Book Review: “From Eden to the New Jerusalem” by T. Desmond Alexander
I am always on the lookout for excellent, readable introductions to important Biblical themes and doctrines. In his book, “From Eden to the New Jerusalem: An Introduction to Biblical Theology (Kregel Academic, 2008),” Dr. T Desmond Alexander has written just such a book. As the subtitle suggests, the purpose of this volume is to introduce the reader to the richness of faithful Biblical Theology. In contrast to the discipline of Systematic Theology which seeks to answer the question, “What does the whole Bible teach about a specific topic (e.g. God, man, Christ, Salvation, etc)”; the discipline of Biblical Theology seeks to trace the development of various themes throughout redemptive history (e.g. ‘How does the theme of the land unfold throughout the Biblical storyline’). Having a grasp of both Systematic Theological categories and Biblical Theological structures is crucial to being a good theologian (and everyone is a theologian … the key question is are you a good or bad theologian!). In 8 chapters and 200 pages, Dr. Alexander, who is currently senior lecturer in Biblical studies at Union Theological College in Belfast, traces such themes as God’s presence with his people, the kingdom, Satan and evil, and Redemption, from ‘Eden to the New Jerusalem.’ Dr. Alexander states his approach to his study when he writes, “The final chapters of Revelation, which form the starting point for our study, contain visions that look to the future and anticipate the creation of a new earth and a new heaven. As we shall see, this brings to fulfillment a process that started with the creation of the present earth, as described in the opening chapters of Genesis. The very strong links between Genesis 1-3 and Revelation 20-22 suggest that these passages frame the entire biblical meta-story” (pg. 10). After the first ‘holy place’ (Eden) was stained with sin, the Lord enters into a covenant with his people that will culminate in a New Holy Place, a New Jerusalem, a New Heaven and a New Earth. And as the student of the Bible grows in his or her understanding of the grand story-line of the Bible and its unfolding in Scripture, their wonder of and worship of God will only increase. I heartily commend this excellent introduction to the topic of Biblical Theology.
Reviewed by Rev. Robert Arendale