The Unifying Theme of the Bible

While catching up on some reading (you will soon see from the date of the journal I’m reading how far I’m behind) I read a great paragraph briefly surveying how God is glorified in human history:

What struck me about [Alva] McClain and [Rolland] McCune’s model (they are similar enough to be treated as a unity) was the fact that personal redemption did not receive pride of place at the center. I rarely heard the storyline of the Bible referenced as “redemptive history” in seminary (this would be too narrow); instead the Bible was read as a kind of doxological history: God was garnering self-glory through a complex of interrelated but more-or-less sovereign spheres. The pistic/redemptive sphere was surely one of those spheres, but it was by no means the only such sphere. God also received glory through non-redemptive civil structures (Gen 9:1–6; much of the Mosaic Law; Rom 13:1–7; etc.), marital/family structures (Gen 2:24–25; Song of Solomon; etc.), providence and common grace (Esther, Jonah, et al.), angelic activity (Ps 103:20–21; 148:1–6), the reprobation of the irredeemable (Ps 76:10; Rom 9:22; Phil 2:11) and, significantly for this review, a complex of natural/scientific blessings associated with man’s dominion over the physical earth (Gen 1:26–30 and the land motif that unfolds through Scripture). While the individual blessings of unconditional election and vicarious atonement were amazing in scope, I learned, these should never be so magnified as to eclipse or cancel out the multiplex of other, more common means whereby God in Christ was bringing glory to himself. Being thusly liberated from my Platonic cave, I embraced this remarkable theory of everything (Mark A. Snoeberger, DBSJ 17 [2012] p. 100).

This was followed up by a quote from another theologian:

The covenant theologian in practice makes this purpose salvation and the dispensationalist says the purpose is broader than that, namely, the glory of God. To the dispensationalist the soteriological or saving program of God is not the only program but one means God is using in the total program of glorifying Himself. Scripture is not man-centered as though salvation were its main theme, but it is God-centered because His glory is the center. The Bible itself clearly teaches that salvation, important and wonderful as it is, is not an end in itself but is rather a means to the end of glorifying God (Eph 1:6. 12, 14). Charles Ryrie, Dispensationalism Today, 1965, p. 46.

One of the great things here was I read this in a book review! Too often I get to the “book review” section in a journal and go on autopilot. Lesson learned.

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