The Everlasting God

dbk1

The second of the books which have rocked my world  is The Everlasting God by D.B. Knox. It’s now published by Matthias Media in Volume I of his Selected Works.

I remember reading this sometime during my university days, having already read (and suffered indigestion) from reading another classic work on the doctrine of God – Knowing God by J.I. Packer – and wondering what a book a third of the length could offer that the thicker one couldn’t. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Knowing God, but I found The Everlasting God even more impacting and even more profound.

To this day Knox’s chapter on “God in Trinity” is still the chapter I go back to in order to understand the Biblical teaching on this most profound of doctrines. And I love it not just because he summarises the Bible’s teaching on the Trinity. I love it because he engages with the doctrine as a good theologian does. He expounds the Biblical doctrine and then teases out its implications far and wide.

It was Knox who taught me that the doctrine of the Trinity, far from an obscure teaching that Christians ought to be embarrassed to speak about, was actually the cornerstone, capstone and glory of the Christian faith. The Trinity reveals the very ‘stuff’ of reality: God in his very essence is love. He didn’t become loving only when he created an-other to love, for within himself he was and is and will be eternally in loving relationship. And we were created to image God and thus to be, in our very constitution, other-person-centred and relational. This relationship furthermore is ordered. There is an order without subservience or inequality. From here stems our belief that male-female relationships can be ‘equal but different’. 

Now all of this stuff is probably not new to a lot of people today, but I think Knox’s book is the first one that I came across which spelt it out so clearly and so succinctly. For that reason alone it deserves to be read and re-read.

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About Pete

I am a child of God, a husband, a father of four children, a pastor, and a church planter. I live in Sydney Australia and live to see Jesus made famous in this city and be the only God people worship.

Posted on May 22, 2009, in Books and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Emma Thornett

    Hey Pete,

    We’ve run out of DBK vol. 1, so we are republishing ‘The Everlasting God’ as a stand-alone book. Due out in September this year.

    Em

  2. Do you think he makes the step from the relationships in the Trinity to relations between the genders in a valid way? After all, human beings are not divine beings. Actually, does he do it explicitly in the book?

    • pastorpeterko

      Hi Michael, his logic seems to be:
      1. God is Trinity, ergo relationships are the essence of reality.
      2. God created us ‘in his image’. There’s an imprint of that reality in us (now marred by sin, will be restored in Christ).
      3. The Trinitarian relationship shows order: headship and response.
      4. Again this has implications for the nature of reality: in personal relationships, order is also needed (I think he fleshes this out in Appendix B).
      5. Human relationships (namely, that between man and woman) are also built upon that reality: there is equally but headship and response.

      So I dunno: would you call that explicit? Seems to me to be quite explicit, though not simplistic.

      As for whether he does that validly or not… well I think he does. His argument isn’t: God is like that, therefore we’re like that. It’s more like God is like that, therefore reality is like that, therefore we are like that.

      Probably my only point of contention would be whether ‘image of God’ being about relationships is reading back into the text of Genesis 2. It seems to me that the ‘image’ in Ancient Near Eastern thought has more to do with ‘authority’ than ‘essence’. But even so, I don’t think it completely invalidates his argument.

      What do you (and others) think?

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