Sidney Greidanus’ From Chaos to Cosmos is the latest installment in the Short Studies in Biblical Theology series. Though I haven’t read the others in this series, I can see that this series is incredibly practical for those who are teaching the Bible regularly. Greidanus focuses almost exclusively on scripture, packing this short book with selected texts from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 which evoke the chaos-cosmos theme.
Starting in Genesis, Greidanus selects words from the creation account that signal chaos: darkness, without form, void, the deep/waters/seas, references to Rahab, giant sea creatures, and Leviathan. All of these “building blocks of chaos” are actually created by God. Rather than ancient myths which see chaos as preexistent, God creates the chaos and then out of them calls to order the cosmos of creation. Then, throughout the scriptures, God uses the forms of chaos to display his glory through judgment and salvation. God also rebukes the chaos to provide order and display his glory through glimpses of the full glory of the cosmos He is capable of creating.
Greidanus builds a beautiful image of Jesus, the Word of God (logos) who was present at creation when the waters were given clear boundaries, present at the Red Sea when God displayed his power to rebuke the chaos of the water so His children could walk through but the Egyptians drowned, and then visibly present when he walked upon the sea and rebuked the wind and waves. This is just one stirring example of the way the chaos-cosmos theme cuts across scripture, drawing parallels between Old and New Testament passages and pointing ultimately towards Christ.
Obviously aimed towards preachers and teachers, this succinct book covers a lot of ground in a short space. Any teacher would benefit from seeing scripture again through this theme and would be able to glean insights that can fit right into their next sermon or lesson. But those who wish to use this theme as a sermon series will appreciate Greidanus’ helpful final chapter that lays out the key passages in this theme and provides a clear list of ways to get to Christ from any of these passages. I happen to live with a pastor, and he saw immediate ways to use the pages of this book that he read.
I personally love books like this that provide a new lens for scripture. This book made me want to read the Bible again to see this theme played out, and it made me look up from my book to consider all the ways the orderly cosmos of God’s Kingdom is already visible in His church. I finished this book praising God that both chaos and cosmos are tools in his hand being used to accomplish his will and declare his glory on the planet where I live. I rejoiced again at the coming completion of his cosmos where we will get to live with him, and that I will not be thrown into the “gloom of utter darkness [chaos]” (Jude 13). As Romans 8:35-39 reminds us “No form of chaos will be able to separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus.”