The Advancement is a book written by L.Russ Bush who was a dean and a professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His book the advancement takes a dimension of an apologetic approach to naturalism. The term advancement as used by Bush explains philosophical revolution for it portrays novelty to modernism. To him the name modern was not new enough for it tended to be provoking staleness instead of revolving and advancing (Bush, 2003).
The book is divided into eight solid chapters with their unique titles. In his book he discusses the way people view God in the contemporary world and how he was viewed in the olden days. It also discusses the nature, history and mankind. He also looks at the development of the modern science as he focuses on the rise of uniformitarian thought in evolution. To be precise in page 34 he argues that the human body is much related to nature and it resembles in many respects those of animals. This is very different from how Christians view their bodies. For example, people claim to have a soul while as the animals do not have any.
According to Sigmund Freud the religion bases its argument to wishful illusion and not the reality. He also points to the advancement and the Theory of knowledge where he fully concentrates on the outcomes with the absence of God and how science affects our understanding of God and nature. It is true that the Bible augments on the idea that we were created in the image and likeness so God. Nevertheless, it is in the naturalistic biology evolution that we find out the explanation stating that many living things are a set of natural variations of organic matter. Therefore, there is a reality that each life-form including ours may have arisen from this underlying reality (Bush 2003,pg 38). Bush states that it is nature (physical reality) is the only reality that exists.
In addition, Bush discusses the notion of blending the Christian faith and the concept of the naturalistic worldview. Most Christian’s thinks that the scripture has no error and it was dictated by God. This God is life, true, omnipresent, all-knowing and almighty. On the other hand, due to their open theist they claim that God has the entire above qualities but he too sins. In his book page 63, Bush points out to one of the Christians argument that God seems to be unaware of the future infallibly for he has no knowledge of the free acts of moral agents. This tends to imply that a person has a free will which can alter Gods destiny in a person’s life and future events. Bush also explains in page 83 that the naturalistic evolution and discuses what it is and what it is not. He claims that just by a prove that naturalism is false cannot be said to be enough and cannot prove that theism is true (Bush, 2003).Nevertheless, evidence that exists against naturalism partially points to the evidence of theism.
In the 3 last chapters he continues to argue about naturalism and theism. He terms theism as a worldviews which must interpret scientific data and the spiritual data. Bush states that it is only love that is common word mostly used for the secular word and this is what those who have a Christian faith believe about God. God himself is love this can be found in 1 John 4: 8. Bush has a great conviction that Advancement thinking has a different dimension to the biblical thought patterns. The modern view uses the available facts and it self-defeating and relativistic. Hence, in page 94 he concludes that advancement thinking must be abandoned (Bush, 2003).
The book is very well written and it is so simple for even a poor reader to follow though he sometimes used very harsh terms that requires a person to reflect before making his/her own conclusions. For example, in page 34 he argues that the human body is much related to nature and it resembles in many respects those of animals. This is very different of how we I included perceive ourselves, in actual fact we are created in the image and likeness of God and so it is not easy to comprehend the idea of our body being related to those so animals. Bush does not take the scientific view of evolution rather he is bending towards philosophy. This in itself is somehow confusing as well as informing for it not only brings out other views that even atheist can relate to but also brings out the whole idea of human thinking.
For example, in page 83 he clearly states that “Proving naturalism false is not enough by itself to prove theism true, but the evidence against naturalism is at least partially the evidence that points to theism…A worldview such as theism must effectively interpret scientific data as well as spiritual experiences if it is to be considered as true by the very minds given to men by the God of whom theism speaks” ( Bush, 2003, page 83).this statement in itself is very rich for it fits in all categories of human kind who may tend to prove naturalism as false. His writing too is very strict and it takes a Calvinist approach, (Holton,1998).nevertheless, he uses tables and illustrations that are very helpful to understand his term advancement and the reason as to why he used it and it help in explaining the terms such as naturalistic and evolution. His book the advancement takes a dimension of an apologetic approach to naturalism (Harvard, 2008).In my own opinion, this seems to be rather biased for in his philosophical approach it is not easy to know where he stands in relation to theism and naturalism, however, he so much inclines in favor of naturalism for he even claims that proving it false cannot make theism true.
To conclude, this book is very well written and it is very essential especially for those people who have different mindset. But I cannot recommend it to those with little faith and more especially because of the place where Bush states that due to their open theist they claim that God has the entire above qualities but he too sins. In his book page 63, Bush points out to one of the Christians argument that God seems to be unaware of the future infallibly for he has no knowledge of the free acts of moral agents. This tends to imply that a person has a free will which can alter Gods destiny in a person’s life and future events. However, having strong faith does not imply that a person cannot be overwhelmed by Bush’s argument.