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on 4 August 2010
When captured by the evil Frogstar fighters, Zaphod Beeblebrox is faced with a fate worse than death . . . the 'Total Perspective Vortex' gives you "one momentary glimpse of the entire unimaginable infinity of creation", and apparently this realisation of our own infinitesimal insignicance in the face of the vastness of the universe is too much for the human mind to bear.

Wait, don't panic, you're not reading the wrong review. This scene is from Douglas Adam's The Restuarant at the End of the Universe, the second book of his Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy trilogy, but it seemed to me to be particularly apt to sum up what R C Sproul is trying to get across to the reader in this book on the Holiness of God. In the early chapters he cites various biblical examples (the call of Isaiah, Moses at the Burning Bush, Jesus' disciples ) to illustrate the effect on sinful humans when they are confronted with the Holiness of God. In fact, we cannot cope with a complete vision of His Glory - as He tells Moses "no one may see me and live".

In this book "Holiness" means more than just goodness/purity; it encompasses all that is special about God, all that places Him above and beyond us, His "Transcendence" is the word Sproul uses. This is not a concept much talked about in churches today, we are so used to Jesus as our 'friend', and God as our 'Father' that we tend to forget how big a deal that is. However if we can begin to get our head around this notion it helps us to get closer to a right perspective on issues like the seriousness of sin, the Justice of God and the Mercy of God.

This is not a book to appeal to non-believers; if you find the idea of a Creator God disagreeable you will probably find it even harder to accept an all-righteous, all-powerful, Holy God. This book is for those of us who say we believe in the Holiness of God, but have never really thought too deeply about it, or who have a nagging feeling that God owes us an explanation. R C Sproul uses scriptural examples throughout to show how the God of the Bible is so much more than a sort of Santa Claus figure in the sky.

However, I would disagree with the author on a couple of minor points. For me the start was off-putting in that Sproul relates a powerful spiritual experience of his own. While I do not doubt the reality or value of such 'experiences', I believe they provide a shaky foundation for doctrine, and can make Christians feel that without similar special experiences of God's presence they are somehow lacking - I wouldn't have included such a subjective experience in a book about objective reality. Also, in the final chapter he speaks of 'Holy places', using the example of a teenager tiptoeing around a cathedral to show that God was somehow more present there. I'm inclined to think such feelings of awe are more a question of architecture than spiritual reality, just as the heady atmosphere of modern-day worship services owes more to the skill of the musicians than the presence of the Holy Spirit.

These quibbles aside, I found "The Holiness of God" powerful and thought-provoking, not difficult to read, clear and straightforward, and I would recommend it to all Christians who want a deeper understanding of who God is.

And what about poor Zaphod??? Well, he emerges from the Vortex intact - I won't tell you how - and the analogy holds true, the true believer will one day be able to see God face to face without fear, through His Grace and Mercy ... it's all in the book.
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on 2 June 2006
This is a classic! It's one of those books that every new Christian should read asap. RC Sproul's style in writing of this deeply serious matter is extremely helpful. He writes with tremendous clarity, helpful illustrations, and scattered throughout are examples of his very humourous dry wit. I wish I had read this years ago - I wonder how different I might have been by now... Buy it!
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on 11 December 2015
The premise is good and the book started well, with his narrative style being attractive, but I have struggled to wholly follow his direction and do question some of the thrust of some of the chapters. I have not been led into the tru magnificence of the holiness of God, but have only received glimpses though this text.
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VINE VOICEon 28 November 2012
When presented with a Holy God in the way that Sproul manages through this book- you will wonder why you opted for a fuzzy and soft, touchy feely God who responds to your every prayer and loves everything.....realising rather that God is absolutely and completely Holy brings a different response and a wonder that modern evangelicalism has lost both in its worship and in its practise. Highly recommended!!!
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on 17 August 2012
When I first saw this book I thought that it was more theological than practical. What this book has really taught me is that the two aren't always separate issues. This is theology that demands action. The holiness of God is frightening, thrilling, awful (in the true sense of the word). This book has helped me see what is truly at stake. God is to be glorified, He is Holy.

I would recommend this book to anyone.
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on 13 August 2010
I thought this book was excellent. Sproul writes with clarity and authority on an important subject. I have found this book particularly useful with regards to understanding Old Testament judgements and it has given me a good understanding of God's grace and mercy as well as an appreciation of His hatred of sin.
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on 6 March 2013
Very thought provoking stuff which once again confronts the reader with God as Holy. Brings both fear and blessing to the reader. Makes one very conscious about being casual with the things of God and of the mercy that this Holy God is willing to show His people.
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on 15 August 2012
Exactly what I would expect from RC Sproul, clear, insightful and passionate exposition. He has expertly distilled what is a vast and profound subject to its essential detail providing much to excite the heart and provoke transformation of life. There are several others who match him in detail but few who do it so succinctly. Well worth reading.
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on 1 June 2014
You can trust R.C.Sproul to write honestly, clearly and in depth. He tackles an awesome subject - the holiness of God - in a way that is both revealing and challenging. A great book on an even greater subject.
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on 25 July 2015
This is a classic, it's a must read outside the Bible. Gives you greater view of who God is. My favourite section was on the insanity of Luther. He identified Luther's education in law was the means of grace which God used for Luther to fully understand the law of God. Luther was driven insane by the Holiness of God that he spend a lot of time confessing and even admitting that he did not like God sometimes. But we know what happened to Luther when studying Romans......
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