Due to a recent decision I have been presented with, I decided to pick up John Goldingay’s Old Testament Theology series and do some casual reading from it. This paragraph resonated with me:
The First Testament story never talks about God having a plan for the world or a plan of salvation or a plan for people’s individual lives, and the story it tells does not look like one that resulted from a plan. God certainly had an aim, a vision, some goals, and sometimes formulates a plan for a particular context, but works out a purpose in the world in interaction with the human beings who are designed to be key to the fulfilling of those goals. God is not a micro-manager who seeks to make every decision for the company, but the wiser kind of executive who formulates clear goals but involves the work force in determining how to implement them, and also recognizes that the failure of members of the work force will require ongoing flexibility in pursuing these goals. The story does not give the impression that from the beginning God had planned the flood, or the summons of Abraham, or the exodus, or the introduction to the monarchy, or the building of the temple, or the exile, or the sending of a messiah. It portrays these as responses to concrete situations, while all are outworkings of God’s purpose and character. Our security lies not in the world’s actual story being the outworking of God’s plan (that would be scary) but in its unfolding within the control of an executive who will go to any lengths to see that the vision gets fulfilled–even dying for it. In this sense the lamb of God was slain before the world’s foundation. God has always been that kind of God. (1:60)
I love how Goldingay is asking what impression the biblical story leaves us with. This is methodologically challenging to those who would assert that certain attributes, say divine sovereignty, should serve as our hermeneutical foil for understanding God and Scripture. Goldingay places greater emphasis on the impression left by the story than on anything we might impress upon the story.