The Presence of God [eBook]
Its Place in the Storyline of Scripture and the Story of Our Lives
“God is with us.”
We say this in our sermons, prayers, and songs, but what does it really mean? For many Christians, the whole notion of God’s presence remains vague and hard to define.
Exploring both the Old and New Testaments, Professor J. Ryan Lister seeks to recover the centrality of the presence of God in the whole storyline of Scripture,a theme that is too often neglected and therefore misunderstood. In a world that longs for—yet struggles to find—intimacy with the Almighty, this book will help you discover the truth about God’s presence with his people and what his drawing near means for the Christian life.
J. Ryan Lister (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is associate professor of theology at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon.
“Ryan Lister knows more about the biblical teaching concerning God’s presence in the world than anyone else I know. And there is no theme more important to our relationship with God. Lister’s book is a great antidote to the temptation to see God only as a concept, doctrine, or formula, or to regard him only as a force in the world outside ourselves. The book shows that God is our friend and Father, and that in him we live and move and have our being.”
—John M. Frame, J. D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando
“We need more biblical theologies like this one! Ryan Lister has identified a central biblical theme that we easily take for granted. With the unity of Scripture to the fore, he has provided us with a diligently researched study of one of the golden threads that highlight the glories of Christ’s person and work. This is thematic biblical study at its best.”
—Graeme Goldsworthy, Former Lecturer in Old Testament, Biblical Theology, and Hermeneutics, Moore Theological College
“Ryan Lister provides a great service to the people of God by tracing the theme of God’s presence from Genesis to Revelation, showing that it is not only central to the Christian eschatological hope, but also the gracious means by which God moves fallen sinners to that glorious beatific vision.”
—Steven B. Cowan, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Lincoln Memorial University
“The whole of the Bible, from soon after the entrance of sin in Genesis 3 to Revelation 22, can be read as the story of God coming nearer. The Presence of God is filled with insight that unpacks the fullness of Scripture’s development on this theme, but also shows how precious the concept of God’s presence with his people is for our lives. Lister has been very careful to represent clearly and appropriately the development of this beautiful biblical theme, and he has done this in a way that is highly relevant for Christian identity and Christian living. Do yourself a favor—read this book and rejoice that God has chosen to come near.”
—Bruce A. Ware, Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“The much misunderstood notion of the presence of God is central to the Bible’s story from beginning to end. Ryan Lister explains how it is both God’s goal for us and the means by which God accomplishes his redemptive mission. This fresh approach to biblical theology is presented as an unfolding drama, with many practical and pastoral implications. In particular, it shows that a sound and scripturally mature analysis of the presence of God can help answer this world’s deep-seated spiritual desires.”
—David Peterson, Former Principal, Oak Hill College; Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer in New Testament, Moore Theological College
“Ryan Lister provides an exegetically grounded theology of relational divine presence that is traced along the Christ-centered storyline of the Bible. This work is an outstanding model of evangelical scholarship, and Lister’s conclusions invade every square inch of our lives as we seek to fulfill the primary reason for our existence—knowing the holy God who mercifully draws near to his people.”
—Erik Thoennes, Professor of Theology, Chair, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University; Pastor, Grace Evangelical Free Church, La Mirada, California
“God’s presence is fundamental to God’s story. It is a profound reality. While we have access to this reality in part through our experience of it, the reality is even more than what we experience—it is deep theology grounded in what God has said in his Word about himself. Lister’s work examines this fertile soil of God’s self-revelation, out of which our experiences can flourish with renewed vigor.”
—Mike Wilkerson, author, Redemption: Freed by Jesus from the Idols We Worship and the Wounds We Carry