D. A. Carson: “The Wrath of God”

Baker just published a collection of essays by theological heavyweights:

McCormack, Bruce L., ed. Engaging the Doctrine of God: Contemporary Protestant Perspectives. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008.

Here are the contributors (corresponding to their chapter number):McCormack

  1. David F. Wright
  2. N. T. Wright
  3. D. A. Carson
  4. Paul Helm
  5. Oliver D. Crisp
  6. John Webster
  7. Henri A. Blocher
  8. Pierre Berthoud
  9. Stephen N. Williams
  10. Bruce L. McCormack
  11. Donald Macleod

Check out the Table of Contents in this ten-page PDF of the front matter and preface.

D. A. Carson’s essay “The Wrath of God” (pp. 37–63) is a must-read. Here’s just the skeleton of his argument:

Basic Review (pp. 38–42)

  1. Words and Expressions: This briefly surveys Hebrew and Greek words and expressions for wrath.
  2. The Story Line: Far more important than surveying words and expressions for wrath is tracing “the theme of God’s wrath . . . through the biblical story line” (p. 40).

Some Attempts at Exegetical and Theological Precision (pp. 42–61)

  1. “It is exegetically unwarranted to depersonalize God’s wrath, reducing it to an abstract and impersonal manifestation of irrevocable and implacable justice” (p. 42).
  2. “It is equally unwarranted to limit God’s wrath by several other clever maneuvers” (p. 46).
  3. “Perhaps it is here that I should venture a few comments on the doctrine of the impassibility of God” (p. 47).
  4. “Serious reflection on the wrath of God is a necessary element in any faithful understanding of what the fundamental human problem is” (p. 49).
  5. “The wrath of God bears, in several ways, on how we understand the cross” (p. 56).
  6. “There will come a time, in the consummation of all things, when the wrath of God will no longer hang over us in any sense” (p. 61).

Further Theological and Practical Implications (pp. 62–63)

  1. “Although it would take us into a domain we cannot possibly pursue here, there must be some sense in which we should be wrathful as God is wrathful” (p. 62).
  2. “Rightly integrated into Christian theology, the wrath of God enhances our grasp of God’s love” (p. 62).
  3. “There must be some sense in which God is praised for his wrath” (p. 62).
  4. “Try tears” (p. 63).


  1. says

    I think this book would be worth buying just for this 26 page section. I went ahead and linked to this page for my friends on my blog. I hope you don’t mind.

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