Aussie theologian Graham Cole has a new book coming out in a few days called The God Who Became Human: A Biblical Theology of Incarnation. I recently interviewed Graham about the book. Here is the transcript:
Most books have a back story behind the author writing the book what is the story behind you writing this book?
I made an observation to a friend, Don Carson, how the Old Testament speaks of God as though God were incarnate. Language about God’s eyes, heart, arms, fingers, hands etc. Technically put, this is anthropomorphic (human shaped) language. Next thing I know I have a book contract to explore the observation from one end of the Bible to the other.
What is the main idea you are trying to capture in this book?
The big idea is that God providentially in his Old Testament revelation of himself provides the conceptual framework such that when the incarnation takes place it can be understood. This was not seen in advance by Old Testament writers. They expected Yahweh to come to Zion and an agent of God’s kingdom to deliver them but an incarnation of the God of Israel? In Paul’s terms it was a mystery ( a secret now revealed as in 1 Timothy 3:16). But in retrospect the divine groundwork comes magnificently into view.
Are there any controversial theological issues regarding that incarnation that you are trying to address in this book?
I address a number. For example, would the incarnation have taken place if sin had not entered the world? Another is this. Is the missional centre of gravity in the New Testament the incarnation or the cross?
If you were going to preach a 4-6 week series on the incarnation what passages would select to preach on and what would you want to be getting out of each passage?
The series would explore ‘The Purpose of the Incarnation’
Week 1: To Reveal the Father to Us (John 1:1-18)
Week 2: To Redeem the Enslaved (Galatians 4:4-7)
Week 3: To Defeat the Devil for Us (Hebrews 2:14-15)
Week 4: To Represent Us Eternally (Hebrews 7:11-28)
What do you hope that readers get out of reading this book?
God so loved the world he did not send a surrogate (e.g. a wise person or a prophet) but His own beloved Son who in becoming one of us knows the human condition from the inside. At the tomb side of Lazarus he wept a human tear (John 11:35). I hope that the book leads to doxology: the praise of God at the wonder of the incarnation.
And finally, what do you miss most about Australia?
I miss our children, grandchildren and great food.