About Providence, Divine Action and the Church


In this blog, Terry J. Wright posts thoughts and shares research on the Christian doctrine of providence. This doctrine testifies to God’s provision for all things through creation’s high priest, the man Christ Jesus. However, the precise meaning and manner of this provision is a perpetually open question, and this blog is a forum for discussion of the many issues relating to providence and the place of the Church within God’s action.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Christ as Creator

My review of Sean McDonough's Christ as Creator is now published in International Journal of Systematic Theology 14:2 (2012), pp. 249–251. Here's my concluding paragraph:

As noted earlier, McDonough has prepared a fine monograph. There is much to harvest from this study, not least because McDonough dedicates ample room to the exposition of New Testament texts to show how the imagery and turns of phrase employed therein are most likely sourced from the Old Testament. Several of the chapters – in my view, the chapters on order in creation, Colossians and John especially – merit careful attention to appreciate the depth of McDonough’s insight. The final chapter, where McDonough examines the work of Irenaeus, Pannenberg, Barth et al., is useful, showing a commendable desire to integrate the fields of biblical studies and systematic theology. Yet I would also have liked McDonough himself to offer more pointed reflection on the theological issues raised by his research: Is Jesus’ messianic rule to be explicated by or within the doctrine of providence, or should providence be conceived in messianic categories? What is the nature of Jesus’ messianic rule, given that he sits at the right hand of the Father, interceding for those who approach God through him? Where and in what ways does pneumatology impact Jesus’ messianic rule? Moreover, it would be intriguing to have an indication of how McDonough’s conclusions could apply to the current discussions about Jesus and election (McDonough makes a passing reference to these in his treatment of Barth, but does not offer much comment). However, to venture down these paths would require an entire series of studies, and McDonough cannot be faulted for choosing to remain focused on the objective he has set himself. Even without addressing these sorts of issues, Christ as Creator warrants a wide readership.

You'll have noticed that I do regard this book as having much potential for influencing the doctrine of providence if it's legitimate to interpret the doctrine not merely in terms of Christology, but also in messianic categories.

1 comment:

  1. Yes christians love to talk about Christ or God as the "creator", but in doing so they always systematically eliminate the overwhelming fact that death rules to here, or the fact that all biological entities disintegrate and die or are eaten by the world machine which is completely indifferent to the well-being or survival of any of the biological forms that arise and inevitably disintegrate.

    For you, the death of bodies is a philosophical and "theological" matter that causes untrust, distrust, and fear, a matter that fills you with philosophical and "theological" propositions that are Godless, Ecstasyless, Blissless.
    As a matter of fact, the cosmic domain (of "creation") is just like Mother Kali. It is full of death, full of process, full of never-ending changes (moment to moment).
    Ecstasy and thus Real Life requires trust and utter acceptance of death!

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