Don Carson: Jesus and the Son of God

This is a wonderful book. I love Don Carson and nearly everything he has written is pure gold. This book is a wonderful exploration of the significance of “Son of God” within biblical theology (mostly messianic/Davidic themes) and systematic theology (doctrine of the Trinity and Christology). He weaves the two together beautifully.

Carson makes this observation from the NT:

New Testament texts quote Psalm 2:7 to prove Jesus is superior to angels, to prove Jesus did not take on himself the glory of becoming high priest but was appointed by God, and to demonstrate that God has fulfilled his promises to the Israelite ancestors by raising Jesus from the dead – even though, on the face of it, Psalm 2 does not mention angels, has no interest in the high priest’s office, and makes no mention of the resurrection of the Messiah. (p45)

Carson goes on to show using typology and Biblical theology how all these themes are woven together in a way that respects the original intent of the Psalm. Read the book to get the full explanation!

In fact, I’m surprised that Carson doesn’t make reference to the 1986 article by Douglas Moo entitled “The Problem of Sensus Plenior” (in “Hermeneutics, Authority and Canon” edited by Carson and Woodbridge, 1986, Zondervan). Moo has an excellent discussion of the struggles in trying to be sympathetic to the NT usage of the OT – but Moo gives up on the use of Psalm 2:7 in the NT as a kind of impossible-to-justify case. It is marvelous to see Carson so capably shows how the Psalm really is used that is within the realms of authorial intent and the progression of biblical theological themes without conceding an uncontrolled Sensus Plenior (i.e.: hidden meaning).  With humility Carson writes:

Many is the Christian who has thumbed through Old Testament pages to find the passage that has been quoted by the New Testament and applied to Jesus, only to feel let down by the fact that the connection is at best obscure, and in some cases seems to be talking about something radically different. It takes some hard work to uncover how these trajectories, these typologies, actually work. But when we take the time and effort to examine them, we are hushed in awe at the wisdom of God in weaving together intricate patterns that are simultaneously so well hidden in their development and so magnificently obvious in their fulfillment (pp76-76)

I’m so glad to see this material published which Carson has been lecturing on around the world for a long time. I remember him going through this material at a preaching conference in Melbourne in 1998.

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