Book Review: 3 Theories of Everything by Ellis Potter

3 TheoriesReviewed by Jonathan Tame

Former Buddhist monk and jazz musician Ellis Potter seeks to explain three major worldviews today in his masterfully concise book, ‘3 Theories of Everything’.

His life was dramatically turned around through meeting Francis Schaeffer, and he ended up working at L’Abri in Switzerland for 15 years.  Now a lecturer, counsellor and pastor, Ellis helps young people explore the deeper questions of life, suffering and hope across Europe and the former communist world.

The three theories are monism, dualism and trinitarianism, and Ellis explores how each accounts for what has gone wrong in the world and how it can be put right.  The first big idea is that everything is ultimately One – either spiritually or materially – and individuality and suffering are illusions we have to escape from by accepting we are One.  Dualism explains the world’s problems in terms of imbalance between the fundamental opposites that lie behind everything (such as good and evil, male and female, light and darkness).  Salvation comes by restoring the balance.

The last theory of everything is trinitarianism, a restating of the biblical worldview.  It understands there is unity and diversity in the Trinity, so suffering cannot be blamed on a lack of Oneness.  Nor is it due to a lack of balance between opposites, for trinitarianism sees reality in terms of both/and rather than either/or.  Both sovereignty and free will, both son of God and son of man, and so on.

According to the third theory, ultimate reality is relational, because relationship preceded creation.  The cause of suffering is broken relationships, which was healed when the unity of the Trinity was broken, God emptied himself to become man, and through Jesus’ death reconciled all things.

Ellis devotes the last part to 45 questions that he has received when lecturing about the 3 theories.  The tone of the whole book is gracious, gentle and wise – indeed Ellis shows immense respect and courtesy towards other people and their views, while drawing them to his own conviction that the third theory is actually reality, and the only one which can ultimately bring hope and purpose and life.

I cannot recommend this beautiful, engaging book highly enough, to help you understand other worldviews and share your faith with those who hold them.

Share this post on your network

Tags: , , , , ,

Category: News and Reviews

March, 2014

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.