Posted On April 21, 2017

When it comes to doing biblical theology, a common pattern is to take a topic or a theme and trace it from Genesis to Revelation. The Covenants, for example, between God and man, are meant to be a theme that we attempt to look for from the beginning of humanity to the ending of mankind, showing how God and man interact covenantally throughout Scripture and history. “But what of the Incarnation?” (17). Is the idea of God taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men a biblical-theological narrative being told even in the Old Testament? As Graham Cole positions this question, “was incarnation part of the hope of Israel?” (17). To that end, The God Who Became Human is an exploration of the Scriptures to see what God’s Word has to say about Jesus Christ becoming human, both in anticipation of the event and in reflection on the event.

To begin to unpack the biblical theology of the doctrine of the Incarnation, Cole starts with spending three chapters primarily examining the Old Testament to discern whether or not the Incarnation can be explicitly seen in the lives of ancient Israel. Cole extends his conversation around the anthropology of the Incarnation to three distinctions – an anthropomorphic, anthropopathic, and anthropopraxic taxonomy – demonstrating the breadth to which God becomes human. Although Scripture gives us much evidence for this, what it doesn’t provide much evidence for, as Cole seeks to demonstrate, is how the people of Israel (and thus the OT Scriptures) speak and think about Incarnation. Chapter Three is one of the most important chapters of the text, particularly the section in which Cole examines four possible “incarnation-laced” texts from the Old Testament. Cole, against the views of men such as B.B. Warfield and Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., contends that “no expectation of an Incarnation is plainly in view in the pages of the Old Testament” (91). Cole suggests a more typological reading of Scripture, one which is aided by reading in retrospect.

Chapter Six is perhaps my favorite of Cole’s chapters, analyzing the significance of the Incarnation. Cole determines that there is widespread theological and existential importance for the Incarnation, namely, how it affirms the created order, how it undergirds the value of humanity, and how it informs theodicy. As becomes apparent throughout the book, the Incarnation has something to say even about our conversations surrounding the sanctity of life, how we pursue social justice, and much more.

Cole’s careful and articulate work on demonstrating the unraveling the Incarnation message is an important contribution to our biblical-theological studies. His exegesis is clear and straightforward, and his continual appeal to the Scriptures before we give an answer to a question is refreshing. Anyone seeking to better understand the theological significance and the Scriptural progression of the Incarnation should pick up this volume.

Related Posts

Riches for the World

Riches for the World

Romans 11:11-12, “11 So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means...

Why God Forgets Our Sins

Why God Forgets Our Sins

On today’s episode, a listener writes in and asks Dave, “Does God forget our sins?” What you’ll hear in this episode The Lord Forgives and Forgets Our Sin. The Christian and Assurance. Forgiveness and Assurance. The Apostles Creed and Forgiveness. Micah and...

Road Signs

Road Signs

Daniel 9:13-14, “Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth.  The Lord did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for...

Who is Israel?

Who is Israel?

Romans 11:7-10, “What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.” 9 And David...

Dave Jenkins- Contending for the Faith Without Being Contentious

Dave Jenkins- Contending for the Faith Without Being Contentious

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Dave considers the importance of growing in and pursuing gentleness with fellow Christians, why effective Christian engagement has five biblical correction, and instruction, and why Christians must be committed to sound doctrine...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share4
Reddit
Email
Buffer
Tweet