I am taking a break from Kostenberger’s Biblical Theology, and am starting on Thomas Schreiner’s, called The King in His Beauty. Interesting, it has no introduction, highly unusual for a work this significant and a volume this size (736p). It just starts right into Genesis. However, even though I am only one (very important) book into the volume, I have noted that Schreiner strikes an amazing balance between insight and concision. So the lack of introduction works as it launches into a biblical-theological work that although it includes most of what you want to know (and plenty of new thoughts), it contains little of what you don’t need. Let your eyes glaze over paragraphs and you will miss key ideas.

The section on Genesis (p3-27A) might be one of the very best concise overviews of the book of beginnings I have ever read. There is an emphasis on Lordship on account of creation (p4):

“The creator of all is also the King of all, and his lordship is extended over a place–a realm. As Gerhard von Rad says, “if the world was called into being by the free will of God, then it is his own possession, and he is its Lord.” He is the King of the created cosmos. (p4)

On page 6, Schreiner rightly notes that the dominion of man is connected contextually to the imago dei, although, citing Peter Gentry, he states that dominion is the result of the image of man, rather than (the functional) constituting the image. I would frame this slightly differently, in that I believe that the image is triadic, with the functional aspect constituting the last and outer aspect of the image. This “outer” perspective is what explains what Gentry and Schreiner see in the text.

Image of God Triad:

  1. Reflects the Mind of God (Substantive [“mind” is somewhat simplistic])
  2. Reflects the Community of God (Relational)
  3. Reflects the Work of God (Functional)

Schreiner, like Kostenberger, notes that “God’s covenant is integrally related to his rule over his people, for God’s covenant with his people always involves a relationship.” As a slight aside, at a Pastor’s meeting yesterday, a friend quoted a section from Schreiner’s Covenant and God’s Purpose for the World (p13), in which he mention three things that define a covenant, which I immediately thought was triadic, even though these were in a different order than in Schreiner. This is my triadic version, based on Schreiner.

Covenant Triad:

  1. Voluntarily Established
  2. Constitutes a New Relationship
  3. Binds Parties with Promises and Obligations

An interesting new thought for me on page 9:

Presumably, Adam and Eve were to evict the serpent from the garden by obeying the Lord. They were to “keep or guard the garden so that it would remain holy.” Instead, they capitulated to the serpent’s blandishments and transgressed the Lord’s command by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Cain demonstrated that he belonged to the children of the serpent… by slaying Abel, the offspring of the woman. (p11)

Great to note that Schreiner thinks that the “sons of God” in Gen 4 are probably demons (p11-12).

Good section on the extensive parallels of the description of the post-flood world with Eden (p14).

Von Rad observes that in the early accounts in Genesis each word of judgment was followed by a promise of grace, but such a gracious word is not expressed after Babel, raising the question of whether “God’s relationship to the nations is now finally broken; is God’s gracious forbearance now exhausted; has God rejected the nations in wrath forever?” The calling of Abraham answers those questions. (p15)

I have a small disagreement with Schreiner’s negative reading of the Jacob story when he says, “Jacob’s deception and manipulation verify his moral impoverishment”. (p22)

Overall, a very promising start to what looks to be a very biblically focused (rather than thematically-driven) biblical theology.




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