Subscribe now

God dwells among us: expanding Eden to the ends of the earth

By Mitchell Kim
June 2015 | Review by James Hindson
  • Publisher: IVP
  • ISBN: 978-1-78359-191-6
  • Pages: 209
  • Price: 11.99
Buy this book »

Book Review

For two reasons, I am writing this review in a worried frame of mind. First, I found it challenging to fully comprehend. There are some tightly argued theological points with plenty of follow-up references. Second, I found myself frequently disagreeing with the authors (worrying, because one is an eminent professor, while the other is an experienced pastor).

As I understand it, the message of this book is built on an interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2 which sees Eden as being a temple from which Adam and Eve were told by God to, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it’ (Genesis 1:28).

This is interpreted as a command to expand Eden to all nations. Adam and Eve failed in this task, and the authors present parallels between Eden and future temples. These include those of the Old Testament as well as those mentioned in the New.

In the authors’ words, ‘The image of God’s glorious presence in a garden-like temple has formed a kind of “book end” structure around the entire canon of Scripture (Genesis 2 and Revelation 21:1–22:3), providing an interpretative key for understanding passages about the temple throughout Scripture. Another interpretative key has been the temple’s cosmic symbolism, which pointed to the goal of its own extension to become co-equal with the cosmos itself’ (p.156).

Having read with differing degrees of puzzlement, I got to chapter 10: ‘Why haven’t I seen this before?’, and was tempted to respond by saying, ‘Because it’s not really there!’ However, I concluded that could be unfair and I must admit I didn’t have the time to investigate all the book’s references.

Having said that, the motivation behind the book is sound: a heartfelt, prayerful desire to see God’s kingdom expand. The temple study clearly motivates the authors to greater work for God and his world mission. There are some excellent thoughts scattered throughout its pages, the authors using their approach to motivate us to greater prayer and study of God’s Word.

My problem is that I don’t think that the book adds anything new to the biblical imperative for mission and evangelism. To be frank, I’m not convinced by its basic assumption. I would hesitate to recommend this to any but those interested in novel ideas and interpretations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
David’s Son and David’s Lord: Christology for Christ’s people
Ryan McGraw

How much do Christians study Christ himself? Christology is a greatly neglected subject for the Lord’s people. Perhaps we’ve shied away from it, having heard discussions about the difference between Greek words like homoousios and homoiousios that made our eyes…

See all book reviews
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
An Introduction to John Owen: A Christian vision for every stage of life
Crawford Gribben

It is difficult to do this book justice in a review – the only way to grasp how helpful it is will be to read it for yourself. John Owen has a reputation for writing in a style that is…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Crucified and Risen: Sermons on the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ
John Calvin

This is no five star rating out of deference to the Reformer. This book is worth it all the way, for three reasons. Firstly, Calvin’s sermons are models of biblical masterclass, perhaps only equalled by Klaas Schilder’s twentieth century trilogy…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
The Last Valley: A story of God’s grace in terminal illness

In touching detail, Graham Heaps reflects on the terminal illness and subsequent death of his late wife Sue in 2015. It is by no means an enjoyable read, but it bears splendid testimony to the goodness and grace of God…