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The Reconciling Wisdom of God: Reframing the Doctrine of the Atonement

ISBN: 9781577997252
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A Work by, of, and for Wisdom

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.

Praise for The Reconciling Wisdom of God

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

Top Highlights

“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)

The Snapshots Series

The Snapshots series, edited by renowned scholar Michael Bird, engages significant issues in contemporary biblical scholarship, making them accessible to busy students of the word and applicable in the life of the church.

Learn more about the other titles in this series.


  • On Telling Stories
  • Atonement as a Work of Wisdom: Snapshots from Scripture
  • Atonement as a Work of Wisdom: Snapshots from the History of Doctrine
  • Wisdom, Faith Seeking Understanding, and Theories of the Atonement
  • Defining Wisdom
  • Atonement: A Work by, of, and for Wisdom
  • Wisdom and the Breadth of Atonement: In Dialogue with Jonathan Edwards
  • Wisdom, Atonement, and Polemics: Reconciling the Atonement
  • The Way Forward: A New Direction

Product Details

  • Title: The Reconciling Wisdom of God: Reframing the Doctrine of the Atonement
  • Author: Adam J. Johnson
  • Series Editor: Michael F. Bird
  • Series: Snapshots
  • Publisher: Lexham Press
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Pages: 148
  • Format: Logos Digital, Paperback
  • Trim Size: 5x8
  • ISBN: 9781577997252

Adam Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Theology in the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University, USA. He is the author of God's Being in Reconciliation (T&T Clark, 2012), and editor of the forthcoming T&T Clark Companion to the Atonement.

Sample Pages from The Reconciling Wisdom of God


2 ratings

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  1. Glenn Crouch

    Glenn Crouch


    The Author of the book takes on the massive subject of the Atonement, arguing for the use of Wisdom (God's Wisdom to be precise) to be the frame within other views can "fit", which thus allows us to see the strengths of those views. Whilst he doesn't deny many / most of the important aspects of those different views, he does see that making any one of them the priority (or perhaps the authority or the foundation) then leads to the current conflict. I have no real objections to the Author's thesis - and see that God as Trinity in His Wisdom planned for our salvation, with the full involvement of the Holy Trinity. And I'm reasonably sure that the people whom he is trying to convince believe this also. I'm not sure how it solves some of the problems that the Author raises. It is true if we had God's Wisdom then most if not all of the things that divide us as Christians would be gone - but while we are still on this side of the New Heavens and the New Earth, we still deal with sin - within us and within the world. Thus we will continue to poorly see God's wisdom.
  2. Glen Johnson

    Glen Johnson


    The author has persuaded me to think first about God's perfections as lenses for viewing the atonement, and to think afterward about theories of the atonement. High praise for that! After my first read I believed that the author's treatment of the atonement was better than his treatment of wisdom. I changed my mind after the second read: I find his development of both to be edifying. Again, high praise. On page 99 Johnson describes Paul's statement "I have been crucified with Christ" as "a profoundly representational statement (I was crucified with Christ, rather than he was crucified for me)." That statement led me to fresh awareness that I want to be better versed in representational thinking. It also prompted me to wish that the author would "unleash" more of his exegetical prowess in addition to merely citing biblical references.


Print list price: $16.99
Save $2.00 (11%)