What happens when God is not in His rightful place in my life? The underlying theme in Philip Carlson’s book Love Written in Stone is to show that God has a purpose in every law He provided. He desires to protect our relationships with Him and each other as well as protecting ourselves and preventing damage.
The purpose of the book is to evaluate aspects of the best possible life using scientific discoveries to show God’s kindness in giving us instructions by which to live. He explains the reason for addictions, loneliness, isolation, and guilt, and cites scientific evidence (for the not-too-scientifically minded) to demonstrate that God’s ways and obedience to Him are the most healthy and happy way to live. The book divides God’s instructions into four categories: our relationship with Him, our relationships with others (sexuality, commitment, sense of belonging, parenting), caring for ourselves (wellness, effects of sin, importance of rest), and our relationship to creation.
The author presents a fresh definition for me of the word “sin.” Sin is “any departure from life as God intends it” and is “plunging over the guard rail God has erected to keep us from falling into great peril physically, emotionally, and spiritually.” When we follow God’s commands, we are pushed out of an ego-centric life into loving others sacrificially and into things that really matter.
Overall, this book was easy to read. The book didn’t feel much like a scientific approach, likely because the author presumed his audience did not consist of scientists. The non-scientist does not need be intimidated by the ‘science’ of this book because it is not bogged down with citations, theories, data, or analyses.
When I selected this book to read, I thought it would answer my questions on which of God’s laws are applicable to me today and the meaning behind the strange and obscure commands; however, these issues were not addressed. I found mixed messages throughout the book, and at one point I was given the understanding that obeying God’s ways would lead to a happy and safe life, only to discover in later chapters that the author means the “best possible life”, even though discipleship is actually costly and the road is not easy. Despite my confusion, presuppositions, and differing opinion on occasion, I found this book a delight to read.
The epilogue was my favorite chapter that wrapped up the entire message of the book. Our purpose is to glorify God, become what He created us to be, and to engage in kingdom-building activity. We find the greatest contentment, fullness, and joy when we know that we are doing what we were created to do. Ultimately, the reader will see that God’s commands are not just means of God controlling us or keeping us from having fun, but ways He guides us to the best life and to see ourselves how God sees us.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for a book review.