Bags of Bran

Needed: Better Theme
September 30, 2011, 11:38 pm
Filed under: Biography

Have you ever heard something over and over and over and over and then finally it stopped making sense? It was just like that, and just as traumatic as finding out that there really was no tooth fairy. It was my dad, although he could have been subbing in for the tooth fairy.

I’ve repeatedly heard that the unifying theme of the Bible is “redemption,” and that everything in the OT points forward to the Cross, and that everything in the NT points back to it. Certainly, I am not offering an nuanced explanation of the position, but rather a brief synopsis to make my point: the position is a rich one and is held by several good fellows, but I am not convinced of it any longer, where I used to accept it. Lately, I find myself wondering where the Flood fits in with the view that the theme of the entire Bible is “redemption.” I also wonder why the authors of the Bible take such pains to point out such concepts as remnants as opposed to majorities, apostasies as opposed to victorious faithfulness, judgments as opposed to blessings, idolatry as opposed to pure worship of Yahweh, etc. If redemption is truly the overarching theme of the Bible, are these elements merely for contrast, when they, rather than “redemption” apply to the majority of those created in the image of God?

I suppose that presuppositions come into play here. If one assumes that the Bible is about God saving people, that shows up everywhere, just like for some, Jesus is on every page of the Bible (especially Numbers 7, right?). But God doesn’t just save people in the Bible: he also blesses and curses people; causes them to be born, and causes them to die; causes rains to fall and droughts to come; allows sins to be committed, and prevents other sins from being committed; and runs the universe. And so on. All of this effort on God’s part (strange as it is to call it “effort”) is not merely directed towards the salvation of the elect, because the salvation of the elect is not the only result. The condemnation and destruction of the non-elect is in there too. These other events are not accidents. If a theme is going to do the entire scope of Special Revelation justice, the entire scope of Special Revelation in all its various emphases might be considered.

I’m thinking about selling off my Chafer’s Systematic Theology set to commission a better theme. I should be able to get a small fortune for them, right?


2 Comments so far
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So have you fond a new theme yet, because I think that the two kingdom idea by Mclain is probably the best. After Dr. Snoeberger explained it in Sys. 1 and OT Theology I was convinced.


Comment by Jeremy

That book is high up in the “need to read” pile. I’m waiting for it to be assigned in a seminary class, though I will probably have to read it at least twice before I can say that I’ve read it properly. I’ve found everything I’ve read by McClain so far to be thoughtful and helpful, so I anticipate good things. I know, I know–how can I call myself a dispensationalist having not yet read McClain? I just like the title I guess, and the accolades that go with it. 🙂


Comment by christopheram

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