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Nothing Greater, Nothing Better: Theological Essays on the Love of God [Paperback]

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Item Number 143230  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6" Height: 0.51"
Weight:   0.74 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 10, 2001
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN  0802849024  
EAN  9780802849021  

Availability  80 units.
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Item Description...
The love of God is arguably the most central doctrine of the Christian faith, and yet, remarkably, the subject of God's love has not received the attention it deserves. In Nothing Greater, Nothing Better an international team of distinguished theologians and biblical scholars admirably fills this need, offering clear and inspiring discussion of the nature of God's love and its implications for the Christian life. Kevin J. Vanhoozer begins the book by outlining the proper theological context of and main issues involved in meaningful talk about God's love today. Gary D. Badcock revisits the distinction between agape and eros, crafting a fresh understanding of these terms in relation to God's loving act in Christ. Geoffrey Grogan reviews the biblical evidence that ought to guide our thinking about God's love. Lewis Ayres examines Augustine's view of God's love as expressed in his commentary on 1 John and in his profound work on the Trinity. Trevor Hart examines the perils of using human language to speak of God, including attempts to fully grasp the concept of God's love. Alan J. Torrance looks for insight in the great Johannine assertion "God is love." Tony Lane queries the possibility of thinking about God's wrath and God's love together. Paul Helm asks whether God can love the world, turning, provocatively, to natural theology for an answer. David Fergusson takes up the vital eschatological concern: will the love of God ultimately triumph? The book closes with a sermon on Hosea 11 by Roy Clements that moves reflection on God's love from dogmatics to doxology. Though exploring the subject of God's love from many angles, these chapters are united in their understanding that it is not human love per se, but rather the love of the man Jesus -- representative both of God and of an authentic humanity -- that is the ultimate criterion for thinking about the love of God. Readers will find this volume both thought-provoking and spiritually uplifting.

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More About J. Vanhoozer Kevin

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Kevin J. Vanhoozer (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is research professor of systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is the author of several books, including Is There a Meaning in This Text?

Craig G. Bartholomew (Ph.D., University of Bristol) holds the H. Evan Runner Chair in Philosophy at Redeemer University College in Ontario. He is the coauthor of The Drama of Scripture.

Daniel J. Treier (Ph.D., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is Blanchard Professor of Theology at Wheaton College.

N. T. Wright (D.Phil., University of Oxford) is bishop of Durham and author of over forty books, including Jesus and the Victory of God, The Resurrection of the Son of God, and a popular series of guides to the New Testament.

Kevin J. Vanhoozer has an academic affiliation as follows - Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Teds).

Kevin J. Vanhoozer has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Cambridge Companions to Religion
  2. Cultural Exegesis
  3. Studies in Christian Doctrine and Scripture

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Diverse Essays on Theology and Love  Aug 31, 2004
This collection of edited essays is a decidedly theological work. Its value is that it represents the work of theologians, mostly from Reformed theological traditions, who wrestle with how to conceive of divine love.

The book's editor, Kevin J. Vanhoozer, begins his introductory essay -- the best essay of the book -- by noting that "it is exceedingly odd that Christian theologians have themselves been somewhat indifferent -- inattentive, neutral - with regard to the concept of the love of God" (1). It is no exaggeration to say that the defining and situating of divine love is the perennial task of Christian theology.

A growing number of Christian theologians believe that a major advance, even a revolution, in the understanding of the love of God has recently occurred. The traditional view of God entails that the deity metes out good but takes neither joy nor delight in the good that comes about. This classical God is immutable and impassable. Several developments in the twentieth century, however, have changed the way we understand divine love. Among the movements that have generated these developments are process philosophy, Trinitarian theology, liberation theology, feminist theology, and various Postmodern thinkers, like Jean- Luc Marion.

Vanhoozer notes "the concept of the love of God is both fundamental to the doctrine of God and, oddly, disruptive of it. There seems to be no place in a systematics in which the notion of the love of God neatly fits" (13). When discussing the structure of systematic theology, Vanhoozer observes that the love of God functions either (1) "as a discrete doctrinal topic" or (2) "as the structuring principle that provides a point of integration or thematic unity between individual doctrines." "Somewhat surprisingly," states Vanhoozer, "few theologians have chosen that latter option" (14).

In the second half of the opening essay, Vanhoozer briefly discusses how love affects issues such as divine sovereignty, reciprocal relations, divine control, divine suffering, and panentheism. After addressing these issues, he concludes that "we must say at least three things: the love of God is something that God has, something that God does, and something that God is" (23). Vanhoozer closes his introduction by claiming that "the moral of this introduction is that the love of God should occupy no one place in a theological system, but every place" (29).

The rest of Nothing Greater, Nothing Better book includes a variety of essays of varying degrees of helpfulness. Gary Badcock looks at Anders Nygren's famous work, Agape and Eros and concludes, like many others before him, that it is appropriate to speak of divine eros. On the basis of God's act in Christ, that is, creaturely response to divine initiative is something that God needs.

Geoffrey Grogan reviews a diversity of the biblical evidence pertaining to love. Lewis Ayres reflects upon Augustine's understanding of the love of God as it is expressed in St. Augustine's commentary on First John and in his work, On the Trinity. Trevor Hart considers the question of how we speak of God. Following Karl Barth, he concludes that the possibility of human speech about God rests entirely upon the incarnation. What we have in the incarnation is a God-given analogy. Alan Torrance also addresses analogical language, the incarnation, the trinity, and other issues. Torrance wonders if love can be understood as God's essence, and, disappointingly from this reviewer's perspective, concludes that this question is unanswerable. He also rejects natural theology and argues that only those who have fellowship with Christ will allow their minds and language become transformed as to speak adequately of God.

Tony Lane addresses the question of God's wrath in relation to God's love. Lane concludes that one must not affirm wrath as part of God's essence. Paul Helm addresses the question: Can God love the world? One of his conclusions is that God could not be equally benevolent to all human beings, but God can love all humans unequally. Helm also suggests, inaccurately from this reviewer's perspective, that the problem of evil is a matter of degree. David Fergusson addresses the issues of eschatology by asking the question, "Will the love of God ultimately triumph?" After all, if God's future is genuinely open, divine triumph over evil is not a foregone conclusion. Fergusson argues that those who affirm double predestination and those who affirm universalism ultimately remove human freedom by construing God's love as something that constrains human choice. Roy Clements concludes the book with a sermon on Hosea, chapter eleven.

Thomas Jay Oord

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