One of the most important books I have read in recent years is James Hamilton’s, God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment. The material is technical so you’ll have to focus in thinking about the below interview. But it is worth the effort!
In the interview below [from Credo] James Hamilton, Associate Professor of Biblical Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, answers questions about his new book, God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment (Crossway).
Who is your target audience for God’s Glory in Salvation Through Judgment?
I am inclined to think that the person who will benefit most from this book is the person who will sit down, read a passage of the Bible and then read what my book has to say about that particular section of Scripture, or read my book then read the corresponding passage(s) of the Bible. So say, read my 10-to-15-page discussion of the book of Genesis, and then go read Genesis. But anyone made in the image of God, with the ability to read, can do so. You know, 8-year-olds might not be interested, but adults, college students, anyone who loves the Bible can read it. I don’t think it necessarily takes time in Greek or Hebrew classes to be able to understand my book. I think that anyone who is interested in the Bible can read the book. I also hope that it will be helpful to students learning the Scriptures for ministry. And I hope that others who do what I do will appreciate it.
How long did you work on the book?
I started in earnest in the spring of 2007 and worked through December 2009; it was due to Crossway January 2010.
What is your book’s overall thesis?
My thesis is that God’s glory in salvation through judgment is the center of biblical theology.
Can you tease that out a bit?
When Moses asks to see God’s glory, God responds by telling Moses that he will cause all his goodness to pass before him, and proclaim his name to Moses. And when God does that, he identifies himself as a God who is merciful and forgives iniquity, transgression and sin. And yet at the same time, he is a God who does not clear the guilty. So there is an affirmation of this forgiveness which is somehow possible with justice being maintained. God doesn’t clear the guilty, but he does show mercy and forgive. There seems to be a sense in which this is bound up in God’s identity as God: he is both merciful and just. And this incident, when Moses experienced God’s glory, had a profoundly shaping impact on Moses’ understanding of God, which then influenced the way he wrote the Pentateuch. And, I think, every biblical author who followed Moses learned to interpret life and earlier Scripture from Moses. Therefore, within the Pentateuch, you can see Moses interpreting earlier passages in light of later passages, and from this, later biblical authors learned how to read the Bible and how to read the world. They learned from Moses that God is the most important thing in all of reality, and that to know God is to know his justice and mercy, it is to experience this righteousness which maintains and makes possible his mercy.
Read the rest here.