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God's Good World

Reclaiming the Doctrine of Creation

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The doctrine of creation has often been neglected in Christian theology. Distinguished evangelical theologian Jonathan Wilson exposes what has been missing in current theological discourse and offers an original, constructive work on this doctrine.

The book unites creation and redemption, showing the significance of God's work of creation for understanding the good news of redemption in Jesus Christ. Wilson develops a trinitarian account of the life of the world and sets forth how to live wisely, hopefully, peaceably, joyfully, and generously in that world. He also shows how a mature doctrine of creation can help the church think practically about contemporary issues, including creation care, sexuality, technology, food and water, and more.
Part 1
1. Missing Creation in the Church
2. Missing Creation in the Academy
3. Missing Creation in Society
Part 2
4. The Dialectic of the Kingdom
5. One Creator: Father, Son, and Spirit
6. Remapping the Doctrine of Creation
7. Rereading Scripture
Part 3
8. Construing the World
9. Whatever Happened to Worldliness?
10. Consuming Desire
11. Stories, Practices, Prayers
12. Blessed Are the Meek
13. Being and Becoming Persons
14. Bodies
15. Worship


"God's Good World is a very important book. By pointing out how a robust doctrine of creation has been missing--from the church, from education, and from society at large--Jonathan Wilson shows why evangelical engagement with our world is so feeble. He then lays the foundation for a much richer life by showing the necessary connections between redemption and creation. Most important, he shows how we can build on that trinitarian foundation--in our attitudes toward the body, 'consuming,' the internet, business, and much more--all in the light of transformed worship. All Christians should read this book."

Loren Wilkinson, Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia

"In the current discussions concerning the biblical doctrine of creation, we often bypass what is most important to us as Christians as we debate issues like the age of the earth or the length of the creation days. Jonathan Wilson corrects this oversight as he masterfully guides us to a rich appreciation of God as our Creator and Redeemer. Here we have a theologian who is committed to Scripture, highly skilled as a biblical interpreter, and who knows that theology must be connected to our lives. He enriches our knowledge of God as well as ourselves and moves us to fresh wonder and worship."

Tremper Longman III, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College

"Wilson is right; the modern church has been 'missing basic research on the doctrine of creation.' As a result, we modern Christians have very often fallen prey to or even been cheerleaders for many of the most self-destructive habits of our age. This book should be mandatory reading for pastors, theological students, and believers who care about the burning moral issues of our day and want to rethink them theologically."

Brian Brock, King's College, University of Aberdeen

"In God's Good World, Jonathan Wilson offers a piercing diagnosis of the brokenness of contemporary church, academy, and society. He then offers a beautiful corrective in which Jesus Christ is the telos--the ultimate purpose--for person and community. Allowing trinitarian creation and redemption in Jesus Christ to cast mutual light on each other, God's Good World is a mature, robust work with the added gift of some profound moments of autobiography."

Philip Rolnick, professor of theology, University of St. Thomas

"In the many years that I have taught a theology of creation course to undergraduate students, I have searched in vain for a substantial and accessible text that would address the whole range of ingredient topics: God the Creator; the world as creation; the human creature; creation-care; the New Creation; biblical interpretation; theology and science; and so on. My search is over. This beautifully organized and winsomely written book by Jonathan Wilson far exceeds my hopes. From the opening chapters on how the doctrine of creation has gone 'missing' in church, through the bracing central chapters on doctrine and Scripture, all the way to the moving meditation on bodies near the end, this volume captivates, instructs, challenges, and delights. It will become the standard text on creation for years to come."

Douglas Harink, professor of theology and dean of the Faculty of Arts, King's University College, Edmonton, Canada; author, 1 & 2 Peter in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible

"Jonathan Wilson's scholarly and comprehensive work insists that the goal of creation can only be understood in Christ, and that redemption reaches all things. His careful research has established significant and original connections to a wide variety of related topics, but also provides a vital commentary on numerous other authors, as well as on scripture itself. God's Good World is a major contribution to the growing literature on a doctrine that has been sadly neglected until recently, but it is charged with hope. Anyone who wants to discover the rich resource that Christian theology provides both the church and our world as we face the acute environmental challenges will be grateful for this timely book."

Peter Harris, founder, A Rocha

The Author

  1. Jonathan R. Wilson

    Jonathan R. Wilson

    Jonathan R. Wilson (PhD, Duke University) is senior consultant for theological integration with Canadian Baptist Ministries and is a teaching fellow at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He has served as a pastor and is the author of numerous...

    Continue reading about Jonathan R. Wilson


"Wilson strongly grounds his theology in a Trinitarian doctrine of creation; his view of creation as Christological is also admirable. Often in ecological theology, academics either overshoot to being bio-centric, or underdevelop doctrines and engage in androcentrism. The corrective--and evangelical--perspective must be theocentric. Wilson does this skillfully. . . . [This book] will be of broad interest to students, pastors, theologians, and academics. . . . God's Good World moves Christian evangelical theology of creation beyond ecology or systematic theology into a tangible, applicable realm; Wilson is to be commended for this. . . . Wilson is innovative in his thesis that the suffering of the doctrine of creation can be attributed to a deficiency in the view of redemption."

Cristina Richie,

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

"Wilson incisively and convincingly accuses most Christians of adhering to a form of Gnosticism or disembodied theology: we focus on spirit over matter, believing that our bodies and the material world have little to do with God's intentions for our souls. . . . Wilson offers a fascinating exploration of various incomplete Trinities that Christians do worship . . . which is worth further study. Wilson also offers a very enlightening look at scripture relating to the doctrine of creation. . . . There is inspiration and insight here, and readers will appreciate Wilson's views of 'worldliness,' consumerism, desire, and personhood. His challenging words about 'meekness' stand out in particular. . . . Always, Wilson points to the larger story of God's redemption as the proper frame for encounters with the fallen world: creation is always being redeemed."

Laura Hartman,

Biblical Theology Bulletin

"A book full of hope. . . . Wilson presents a theology of creation that is meaningful and relevant, a theology that does not get weighed down in political disagreements, because its politics is rooted in Jesus. Both biblical and practical, God's Good World is a book that will benefit any Christian who takes the time to mine the many treasures found within its pages. . . . God's Good World is a book that will surprise you. It is a theology of creation, but it is not just about Genesis 1-2 or 'creation care.' Wilson shows how creation is tied to redemption and how creation is a part of the whole drama of Scripture. He shows how ignoring the doctrine of creation will lead to false doctrines and unhealthy practices. God's Good World calls the church back to the biblical doctrine of creation found in Scripture. . . . This is a book that will help give the doctrine of creation the proper hearing and attention it deserves."

Scott Elliott,

Englewood Review of Books

"Wilson's book is sorely needed. . . . The synthetic character of the book's constructive theology is richly biblical. Another strength of the book is Wilson's careful and consistent vocabulary. He unfailingly uses the term 'creation' and warns against the imprecision of alternatives. Similarly, his revision of the notions of 'natural selection' and the 'selfish gene' give his work contextual purchase. This controlled language compliments the actual argument of God's Good World and deepens the reading experience. It's admirable that Wilson can do this without coming off as arcane. It should also be noted that Wilson is aware of relevant scholarship. The book's notes do an excellent job connecting readers to various nodes of the diverse and rhizomatic related literature. . . . The book is a timely contribution. Wilson has provided a wonderful service to groups wanting to explore the doctrine of creation in Christian perspective. . . . The world is indeed good, and Wilson provides a grammar for affirming this with the nuance necessary to match contemporary challenges with ancient wisdom."

Anthony G. Siegrist,

Review and Expositor

"[Wilson] argues that the Church has neglected the biblical doctrine of Creation--Wilson calls it a case of 'teleological amnesia'--and all of Western culture is the worse for it. . . . God's Good World is not the final word on the subject; Wilson doesn't claim that it is. But he makes a good case for where the discussion should go from here."

Ken Keathley,

Southeastern Theological Review

"In congruence with the classical Christian outlook, one of Wilson's primary goals, and it is an important one, is to link, or re-link, God the Trinity's creative and redemptive work. . . . I enjoyed Wilson's work and learned much from it. I am encouraged that someone of his influence and persuasion is engaging the notion of creation in a deep, biblical, theological way. We must do the same."

David K. Naugle,

One Theology blog

"I have been waiting for a book like this for years, and am so very happy this has arrived. Our best theologians have reminded us that to fully understand Christ's work of redemption and the very nature of God's Kingdom we must start--as the Biblical narrative itself does--with the doctrine of creation. . . . To have a full-orbed and fully fruitful view of creation, we will have to examine all the implications of the reality, and this fine book takes up this challenge wonderfully. . . . Not only does this book unlock important--essential!--insights about the nature of creation and the implications of living in a created reality but it points us towards the very character of a God who is a creator. . . . This is a beautiful book, wonderfully written, far-ranging (and it even includes some truly lovely woodcuts enhancing each vital chapter). We are very, very glad for this, hoping it is widely read and deeply pondered. . . . A great book."

Byron Borger,

Hearts & Minds Books blog

"This is mostly a work of biblical studies, and it is rather academic, but I think it is so very significant that it transcends the genre, making it a tremendous and important resource for basic Christian growth and for anyone who cares about Christian cultural engagement and social action. . . . I thoroughly enjoyed this meaty work . . . and really want to honor it as a much-needed contribution, one of the most valuable books of the year. There are some handsome art pieces, too, and I'm glad when publishers go that extra step to make a book interesting and useful."

Byron Borger,

Hearts & Minds Books blog (named God's Good World one of the "Best Books of 2013")

"Wilson is a theologian for the church. As such, his concern for correct theological articulation is matched by his concern that the church live faithfully in the world, a world construed as God's good world redeemed by its creator. Because of this, the book is the sort of doctrinal work that is an enormous help to the preacher or the church leader who is tasked with teaching the church and helping a congregation imaginatively live in a created and redeemed cosmos. It is the sort of work that easily engages current issues (e.g. climate change, social injustice) with the theological resources needed to change the way we see both the problems and the solutions."

Samuel V. Adams,

Transpositions blog