The Theology of the Old Testament

By Otto J. Baab | Go to book overview

3. The Nature of Man

IN 1942 there appeared the book The Bible Is Human, by Louis Wallis , a sociologist, who in previous volumes had attempted to interpret the Old Testament from the standpoint of socio-economic theory. Surprisingly enough the aim of this book is to identify the reality of God in the history of Israel. The same title might serve to cover the content of this part of the discussion on the nature of man in the Old Testament. Certainly the Old Testament is human. Its pages pulsate with the throbbing life of its colorful characters. Their robust deeds and virile, uninhibited conduct, so frankly recounted, amply demonstrate that man is very much alive in this literature. In books regarded as sacred by many millions of people and revered as the revealed word of God is to be found also the word of man. Man in the Bible is not the man of conventional Christian art--dressed in spotless garments with an expressionless face, and usually posing in a lifeless manner in the foreground of a somewhat dreary landscape. On the contrary, man is sketched with vivid realism and absolute honesty. Possibly this realism of the Bible, which projects with cogency and power both the nature of the highest that can be known about the universe and the unvarnished truth about man, is the reason for its effectiveness in confronting men with themselves and with God.

In this collection of ancient writings is the march of time--time replete with dramatic history. This history is highly personal, for it devotes its attention to many individuals of both sexes, who occupied positions of importance in the nation, or who responded to an inner call and followed the vision of God. The procession of humanity is epitomized in this story. Kings and commoners, saints and sinners, politicians and priests, prophets and prostitutes, patriots and traitors, great and small appear in this moving panorama. Here we find Adam, who in yielding to his wife disobeyed God and was cursed with toil and death; the wife herself, who found it impossible to resist the temptation with its triple enticement--was not the fruit of the forbidden tree palatable, attractive in color, and the likely source of new experiences?--and Cain, who in a fit of jealous anger killed his brother. Here too is Jacob,

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The Theology of the Old Testament
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Preface 7
  • Contents 11
  • 1: The Study of Old Testament Theology 13
  • 2: The Meaning of God 23
  • 3: The Nature of Man 54
  • 4: The Idea of Sin 84
  • 5. Salvation in the Old Testament 114
  • 6: The Kingdom of God 156
  • 7: Death and the Hereafter 198
  • 8: The Problem of Evil 226
  • 9: The Validity of Old Testament Theology 250
  • Selected Bibliography 273
  • Index of Biblical Passages 275
  • Index of Subjects 279
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