“God’s Good World” by Jonathan Wilson

god's good world

Jonathan’s recent book “God’s Good World” has been very well reviewed and received. May 22nd will be the Carey Theological College book launch where you can meet Jonathan and hear his comments on writing on the doctrine of creation. Here is a thoughtful review from “Hearts and Minds Books” (April 2013).

God’s Good World: Reclaiming the Doctrine of Creation Jonathan R. Wilson (Baker Academic) $24.99  I have been waiting for a book like this for years, and am so very happy this has arrived. Our best theologians have reminded us that to fully understand Christ’s work of redemption and the very nature of God’s Kingdom we must start – as the Biblical narrative itself does – with the doctrine of creation.  This world of original blessing, what Calvin called “the theater of God,” is the location, the context, the setting, the focus, of God’s redemption.  The whole creation groans, Romans 8 tells us, awaiting humans (the original caretakers of creation) to be reconciled with their Creator; in Christ (the second Adam) we can again take up our task to image God in the world of God’s good creation.  Any fruitful exploration of faith and discipleship that missed this given context of our lives will be, at best, inadequate and, worse, woefully distorted — gnostic, quietistic, weird.

I think it was Al Wolters in his influentialCreation Regained (Eerdmans; $15.00) who quipped that a robust doctrine of creation is useful for more than defeating evolutionists, and, in fact, includes the structures and institutions built into the created order (like, say, obviously, family and government or the possibility for art and science, work and recreation) and not just rocks, bears and galaxies. To have a full-orbed and fully fruitful view of creation, we will have to examine all the implications of the reality, and this fine book takes up this challenge wonderfully.

Leaders in the faith-based environmental movement urging better theology about and efforts of caring for creation have endorsed it, raving.  (Loren Wilkinson of Regent College has a long, glowing endorsement, and says it is “a very important book.” Peter Harris of A Rocha says it is “a major contribution.”) Others remind us that this book is useful in ways far beyond the obvious concerns of creation care and environmental stewardship. Brian Brock of the King’s College of the University of Aberdeen insists, “This book should be mandatory reading for pastors, theological students and believers who care about the burning moral issues of our day and want to rethink them theologically.”  I cannot easily explain how far-reaching this book is, but invite you to look at the table of contents here. (Then come back and order it from us!)

Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman writes of God’s Good World “In the current discussions concerning the biblical doctrine of creation, we often bypass what is most important to us as Christians as we debate the issues like the age of the earth or the length of creation days. Jonathan Wilson corrects this oversight as he masterfully guides us to a rich appreciation of God as our Creator and Redeemer.”  Yes, not only does this book unlock important — essential! — insights about the nature of creation, and the implications of living in a created reality but it points us towards the very character of a God who is a creator.  And who sustains and redeems and restores the creation.

Yes, this is a beautiful book, wonderfully written, far-ranging (and it even includes some truly lovely woodcuts enhancing each vital chapter.) We are very, very glad for this, hoping it is widely read and deeply pondered.  I wrote a week ago about “resurrectionary reading” programs that explore the issues of life in light of the grand truth of Christ’s victory of death, as witnessed by the empty tomb.  Reading a book like this is an absolutely central aspect of this agenda, since Christ is risen (indeed) with a physical body, the resurrection points to the newness Christ is bringing to all creation!  Knowing resurrection faith well requires that we know creation faith.  This is a great book. Happy resurrectionary reading!

Jonathan Wilson
I teach theology at Carey and my passion is for us to grow in our love of learning and desire for God.

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