1. An Adamic background to Philippians 2:5-11.

I’ve been powering through Beale’s A New Testament Biblical Theology in the past week. In Part 4, he explores sin as idolatory, especially in relation to the image of God - and the end-time restoration of God’s image in humanity, firstly in Christ, then in those who identify with him.

In Chapter 14, he explores how Paul explores passages that support this notion, including Philippians 2:5-11. N. T. Wright sees a strong “Adam-Christology” in this passage, while Beale is more tentative, saying “there is no clear verbal allusion to any OT passages” (458) but that Paul “may have merely presupposed the network of associations with Gen. 1-3” (459).

Beale’s argument is that Adam (or the “earthling”) was created “in the image of God,” and functions “as God’s image,” but that image was lost after his disobedience. Jesus, as the last Adam, restores the image by accomplishing what Adam failed.

2. Bill Gates' summer reading list.

Bill Gates sent out his summer reading list. The Overstory by Richard Powers, a book about trees was also recommend in one of Tim Ferriss' 5-Bullet Friday newsletter. I’ll put it on my reading list.

3. Japanese folktale of the selfish scholar.

I came across this Ted-ed video about the Japanese folktale of the selfish scholar. There are echoes of Jesus approaching “unclean” people and healing them, rather than being defiled.

Also, ponder this in dialogue with Hannah Arendt’s critique of “armchair philosophy.” I’ll butcher her thought, please listen to this Philosophize This! podcast episode as one entry point into her thoughts.

4. Erich Fromm quote about the meaning of life.

On another Philosophize This! episode, I heard this quote from Erich Fromm.

There is only one meaning of life: the act of living itself.

I’ve been thinking about my place on this earth. I have Christianity’s textbook answers, but right now they are unsatisfactory. I’m exploring; reading Beale has been helpful, but I want to get to Moberly’s The God of the Old Testament as soon as I can - hence the blitzing through Beale.

I have deep existential questions that need answers.

5. Acts 2 as the descent of the eschatological temple.

In Ch. 18 of A New Testament Biblical Theology, Beale proposes reading Pentecost, the descent of the Holy Spirit in “tongues of fire”, as a “theophany in a newly inaugurated eschatological temple” (594).

It’s a fascinating suggestion, and he builds a convincing case from the OT and early Judaism about how the “tongues of fire” symbolises God’s presence, even one that is related to the “heavenly sanctuary.”

This argument works within his wider schema that Jesus commences the new-creational temple building at his resurrection (and not death?), and that the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost extended that temple-building activity in an eschatological manner by involving those who identify with Jesus.

Perhaps I will explore Beale’s “temple-building” idea in another post, but his The Temple and the Church’s Mission in the NSBT series is recommended reading.

6. Moo on Barclay’s Paul and the Gift.

I looked up reviews of John Barclay’s 2015 Paul and the Gift on a whim and stumbled on Douglas J. Moo’s comments on Themelios 41-2. It’s a good read, especially his summary of the “New Perspective on Paul” - which was primarily championed by James Dunn and N. T. Wright who built on E. P. Sanders' work.

For those confused about what’s new about the “New Perspective,” including myself, Moo has an excellent one-sentence summary:

At the heart of the new perspective is a concern to make the issue of Gentile inclusion the driving force and ideological hub of Paul’s theologizing.

The rest of this essay is worth reading because Moo suggests that Barclay charts a via media between both “old” and “new” perspectives. It has caused me to re-think my leanings towards N. T. Wright’s arguments. I’ll need to do more reading on this eventually. However, I’ll need to decide where to spend my energy. Personally, I prefer studying the OT, but a lot of modern evangelical theology is built on the NT. Tough choices.