Dominion and Dynasty

Today Andy Naselli posted an interview with Stephen Dempster about his outstanding book, Dominion and Dynasty: A Biblical Theology of the Hebrew Bible (New Studies in Biblical Theology; IVP, 2003).

Andy Naselli: How would you summarize your book’s argument in one sentence?

Stephen Dempster: God created humanity to rule the world in his image, and humanity was dethroned from that rule and will be re-enthroned as kings and queens of creation.

AN: How would you summarize your book’s argument in one paragraph?

SD: The Crown of God’s creation is clearly humanity, which is made in God’s very own image and invested with regal authority to rule all of his creation on planet earth. In the beginning there was perfect harmony between God, humanity, and the world. Adam and Eve fell from this regal position when they rebelled against God by listening to the Serpent. The world was plunged into death and chaos under the Serpent’s rule. God promised to restore the lost glory of humanity and creation by sending a human descendant to dethrone and defeat the Serpent, thus reinstalling humanity to its rightful regal role over creation. Consequently, two important themes that dominate the Old Testament stories are land and lineage, and are thus inextricably interconnected. Thus the concern for both in the early chapters of Genesis. Adam and Eve are exiled from Eden, and their hopes focus on a child. Genealogies become extremely important. At the end of the first major genealogy of the Bible, there is a hope expressed in the birth of a child for salvation from the curse upon the creation (Gen. 5:29). When Abram and Sarai appear on the scene, they are chosen by God to be the agents through which the lost glory of creation will be restored, and thus two of the major promises to them are land and descendants. In fact in the ensuing narrative, which focuses on the nation of Israel, the ultimate threats will become exile and barrenness. Eventually the hopes crystallize on the promise of a royal descendant through whom the lost glory of humanity and creation will be restored. Thus the storyline points to David and his line. The lengthy genealogies in the first book of the Bible that point in this Davidic direction are resumed in the last book of the Hebrew Bible, showing that every hope is pinned on David. This last book, Chronicles, begins with nine chapters of genealogies. The genealogies essentially summarize history from Adam to David. With David, the story begins!

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