The Most Real Being: A Biblical and Philosophical Defense of Divine Determinism
by John A. “Jack” Crabtree
In 2004, Jack Crabtree published a book entitled The Most Real Being: A Biblical and Philosophical Defense of Divine Determinism. In that book he advanced the perspective that God is the ultimate cause of literally every aspect of everything that exists and of everything that occurs—a perspective he called “divine determinism.” We believe it is an important book. Anyone who is serious about understanding the God of the Bible must—one way or the other—come to terms with the position advanced in his book.
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Is this book worth getting? Here is how Jack himself responded to the question: “Should everyone read your book?”
That is very difficult to answer. On the one hand, The Most Real Being is not a good book; that is, it is not a “good read.” It is difficult, and probably tedious at times. It is more like reading a textbook than anything else. But it is not written to be enjoyable to read. It is written to be as clear and thorough as possible. So, while it is not “well-written,” I hope it is well-argued. And, while it is not a “good” book, I think it is an extremely important book.
The Most Real Being advocates for a revolution in the way we understand the relationship between God and the reality we inhabit. The revolution in my thinking that led to (and was worked out during) the writing of The Most Real Being has affected everything I know, understand, and believe from the Bible. My understanding of what the Bible teaches has been completely transformed by this new and different understanding of who God is.
I was not the least bit open to divine determinism (the position I defended in my book) until my attempts to understand the message and worldview of the Bible forced me to finally consider it as an option. Once forced to consider it, I became intent on convincing myself—one way or the other—whether divine determinism was reasonable or unreasonable, whether it was biblical or unbiblical, whether it was true or false. In the end, I became convinced that it was reasonable, biblical, and true. But it was utterly revolutionary. It involved an entirely different paradigm for understanding who God is and the exact nature of his relationship to created reality. He is not the God that Christians have always taken him to be. And his relationship to reality is not what Christians have always assumed. It took me several years working within the new paradigm before I was comfortable with it. It was so very different, so very unfamiliar. Since publishing The Most Real Being, I have continued to discover how far-reaching the implications of this new paradigm really are. It affects everything that theology explores.
If the view of God that I advance in my book is right, then all of Christian theology—in every nook and cranny of every tradition—is off kilter, because Christian theology, traditionally and typically, is set on the wrong foundation. It believes in and studies the wrong God. It is pursuing a God of its own creation, not the God of the Bible. Obviously this is very important. For, if I am right, traditional Christianity has many things wrong and is desperately in need of repair.
When I first published The Most Real Being, most Christians were not ready to consider the possibility that I might be right. The required paradigm shift was too extreme for them to even consider. Things have changed in the ensuing years. I have heard other voices beginning to entertain perspectives closer to the one I advocated in my book. Perhaps, today, Christians are becoming more open and receptive to rethinking exactly who God is.