Reviews - What do customers think about Covenant and Community: Our Role as the Image of God?
Brilliant insights! Apr 29, 2010
What an impressive first book! The author begins by reviewing concisely and fairly the theories of God's image in mankind which have been important in the history of biblical interpretation, and then expresses his own view of Genesis 1:26-27, in the light of overall Biblical anthropology, a theory which certainly appears to be a genuinely new emphasis. He argues for his view very persuasively in terms of the Hebrew usage and the structure of the passage as well as the subsequent articulation of the "image of God" concept in the rest of Scripture. He maintains that, instead of suggesting a substratum of developed attributes or characteristics (rational, moral, spiritual, etc.) in human personality as created in Adam and Eve which mirrored the divine nature before Man's fall (as well as to a contested degree after it), he argues that the image and likeness are more of a teleological mandate referring to what Man is MEANT and COMMANDED to be and become. If true, Man's nature is something like the tabernacle/temple schema modeled on a heavenly original, except that true character of the original was to be developed in history through human experience, and was destined to be revealed perfectly in the Person of the incarnate Son of God, the Lord Jesus. In this view, the Fall did not change the image and likeness as Man's raison d'etre, only making apparent Man's inability to fulfill the image (as Man's purpose) apart from God's grace in Christ. Baker might have stressed more than he did the salutary effect this interpretation has in making those first words of God about Man integral to and continuous with the following grant and mandate of dominion over the earth and living things. But his work on the words make, create , and form, as well as on the prepositions in the passage, is masterful, and demands to be responded to by established exegetical experts. Baker stresses that God's image is both individual and communal (involving unity and diversity reflecting the Trinity's), that it is more essentially our ROLE than our substantial nature, being our directive and our inspiration, our present purpose and our future hope. After the first five expository chapters, the second half of the book relates and applies its interpretive theory more practically to human life in personal experience, marriage, church, with even some insights into civil community life. There are a number of brilliant reflections which need to be read to be appreciated. It is to be hoped that the scholarly guild will give this worthy theological opus due examination, and Baker will be encouraged to produce more contributions that will challenge and inspire God's people as this book does.