This classic exploration of human history vis-à-vis its link to Christianity ponders the question: What makes human beings uniquely human? In this thoughtful response to the rampant social Darwinism of the early twentieth century, G. K. Chesterton explains how religion — a blend of philosophy and mythology — satisfies both the human intellect and the spirit, and sets man starkly apart from any other living creature.
Written in 1925, this enduring polemic still strikes a modern chord. Addressing evolution, feminism, and cultural relativism within the context of religion, the book also examines religious skepticism. How does one sustain belief in Jesus Christ — and the Church — when, throughout history, the key to religious truth has been constantly reshaped? According to Chesterton, the shape of the key is not important. What matters is that it fits the lock and opens the door. An emphatic affirmation of Christian faith, The Everlasting Man is leavened with the author's characteristic wit and wisdom, and appeals to the mind as well as the heart.
What, if anything, is it that makes the human uniquely human? This, in part, is the question that G.K. Chesterton starts with in this classic exploration of human history. Responding to the evolutionary materialism of his contemporary (and antagonist) H.G. Wells, Chesterton in this work affirms human uniqueness and the unique message of the Christian faith. Writing in a time when social Darwinism was rampant, Chesterton instead argued that the idea that society has been steadily progressing from a state of primitivism and barbarity towards civilization is simply and flatly inaccurate. "Barbarism and civilization were not successive stages in the progress of the world," he affirms, with arguments drawn from the histories of both Egypt and Babylon.
As always with Chesterton, there is in this analysis something (as he said of Blake) "very plain and emphatic." He sees in Christianity a rare blending of philosophy and mythology, or reason and story, which satisfies both the mind and the heart. On both levels it rings true. As he puts it, "in answer to the historical query of why it was accepted, and is accepted, I answer for millions of others in my reply; because it fits the lock; because it is like life." Here, as so often in Chesterton, we sense a lived, awakened faith. All that he writes derives from a keen intellect guided by the heart's own knowledge. --Doug Thorpe