• Nothing but the Blood Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2006

    The story of Melchizedek (Gen. 14:17-24) is both curious and unexpected. It is a story of immense significance in the development of the story of redemption. Abram is faced with a stark choice the consequences of which will reverberate down the corridors of the Old Testament and right into our own time. Returning from his great military victory in the rescuing of Lot and the cities near the Dead Sea (Gen. 14), gratitude to Abram was certainly in order. Two kings greet the conquering hero. But how different the encounters are! One (Melchizedek) is appreciative and gracious; the other … View Resource

  • The People, Place, and Presence of God Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2006

    There is a sense in which the whole of the Old Testament is simply the outworking of the promise in Genesis 3:15 — that the seed of the serpent will be at enmity with the seed of the woman and that the latter will be triumphant. Now, in Genesis 12, we reach another focal point of messianic expectation — the victorious “seed” will be from the loins of a man called Abraham. Like a ringing bell, the next few chapters will announce this messianic lineage with deafening tintinnabulation (ringing of bells). Over and over, a “seed” (the ESV renders … View Resource

  • The Undoing of Babel Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2006

    Man’s nature,” Calvin wrote in the Institutes of the Christian Religion, “is a perpetual factory of idols” (1.11.8). Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the Babel episode (Gen. 11:1–9). Babylon becomes in time the most important city in Mesopotamia, and in Bible history a synonym for worldly opposition to God. Thus, at the close of the Scriptures, in the successive destruction of the enemy’s powers, is the downfall of Babylon: “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!” (Rev. 18:2). The progeny of the serpent (Gen. 3:15) populate history, often gathering collectively in … View Resource

  • The Covenant Keeper Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2006

    Two important words emerge in the story of Noah that will echo throughout the pages of Scripture: grace (Gen. 6:8, ESV has “favor”) and covenant (v. 18). In a context where the sinfulness of man is said to be “great” (v. 5), Noah finds “favor in the eyes of the Lord” (v.8), and because of it, he escapes the cataclysmic deluge that is the consequence of God’s retributive anger toward human rebellion. The grace of God shown to Noah (and his family) is covenantal in form: “I will establish my covenant with you” (6:18). This is … View Resource

  • Favor in God’s Eyes Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2006

    Nondum considerasti, quanti ponderis sit peccatum!” wrote Anselm in his famous work on the incarnation, Cur Deus Homo. Translated, it means: “You have not considered how weighty sin is!” Low views of sin breed tepid views of the Gospel — views that the modern church is inclined to adopt. Salvation thus becomes a therapy of self-help rather than a deliverance from God’s wrath. Consequently, these opening chapters of Genesis are all the more counter-cultural in this postmodern age of ours. The opening chapters of Genesis depict for us a number of issues resulting from Adam and Eve’s … View Resource

  • Can Snakes Talk? Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2006

    With the possible exception of John 3:16, no verse in the Bible is more crucial and definitive than Genesis 3:15: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heal.” As Alec Motyer writes, “The whole of Scripture is not packed into every scripture, but we may allowably expect every scripture to prepare and make room for the whole. This is what happens in Genesis 3:15” (Look to the Rock, IVP, p. 34). Several important issues emerge all at once … View Resource

  • Creation Ex Nihilo Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2006 | Genesis 1

    No sentence is more pregnant with meaning than the opening one of the Bible: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). It tells us several things all at once, four of which are worth reflecting upon: First and foremost, it tells us that God is the ultimate Being. Before there was a universe, there was God. He exists independently of matter and sequence of time. God transcends space and time. He is not limited by spatial considerations (He is everywhere in His fullness continually). Nor is He locked into the present in any way … View Resource

  • Vanity Fair Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2006

    For John Bunyan, a Puritan to his fingertips, the Christian life was an experience of conflict and tension with this world. Imprisoned for upwards of twelve years, he experienced firsthand the world’s hostility. Cheerful and sanguine by temperament, his portrayal of what believers can expect from this world is both solemn and dark: the path that leads to the Celestial City winds through unavoidable places of considerable, even deadly, danger — places like the town called Vanity with its “lusty Fair.” Here, all the resources of protection and resolution will be needed to prevent contamination and possible destruction. Christian … View Resource

  • The Breath of God Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2004

    Creation The ancient hymn Veni Creator Spiritus, composed in the eighth century and part of the Roman breviary of Vespers, is a hymn extolling the Holy Spirit. John Dryden’s magnificent translation renders the opening lines this way: “Creator Spirit, by whose aid the world’s foundations first were laid.” The activity of the Holy Spirit as Creator finds expression in the second verse of the Bible! Describing the undeveloped creation as “without form and void” and in “darkness,” the author describes the Spirit of God as “hovering over the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:2). Forming a bookend … View Resource