Beale, G.K. and Mitchell Kim. God Dwells Among Us: Expanding Eden to the Ends of the Earth. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2014. 217 pp. $17.00. Purchase for less at Westminster Books or on Kindle.
Mitchell Kim is founding and lead pastor at Living Water Alliance Church in Chicago area. G.K. Beale holds the J. Gresham Machen Chair of New Testament and is professor of New Testament and biblical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary. He has written or contributed to a number of books including many commentaries.
Divided into 11 chapters, the authors take the reader on a biblical theology of the temple from Eden to the Tabernacle to the Temple to Christ to the Church and to the New Heaven and the New Earth. Along the way, they explain how God commanded Adam to “multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28). This verse, actually, verses 26-28, serve as the framework for the theology of the book.
The final two chapters offer an apologetic on why this has not been noticed before now and what it means regarding our call to missions.
Too be honest I was extremely interested in this book primarily because I was doing a little bit of study on the Tabernacle instructions and the importance of it to the nation of Israel while in the wilderness. I was not prepared to have my mind blown the way I did. To read how Eden pointed to the tabernacle which pointed to the temple which pointed to Christ who inaugurated the church which looked back on the temple and forward to the new heaven and the new earth and how it is all summed up in Genesis 1:26-28 was enough to make my brain hurt.
Genesis 1:26-28 states
Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’
I share this verse because it is the foundational commandment that has never been rescinded though it has been reiterated (see, Genesis 9:1, 7 and Matthew 28:18-20 as examples). This is their “controlling paradigm” throughout the entire study and was what drove them to understand the importance of Eden lost and Eden restored.
The authors treat this biblical theology with great care and do not shy away from challenges though I felt they attempted to sweep away any criticism with a few paragraphs in the second to last chapter. In the end, their motivation is a clarion call to fulfill the original command to fill the earth which is now accomplished through missions and evangelism.
I believe they succeeded.
I highly recommend this resource to any Christian what want to think a bit deeper and be challenged to see something they may have never seen before now. You will, however, have to read this book twice. The first time you read it will leave you in awe and wonder of the greatness of God. The second time will enable you to begin to understand the magnitude of what is being expressed.