in everyday life. Classically, this is the idea of common grace, the goodness God pours out on all creation: “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45).
Muehlhoff goes beyond the sun and the rain in exploring God’s everyday goodness. He begins with inventions and the instances when human beings arrived at similar solutions to problems, for example the stethoscope. He considers a number of human inventions, and while not arguing this as a proof for God, proposes that there are many instances of this hidden goodness meeting the needs of the world.
In subsequent chapters he turns to different realms in which we see this goodness. In science, we understand the incredible fine-tuning of the universe and our particular location on earth that makes life possible, and also the wonderful breakthroughs to sustain life, such as the accidental discovery of penicillin and the developments of antibiotics and vaccines to complement our amazing immune systems. He calls our attention to the power of art to help us recognize both providence and fallenness in our world when we are otherwise oblivious to it. He weighs the power of words and communication not only to hurt but to heal and illumine with quotes from Hinduism, Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius, Luther Standing Bear, and even atheist Sam Harris. He does not shrink from addressing the horror of war and even discusses Israel’s war against the Canaanites, drawing on the work of Paul Copan. He observes strong tradition of just war, the Geneva Conventions, and the beginnings of the Red Cross. Amid evil, goodness remains and eventually triumphs.
Throughout the book, he addresses objections and comes back to this in the final chapter, preceding his epilogue. He addresses:
- Is everything common grace?
- How can we know for sure?
- Why doesn’t God act sooner?
- Does common grace limit God’s activity?
Muehlhoff offers a discussion that is concise, carefully reasoned and illustrated with numerous examples from contemporary culture. He concludes the book with the hope that knowing God’s abundant work in everyday life will cause us to “see the world with wonder as we encounter good gifts daily” and fill our mouths with telling the deeds of this God.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.