God’s Spirit and the Good Earth

God in Creation, by Jurgen Moltmann (Harper and Row, 1985; xvi + 365 pp.; $25.95, cloth). Reviewed by Stanley J. Grenz, North American Baptist Seminary, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

For Americans, Jurgen Moltmann is perhaps the most influential German theologian writing today. Moltmann, who teaches at Tubingen, has gained a reputation as “the pastor’s theologian,” and his latest book will only add to that renown.

God in Creation is the second installment in a projected five-volume series of what Moltmann calls “Messianic Theology.” Although it may appear to be Moltmann’s doctrine of Creation, he intends it as a contribution in the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.

Actually, the book defies traditional doctrinal categories. Moltmann weaves together materials from various doctrines—theology, anthropology, Christology, soteriology, eschatology—around his central theme, the Holy Spirit as the presence of the triune God in creation. In this symphonic presentation, he masterfully integrates such diverse concepts as ecology, covenant, and the glory of God.

For a relatively short work, God in Creation is encyclopedic. Moltmann finds space to include thoughts on natural theology, to take a jibe at process theology, to interact with the evolution-creation controversy, and to offer a definition of the concept of health.

Chapter 9 is especially exhilarating. There Moltmann describes the human person as bearing both the imago mundi (image of the world) and the imago Dei (the image of God). Building on the debates of the Reformation, Moltmann defines the image of God as “God’s relationship to human beings.” Although wholly sinful, the human person ...

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