“Rediscovering the Discarded Image”

by Dr. Paul Gould

The impulse toward reductionism, materialism, scientism, and naturalism dominate the sciences today. The universe is amazing, we are told, yet man is an inconsequential accident. The laws describing the universe are elegant, yet this deep and alluring beauty is all “sound and fury, signifying nothing” but an illusion. This now-dominant lens through which we see and experience the cosmos is a stark contrast to a more ancient, “discarded” way, as C.S. Lewis believed, of seeing and experiencing the universe in which we find ourselves. On this older image, man is the highest created material being in a cosmos pervaded with deep beauty, mystery and divine presence. Everything had its place in a wondrous arrangement imbued throughout with meaning and teleology. In his essay, Dr. Gould picks up where C.S. Lewis left off just before his death, calling for the resacramentalization of the material cosmos, transforming the sound and fury of atheistic materialism into heavenly glory once more by (i) exposing the shortcomings of philosophical underpinning of the now dominant image (or scientific models) of the universe and (ii) providing a Christian ontology of the created order that refocuses our attention toward the long-awaited Eschaton, glory of God in Christ.

Dr. Paul M. Gould teaches philosophy and apologetics at the College of Graduate and Professional Studies at Oklahoma Baptist University. He is also the founder and president of the Two Tasks Institute. He is the editor or author of several books, including Cultural Apologetics (Zondervan, 2019). Paul blogs at paul-gould.com.