- Jesus Our Redeemer: A Christian Approach to Salvation
In this postmodern era, fraught with a fierce attempt to undo any form of metanarrative, is it still necessary to articulate the significance of the Christ-Event, particularly in the way that is suggestive of a universal consequence? Gerald O'Collins undertakes the daunting task of demonstrating in this twelve-chapter book that Jesus the Christ remains universally significant for human salvation. Three major questions inform Jesus Our Redeemer. First, 'how is Christ the cause of our salvation?'; second, 'why do we need such redemption at all?'; and third, why does it appear to be bizarre 'to talk about sinful human beings being personally reconciled with God through the saving actions of Jesus Christ?' [End Page 98]
After an engaging explication of some of the key soteriological concepts in chapter one, O'Collins moves on to set out a broader context on which to develop the meaning, purpose, and achievement of the Christ-Event. He begins by examining the Christian concept of creation, zeroing in on the relationship between God – the creator and sustainer of the universe, and human beings – stewards chosen by God to care for the creation (p. 26). O'Collins locates Jesus Christ, through wisdom Christology, in the work of creation, making him its primary agent. This is crucial in order to 'see how creation and the story of salvation were united in the Son of God from all eternity' (p. 35).
Although O'Collin's soteriology is not entirely novel, it explores in an engaging way the often neglected broad context of the salvation that Jesus Christ enacted. For him, the salvific process includes the entirety of each component part of the Christ-Event, including: Jesus' birth, infancy, ministry, death, 'decent to the dead', resurrection, second coming, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (p. 84). Each of these components, for O'Collins, has contributed immensely to the salvation that God bestows upon humanity. And this divine salvation is broad enough to extend to all peoples of the world and therefore is not restricted to only those who have been exposed to the Christian message about Jesus Christ. For him, this is precisely the corollary of wisdom Christology: the 'obvious advantage of interpreting Christ's role of universal Saviour through the image of wisdom' is that 'Jewish-Christian scriptures and religion do no have a monopoly on wisdom' (p. 230). [End Page 99]