While in seminary, I became fascinated with the study of revelation. God’s disclosure of his actions and character took on heightened meaning in consideration of the biblical story and what God wanted to be made known about himself. But I’ve noticed that this topic can be treated with some remote detachment in the quest to understand God’s character and promises.
God With Us: Exploring God’s Personal Interactions with His People throughout the Bible pops this airy bubble. Glenn Kreider, professor of Theological Studies at Dallas Seminary (he also was my thesis advisor) provides a refreshing look at God’s revelation as he interacts with his creation. Kreider anchors the theme of God’s revelation in terms of his condescension, which he defines as “to descend to a less formal or dignified level.” (24) It is a downward act of condescension that we can know God and it also reveals this heart for his creation. Kreider states, “From the beginning of the biblical story, God’s humility is on display in his activity in the created order. Since what he does reveals who he is, God is revealed as a transcendent being to care for his creation.” (16)
Kreider continues by saying the ultimate expression of condescension is in the incarnation noting, “The Creator of the universe became a creature without ceasing to be the Creator.” (33). In Jesus divine humility he secures redemption for those who will trust in him and Kreider points to the fact that this is instructive for the attitudes of Christians and how they represent Christ. But Kreider broadens the scope of revelation to give a holistic view of God’s condescension in terms of creation, fall, redemption and re-creation.
Thus, in God With Us, Kreider wants to show that divine condescension happened from the beginning of Genesis, stating “any involvement of God in his world is an act of condescension. Further that God humbles himself and interacts with his creation is the major plot line of the Bible and each of the Biblical stories.” (24) Since Jesus is the ultimate expression of God’s condescension, Kreider aptly notes that Scripture must be read through a Christological lens. With this foundation, he traces through the biblical narrative noting God’s intentional interaction with his creation as he interacts with selected texts of Scripture.
As he goes through the Old Testament in Chapters 3-5, a few features prominently will hit the reader in context of the overarching theme as Kreider highlights the trajectory of God’s implementation of his covenantal promises.First, God interacts with the culture of time [I would add it actually comes from him anyway in the form of imitation]. Second, God does so with some of the most unlikely candidates. Third, God demonstrates continual mercy in the face of human failing and judgment. Continue Reading →