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The God who became human

By Graham A. Cole
May 2014 | Review by Jonathan Bayes
  • Publisher: IVP
  • ISBN: 978-1-84474-800-6
  • Pages: 208
  • Price: 12.99
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Book Review

The God who became human
Graham A Cole
IVP
208, £12.99
ISBN: 978-1-84474-800-6
Star Rating: 3
 

This book is written specifically for scholars and students. It is part of an IVP series in biblical theology that aims to trace the development of particular themes through the Scriptures.

This sets itself the task of exploring the Old Testament (OT) preparation for the incarnation of the Son of God and its New Testament (NT) fulfilment. It then draws out the implications of the incarnation for human life and Christian mission. On the doctrine of Scripture, the author is thoroughly sound. He is also uncompromisingly committed to the Trinitarian and Christological definitions of the ancient creeds.

I found the opening two chapters the most exciting of the whole book. Here the author finds in the language of the Hebrew Scriptures and in the theophanies occurring in the OT narratives pointers towards the incarnation.

The OT refers regularly to God’s eyes, hands, ears, and so on, preparing the way for the appearance of God the Son with a literal body. The appearances of God to the patriarchs in apparent human form were signposts towards the day when the Son of God would actually become a human being.

The third chapter argues that there is little in the writing of the prophets which encouraged the expectation of an incarnation, but that in the light of the NT fulfilment, hints to that end can be picked up.

In the remaining chapters, the author moves from biblical theology into the fields of historical, systematic and practical theology, though carefully rooting his comments in NT Scripture.

He demonstrates that the incarnation has implications for our thinking on such issues as abortion and euthanasia. He also helpfully challenges the notion in vogue these days that Christian mission should be ‘incarnational’. He rightly insists that the NT focusses mission not around the incarnation, but around the death and resurrection of the Son of God.

Jonathan Bayes
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