Adam Johnson has already established himself as a leading theologian of the atonement, but in The Reconciling Wisdom of God: Reframing the Doctrine of the Atonement he considers the atonement in light of God’s wisdom, rather than simply as an act of justice.
By studying the atonement through the lens of God’s infinite wisdom, Johnson is able to speak meaningfully across the lines between the various theories of the atonement. The Reconciling Wisdom of God genuinely reframes the debate around the atonement in terms of God’s wisdom, making it a vital contribution to this essential debate.
Some theological technicians know how to take a doctrine apart but not how to put it back together, much less put it back to work. Adam Johnson has the know-how for reassembly. This Snapshot has a lot less Aulén and a lot more Jonathan Edwards than we’ve become accustomed to in books on the atonement. By putting it against the background of God’s orchestrating attribute of wisdom, Johnson joins the irreducible complexity of atonement to the unsurpassable perfection of God. A worthy goal, worthily carried out.
—Fred Sanders, author of The Deep Things of God and coeditor of Locating Atonement
I know of no other theologian who has given themselves so fully to the doctrine of atonement, and I know of no other work that so helpfully introduces a constructive account for the church. Christ’s atonement truly is a work “by, of, and for wisdom.” Let Adam introduce you to Christ’s work anew and show you how Christ reveals the wisdom of God.
—Kyle Strobel, author of Formed for the Glory of God and coauthor of Beloved Dust
Taking his cue from Jonathan Edwards’s sermon series, “The Wisdom of God in the Way of Salvation,” Adam Johnson offers a short, clear, and accessible account of the work of Christ in atonement as the outworking of divine wisdom. The result is a terrific introduction to the doctrine of the atonement, from which students and their teachers are sure to profit.
—Oliver D. Crisp, author of Jonathan Edwards among the Theologians and coeditor of Locating Atonement
“God became man so that in his life and death he might bear the full reality and consequences of our folly” (Page 45)
“The wisdom of God is not the way of the cross! It is the way of the resurrection through the cross.” (Page 75)
“We affirm broadly, then, that through his death and resurrection Jesus Christ sought to bring the full range of his creative purposes to fulfillment, reconciling all things to himself (Col 1:20).” (Page 61)
“theologians saw Christ’s work in terms of overcoming Satan’s power” (Page 2)
“For his purposes to be made good, for him to be well pleased, it was necessary to him that the creature, God’s covenant partner, participate in this work—this is what God sought in the first place. Nothing less than God could bring about this work. And nothing less than humankind, God’s covenant partner, playing our role, would satisfy God. And this is the dilemma of wisdom: only the full resources of God could bring this about, and only the full participation of the creature could please God.” (Pages 64–65)
Adam J. Johnson (Ph.D., TEDS) is the author of Atonement: A Guide for the Perplexed and God's Being in Reconciliation. He teaches theology and Western Classics in the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University.