“Behold, What Manner Of Love!”: A Divine Family Of Human Sons And Daughters -- By: Thomas N. Smith

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 07:2 (Spring 1998)
Article: “Behold, What Manner Of Love!”: A Divine Family Of Human Sons And Daughters
Author: Thomas N. Smith


“Behold, What Manner Of Love!”:
A Divine Family Of Human Sons And Daughters

Thomas N. Smith

It was the German pastor-theologian Helmut Thielicke who described the Bible as “the history of a great love, of a great search.” I join step with him and say that the Bible is the story of a desire and a design, the desire and the design of God to have a family, a human family.

The idea is staggering. Indeed, it is perhaps the most surprising, the most amazing statement made in the entire Christian proclamation. Viewed from any perspective such an idea is astonishing. Human is, after all, human. As such we are a tangled skein of weaknesses, vulnerabilities, potential moral outrages and actual petty ones. We are (in a word and in every sense of the word) mean: we are little things and have the enormous capacity of being nasty little things.

In the face of this, the brazen face of it, the Bible speaks of God and of grace in the same breath it speaks of “the grace of God.” From the very beginning of the history of this great love, this great search, this grace is evident in God’s persistent intention to have a human family who will share in His own intrinsic happiness. In a word, God, the glorious, self-sufficient, self-existing God—the blessed, happy God—willed to be the Father of a human family. This is the grand idea behind all discussions of the fatherhood of God.

In The Beginning

The creation of the world was the formation of “a glorious

theater” (Calvin) of operations where the glorious God displayed His infinite excellencies, His glory. But, more than a theater, the creation was to be a well-furnished home for this apex of His creation, man—male and female. From the inception, this man and woman were marked out as children of God. The image-likeness language of Genesis 1:26–27 is the language of sonship. It is language similar to that which I regularly hear when people say to me of my twelve-year-old son, Evan, “He’s the spitting image of his daddy.” That this is the writer’s intention in Genesis is underscored by the parallels drawn with the same language in Genesis 5:1. Luke (hearkening back to the genealogy of Genesis 5) is even more explicit: “… Adam, the son of God” (Luke 3:38). Adam and Eve thus formed the first human family of God. While the transgression of the first family members threatened this familial bond, and grossly disturbed it, even in sin, man still remained the son God searched for (You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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