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Robinson Crusoe and Those Who Have Never Heard of Christ


Published in 1719 by Daniel Defoe, the famous story of a man shipwrecked on an uninhabited island for 28 years has captivated readers throughout generations. The book has been called the first bestseller in the world and has spawned several cinematic versions depicting the triumph of the human spirit over loneliness and the powers of nature. But what was that story really about? Few remember that in the original story Crusoe meets Christ on his island before he ever meets Friday. Defoe depicts Crusoe’s spiritual journey, from reading God’s general revelation in nature and His special revelation in the Bible, to the touching scene where Crusoe kneels down and accepts Christ with tears of joy flowing down his cheeks. And what finally happened to Friday, a man who had never heard of Christ and would never have heard unless God in his providence hurled Crusoe onto that cursed island for many years? This talk allows us to study the world-famous story in the light of Romans 1 and 2 and to analyze how Defoe’s story reflects his understanding of 18th-century natural theology and reverence of the Scriptures – themes that have generally gone unnoticed by modern readers and neglected by movie depictions.