Systematic Theology 3 - Creation, Christ, Salvation

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Is it all really about Christ?

Yes, says Norman R. Gulley resoundingly, in this third volume of his Systematic Theology. In another sweeping and yet incisive evaluation of Christian theology, this time focusing on the doctrines of creation, Christ, and salvation, Gulley drives home his overarching theme that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8), which impacts creation and re-creation (salvation). If we give up the supernatural reality of creation, what right have we to accept the other supernatural events throughout Scripture?

This focus on Christ has profound implications for our understanding of origins and our relationship to the Word of God. As Gulley notes, “The written Word of God is as unchangeable and authentic as the living Word of God. Belief in supernatural creation is as important as belief in supernatural Incarnation and supernatural salvation.” For the biblically grounded Christian, it is impossible to accept the latter two without the first.

Thus, as Gulley says in the preface, this volume evaluates evolutionary theory as primarily a contemporary assumption that has led traditional theology to accept non-biblical ideas that are incompatible with the relational Trinity and with the biblical creation narrative.

As creation was in a specified time, so Christ came in time and in flesh as God’s revelation to humanity. The salvation He embodies for humanity occurs in time—in His life, His death, His resurrection and ascension, and His ministry now in the heavenly sanctuary.

Throughout, as in the previous volumes, Gulley engages deeply and thoughtfully with other views on all these topics, and critiques them always against his basic credo of tota, prima, and sola scriptura.

“In this third volume of his systematic theology project, Norman R. Gulley covers the doctrines of creation, Christ, and salvation with thorough attention to detail. Encyclopedic in scope, the author interacts with the history of scholarship, engages contemporary issues, and applies theological insights to ministerial contexts. Diversity of perspectives is represented but the author’s positions are asserted and defended with clarity and charity.”

Glenn R. Kreider, Professor of Theological Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

“Norman Gulley’s Systematic Theology is a landmark study in Adventist theology. The doctrines of creation, Christ, and salvation—the three topics covered in this volume—are surveyed and analyzed against the backdrop of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. In the area of anthropology, the issue of creation and evolution receives extensive treatment, but it is on the doctrines of Christ and salvation that Gulley makes his most important contribution to Adventist theology. Apart from the extensive investigation of the biblical material, Gulley incorporates an impressive range of insights from the research of other scholars. His interaction with scholarly literature is exemplary. The book, although dealing with complex philosophical and theological matters, is easy to read and understand and should be in the library of every student of systematic theology.”

Gerhard Pfandl, Associate Director, Biblical Research Institute

“Dr. Norman Gulley’s third volume on systematic theology devotes eight of its seventeen chapters to the relationship of biblical creation and science. His treatment emphasizes the importance of arguments that are logical, consistent and biblical. Several important topics receive extensive treatment, including the creation days, human nature, the problem of evil, the nature of science and the natural evidence relating to creation and the global flood. In the process, he shows the inadequacy of non-biblical theories such as theistic evolution. Every scholar interested in the relationship of biblical creation and science will want to read this book.”

L. James Gibson, Director, Geoscience Research Institute

“Dr. Gulley has organized and analyzed a mass of material regarding important topics dealing with creation and evolution. Different points of view on these topics are compared and critiqued and he gives his judgment on what a biblically faithful interpretation will be. This significant work will certainly provide a basis for careful thought by those who agree with him and also those who do not agree.”

Leonard Brand, Professor of Biology and Paleontology and Chair
Earth and Biological Sciences Department
Loma Linda University

“Professor Norman Gulley’s third volume of his Systematic Theology is a magnum opus. It presents significant insights on creation, Christology, Pneumatology, hamartiology, and soteriology. He convincingly demonstrates how Christian theology is not only rooted in the biblical doctrine of Creation, but stands or falls on it. There is no place for theistic evolution. Dr. Gulley, with compelling reasons, argues that God, through Christ, provides the Atonement to solve the sin-problem, and to save those who respond to His prevenient grace. He argues for relational freedom. His sound exegetical principles, comprehensive approach, and profound biblical insights make this an excellent volume. Those wanting the latest research need this book. He presents a very insightful summary of the Protestant-Catholic dialogue on justification. Congratulations professor Gulley for your outstanding theological masterpiece!”

Jirí Moskala, Professor of Old Testament Exegesis and Theology
Chair, Old Testament Department, Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Andrews University

“This is the third of a multi-volume series on systematic theology by Norman Gulley, one of the foremost Seventh-day Adventist systematic theologians. The present volume covers themes related to creation, Christ, and salvation. Gulley’s presentation is very thorough. For example, his discussion of creation includes not only literary and theological issues in the Genesis creation accounts, but also a discussion of relevant references in the rest of Scripture, the image of God, sin and imputation, evolution, and related topics in science and philosophy. As always, his conclusions are biblically based and Christ centered. Gulley’s Systematic Theology series is the fruit of a lifetime of theological research and reflection, a priceless treasure.”

Tarsee Li, Professor of Hebrew Bible and Semitic Languages, Oakwood University

“Professor Norman Gulley’s third volume of his monumental Systematic Theology is again full of carefully presented biblical, historical, and theological data. The author introduces differing interpretations evenhandedly but is willing to listen to the biblical data and make a thoughtful, Scripture-based judgment call. Covering the doctrines of creation, Christ, and salvation, the volume will be a welcome reference work for many decades to come as future generations of biblical and systematic theologians interact with it. Gulley’s thoughtful and clear language makes this volume a pleasure to peruse.”

Gerald A. Klingbeil, Associate Editor, Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines
Research Professor of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern Studies
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, Andrews University

Norman R. Gulley is Research Professor of Systematic Theology at Southern Adventist University in Tennessee and holds a Ph.D. degree in systematic theology from The University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He has taught in the Far East (Japan and Philippines) at the collegiate and graduate seminary levels respectively, and in the United States during a long career of pastoring, teaching, academic administration, professional society involvement, writing, and extensive worldwide travel as a visiting lecturer.


Section Introduction: Creation
Chapter One: Planet Earth and Its Heavens
Chapter Two: Human Creation and Nature
Chapter Three: Human Fall and Nature
Chapter Four: Darwin’s Journey from Scripture to Philosophy
Chapter Five: Theistic Evolution: The Quest for Reconciliation
Chapter Six: Evolution Questioned: General Evaluation
Chapter Seven: Evolution Questioned: Scientific Evaluation
Chapter Eight: Evolution Questioned: Global Flood

Section Introduction: Christ
Chapter Nine: Redemption: Life, Death, Resurrection
Chapter Ten: King-Priest
Chapter Eleven: Christ: History and Theology

Section Introduction: Salvation
Chapter Twelve: Salvation: Cosmic Implications
Chapter Thirteen: Atonement Theories
Chapter Fourteen: Salvation Applied: Work of the Holy Spirit
Chapter Fifteen: Salvation Debate: Augustine of Hippo to Council of Trent
Chapter Sixteen: Salvation Debate: Post-Tridentine to Contemporary
Chapter Seventeen: Roman-Protestant Divide: “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” Documents


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