An Unsettling God is a refinement of a few chapters in Brueggemann’s Theology of the Old Testament. The thesis of this book is stated succinctly in the preface:
“The big idea of this book (that echoes the big idea of the Old Testament) is that the God of ancient Israel (who is the creator of heaven and earth) is a God in relationship, who is ready and able to make commitments and who is impinged by a variety of ‘partners’ who make a difference in the life of God. (pg. xi)”
Instead of seeing God as an impersonal force as in some religious belief systems, or as an unmovable mover as in typical Christian scholastic theology, Brueggemann asserts that the God of the Hebrew Bible is a “fully articulated personal agent” (pg. 2) who is an “available agent who is not only able to act but is available to be acted upon.” (pg. 9) This idea is further explicated by examining Yahweh’s dialogical relationships with four key partners: Israel, the individual human, the nations, and all of creation.
I find this refreshing in some ways – it shows the dynamic aspect of our relationship with God – that in God’s dealing with us, not everything is static (except of course his lovingkindness and covenant faithfulness to us, despite us). I like knowing our relationship with the Lord is a dynamic one is that there is some give and take and while God has absolute sovereignty over all things, I think he limits himself in someways to include human agency in carrying out his will an purposes in redemptive history. Some of my thinking about the Bible and how it is to be read and understood has been going through some development lately – its been an interesting journey to say the least! 🙂