Book Review: ‘Life in the Wild’

by Sarah Pennington

Of all the major questions which plague mankind, the greatest is certainly “Why is the world such a mess?” Christians and non-Christians alike must wrestle with this topic every time they lose a loved one, suffer heartbreak in a relationship, or see a report of global catastrophe on the news. And while most Christians can vaguely say that sin is the cause of tragedies great and small, many are unable to expound any further than that.

In “Life in the Wild,” Cedarville University associate professor Dr. Dan DeWitt tackles the issue of what is wrong with the world from a biblical perspective, providing satisfying answers one of life’s most difficult questions.

Though a small book—only a hundred-odd pages— “Life in the Wild” does not shy away from showing the world as it is in order to explain why it is that way. The book begins and ends with the problem of death, spiritual and physical. In between, DeWitt discusses a wide host of problems that plague mankind: temptation, pain, gender roles and conflict, environmental issues and more. Yet, although “Life in the Wild” is honest about the darkness in this world, it is not a depressing book because DeWitt constantly reminds his readers that there’s still hope.

That hope comes from the foundation of “Life in the Wild”: Scripture. While the book does open and close with death, life and the message of salvation are also presented in these chapters and permeates the text in between. DeWitt frames his message with the text of Genesis 3, opening each chapter with a verse that demonstrates his point. Within each chapter, he continues to point readers back towards God’s Word, even telling them at points to put his book down and go read a particular passage before continuing. He never asks his readers to take his word for what he says; instead, he encourages them to go study and learn for themselves the truths he expresses.

Yet, for all that, “Life in the Wild” is a highly readable book. It is short enough to be read in two hours or less, and the language is easy to understand without insulting the reader’s intelligence. DeWitt also uses personal stories and references to everything from “Paradise Lost” to “A Christmas Carol” to “Star Wars” (along with some C.S. Lewis, naturally,) to effectively illustrate his points.

Pastor and visiting professor Sam Alberry, during an Apologetics Center interview, compared “Into the Wild” to a “bedtime book,” not because it puts you to sleep but because it is a surprisingly relaxing read.

In conclusion, “Life in the Wild” provides readers with a satisfying, biblically sound answer to one of life’s toughest questions: the question of why the world contains so much pain. Readers will appreciate DeWitt’s realistic look at our fallen world, his constant reliance on God’s Word to make his points, and the fact that they do not have to be expert theologians in order to understand his message.

DeWitt is currently working on several new books for both adults and children. “The Friend Who Forgives: A True Story About Peter and the Friend Who Forgave Him” is a children’s book expected to release in October 2018, and “Sunny Side Up: The Breakfast Conversation That Could Change Your Life” an adult worldview book releasing in February 2019. DeWitt is also working on the third book in his “Owlings” series of children’s fantasy worldview novellas.

Sarah Pennington is a sophomore Professional Writing and Information Design major and an Arts and Entertainment reporter for Cedars. She loves chai tea and dragons and is perpetually either reading or writing a book.

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