"The Lord Your God Is in Your Midst": The Presence of God and the Means and End of Redemptive History
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation proposes that, very simply, the presence of God is a central theme of biblical revelation. More specifically, it argues that God's presence is significant to the theological message of Scripture because it is both a central end of redemptive history and a means to that end. In other words, the divine presence is a teleological objective for God's work of redemption and reconciliation, while it is also the agency by which this eschatological goal is initiated, inaugurated, and will one day finally be consummated. As such, this dissertation will argue that there are two ways to understand the presence of God as it is detailed biblically. First, the divine presence is eschatological and relational, unmediated and fully manifest. This aspect is evidenced at the "bookends" of redemptive history. For a short time, the unmediated presence of God is experienced in Eden and, after Fall, it is cast as a central eschatological promise to be fulfilled in the coming of the new Jerusalem. The second aspect of God's presence is its redemptive and reconciliatory agency. It is the instrument by which the teleological goal of the Lord's presence will ultimately be realized. Throughout redemptive history, God comes to be with his people to bring salvation and usher in salvation's eschatological purposes. To consummate this purpose, God, in a mediated way, draws near to his people to redeem and reconcile them. Thus, when assessed properly, the presence of God truly is a vital motif for understanding redemptive history, God's eschatological purposes, and the theological message of Scripture as a whole.