The Home of God: A Brief Story of Everything

Miroslav Volf and Ryan McAnnally-Linz. Brazos, $26.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-58743-479-2

This arduously meticulous treatise by Volf (Exclusion and Embrace), a theology professor at Yale Divinity School, and McAnnally-Linz (Public Faith in Action), associate director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture, lays out a “systematic theology” that takes “the home of God as the goal of creation.” Providing a close reading of the Bible, the authors contend that Christians’ purpose is to make the mortal world worthy of God: “Creation comes fully to itself when, indwelled by God, it becomes God’s home and creatures’ home in one.” Examining Genesis and Exodus, Volf and McAnnally-Linz suggest that Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit and the Israelites worshipping the golden calf forestalled God’s intention to “dwell in the world.” The gospel of John describes the fulfillment of this promise and details the “arrival of God’s glory into the world in the temple of Jesus’s flesh,” encouraging readers to embrace Jesus’s example of having “joy and hope” in the face of suffering. The thorough and rigorous scriptural analysis, however, is hampered by maddeningly indecipherable prose (“Home is a bounded material, social, and personal space of resonant and reciprocal belonging that is at its best when it is situated in a homelike relation to all other spaces”). The thesis may be novel, but the stiff execution means few will stick around to explore it. (Aug.)
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