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Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility: Biblical Perspective in Tension Reprint Edition

9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1579108595
ISBN-10: 1579108598
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

D. A. Carson is Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He is the author or editor of more than forty books, including From Sabbath to Lord's Day, The Sermon on the Mount, Exegetical Fallacies, Matthew (EBC), Showing the Spirit, How Long, O Lord? The Gospel of John, and The Gagging of God.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Pub; Reprint edition (January 7, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579108598
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579108595
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #291,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

D. A. Carson (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He is the author or coauthor of over 45 books, including the Gold Medallion Award-winning book The Gagging of God and An Introduction to the New Testament, and is general editor of Telling the Truth: Evangelizing Postmoderns and Worship by the Book. He has served as a pastor and is an active guest lecturer in church and academic settings around the world.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 81 people found the following review helpful By torowan on May 15, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this book (based on his dissertation) Carson surveys the literature from the time of Moses through the apostles and into the Christian era, examining attitudes toward these two topics frequently posited against each other in Christian thought: divine sovereignty, through which God ordains what will come to pass, and humans' responsibility for what they choose to do. This survey helpfully includes old and new testament biblical sources, but also deuterocanonical and other apocryphal sources, contrasting the development of rabbinic and christian thought over that period. (Carson writes with a protestant christian pressuposition). He closes his book with an honest assessment of the tension between these two axiomatic points of doctrine.
The book is divided into 5 sections:
- Introduction - chapter 1
- Tracing the issue in the hebrew canon - ch. 2 - 3
- Tracing the issue in 'intertestamental' works (including deuterocanonical and other works from that period proper, and rabbinic literature into the christian era) - ch. 4 - 10
- Analysis of the issue in the writings of John - ch. 11 - 12
- Theological reflections given all of the above - ch. 13
Each section is undoubtedly immanently accessible to people familiar with the subject domain. I found the second section very eye-opening, as other works I have read have exclusively focussed on biblical (non-deuterocanonical) sources: it was "tough slogging" to follow the academically oriented text, but rewarding to do so. The review of the new testament works of John, in contrast, is more accessible to any Christian who has thought about this subject, and it also is rewarding for its well-reasoned interpretation.
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22 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Josh on April 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
Wow. This book is amazing, it is actually his dissertation, so it is extremely hard going, but if you can make it through, your whole view on the tensions between God's divine sovreignty co-existing with the absolute responsibility of man for his actions will be changed.
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31 of 49 people found the following review helpful By theologicalresearcher on May 1, 2005
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What do you get when a biblical scholar writes a book on a difficult theological topic? Not a very good book. Carson attempts to explain the divine sovereignty-human responsibility tension in Scripture and early Jewish literature. He goes over the Old Testament, Apocrypha, Pseudopigrapha, DSS, and a host of other Jewish literature. According to Carson, as Judaism progressed in time human responsibility became more emphasized and merit theology began to develop (though DSS can be seen as an exception). He basically refutes E. P. Sanders' view that early Judaism was a highly grace oriented religion with no concept of "earned" righteousness (though he agrees with Sanders that early Judaism did not totally put aside God's grace in the salvific process). The section on how the OT and early Jews understood the tension is slightly informative. It can provide students some information on how early Jews formulated the tension between grace and merit. The more interesting (and more useful) sections of Carson's book is how the Gospel of John formulates the tension between divine sovereignty and human responsibility (chap. 12) and the theological implications of his study (chap. 13). Carson argues that John keeps the tension in balance (though not totally solving the dilemma) by positing BOTH divine sovereignty and human responsibility in people's actions. He argues that John, following the OT, does not see the logical incoherence of holding both concepts at the same time (i.e., humans are commanded to believe and obey even though God is sovereign over all human actions). The last chapter (13) pretty much summarizes all the points made in the book.Read more ›
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lou on March 14, 2011
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This is a great book for discussing its main premise but needs re-reading and much thinking through of ideas presented. A dictionary nearby is useful, too. Not being a theologian or scholar, it takes some work to get through but is well worth it. Carson presents a difficult topic and though more simplified explanations would be to my liking, I enjoyed/am enjoying the challenge.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Burns on October 29, 2014
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Unlike most authors who tackle this subject, Carson refrains from leaning too far in either direction. He pulls it off because his focus is on scripture. Consequently theologians and philosophers of various positions refer to this book. It is a must read for anyone who wants to do a little deeper study into the subject.
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