This review appeared in the February 2013 edition of the Record of the Free Church of Scotland.
D. A. Carson (2012), Jesus the Son of God, IVP, 128pp.
This short book on an immense subject is an edited version of three lectures given by the author in different locations. The first chapter surveys the variety of ways the word 'son' is used in the Bible, including with regard to Jesus; the second chapter focuses mainly on two passages (Hebrews 1 and John 5:16-30) and what they say about the Sonship of Jesus; and the third chapter looks at what the Sonship of Jesus means in both Christian and Muslim contexts.
The first chapter reminds readers that not all uses of the term 'son', when applied to Jesus, are references to his deity. Carson's explanation of how the author of Hebrews used a selection of Old Testament texts to explain the Sonship of Jesus and his kingdom is intriguing. In his third chapter, Carson looks at several implications of Sonship language, including the tense relationship (at times) between systematic theology and biblical theology and also the current furore over suitable translations of Sonship terminology for Moslem converts whose background has no concept of God having a son.
The author regards his treatment as brief, and it is if one goes by the word count alone. Yet Carson, as usual, manages to pack a great deal into a few words and so there is a great deal within this short book for helpful reflection. It does not take long to read, but it will take a while to digest, although if read carefully it will not give spiritual indigestion.