By John S. Nixon.
Nampa, ID: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2011.
John Nixon’s book Redemption in Genesis has given me a faith lift. His introduction and the eight chapters germinated new sermon seed thoughts in my mind. The author clearly addresses faith’s preeminence over reason. His balanced appeal calls for “faithful reasoning” as his readers pursue Bible study (13). There are those who would trump faith with reason; however, Nixon stands firmly for faith as “essential to pleasing Him (see Hebrews 11:6)” (13). He explains that the believer’s challenge is not faith versus reason nor the rational versus the irrational but a category of the spiritual realm, the superrational (14).
Nixon challenged my thinking when he observed that “faith and reason are interrelated and interdependent, and they cooperate in the search for truth” (15). Citing Job’s painful losses, the author admits that sin has clouded our reasoning. Job’s victimization seemed unreasonable. “Had Job relied on his faculties of reason to deal with what had become of his life, he would have taken his wife’s advice” (16).
Of note is Nixon’s premise regarding Job’s comprehension of God. Can God be trusted? Yes, by the testimony from Job’s own life. “Job was a faith giant. He didn’t need to know all that was going on in order to maintain his integrity” (16). He trusted God “because he knew that God was bigger than he could comprehend, and that was all he needed to know” (17). Nixon posits that faith is “ready to admit that some things happen only by the providence of God” while “reason may be arrogant and sure of itself” (17).
How do we approach a document expressing God’s thoughts? Do we charge into our study from the laboratory of science or do we permit our reasoning to be subject to divine revelation? Nixon offers four guidelines for faithful reasoning: (1) “humbly acknowledge the limits of human reason,” (2) “maintain consistent faithfulness to God,” (3) “offer complete obedience to God,” and (4) “give priority to faith” (17, 18).
The eight chapters of Redemption in Genesis speak to matters of theological import. Nixon has carefully woven into his discussion a literal six-day Creation week, the punishment of the wicked, the judgment motif, Jesus’ substitutionary sacrifice, God’s wrath, the obedience of grace, the Spirit-filled life, and the community of believers.
Nixon addresses contemporary issues in theology—issues that polarize individuals. This book has motivated me to pursue more of the redemptive principles in Genesis. It has brought me cause to pause and consider my personal journey to Canaan.