Responding to the First Five Questions God Asks Every One of Us
Philip Greenslade brings his years of scholarly and pastoral wisdom to this project. Rather than seek answers to his, or indeed our, questions in the Bible he says, "Let us for once allow the Bible to confront us with the questions God asks of us."
He takes the basic proposition that "God asks us questions not to find out what he doesn't know but to help us discover Him in a deeper way and to see ourselves in a truer light" and applies it to the first five questions that God asks in the Bible.
As he leads us to consider "Where are you?", "Who told you?", "What have you done?", "Why are you angry?" and "Where is your brother?" he attempts to take us on a path of discovery of both God and ourselves through, not just the first four chapters of the Bible but the whole Biblical narrative, with a particular focus on Jesus' parable of the prodigal son.
Although each chapter contains considerable wisdom it was initially difficult to distil that wisdom from the abundance of quotations. This was to be the main flaw in the book. While some of the quotations are helpful insights from those who have trodden a similar path, the abundance of them proved to be a distraction. However, once Philip moved on from these quotations to consider the general Biblical teaching on each question, the book took off and contained much that was helpful, although it was let down by a failure to fully consider the context of some of the biblical questions.
Each chapter deals with one question. It is inevitable that each reader will gain more from some chapters than others, however each reader can confidently expect to gain some insights from this book. At the end of the book there is a review section which enables reflection on each chapter. This should have been broken down and put at the end of each chapter.
Whether or not the book helps us to discover God or ourselves, (and I'm not sure it is of great help in either), it certainly assists in considering sin and grace. The implications of the Fall are clearly spelt out within the book. However, the reader is never allowed to forget the forgiveness available through Christ's death on the cross.
Dave Sunman, April 2004Order from www.christianbookshops.org
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