Book Review | ‘The City of God and the Goal of Creation’, by T. Desmond Alexander


“For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” –Hebrews 13:14

At the very heart of God’s plan for the world stands an extraordinary city. Beginning with the garden of Eden in Genesis and ending with the New Jerusalem in Revelation, the biblical story reveals how God has been working throughout history to establish a city filled with his glorious presence. Tracing the development of the theme of city in both testaments, T. Desmond Alexander draws on his experience as a biblical scholar to show us God’s purpose throughout Scripture to dwell with his redeemed people in a future extraordinary city on a transformed earth.

Part of the Short Studies in Biblical Theology series.

Buy the book on Amazon | Christianbook


My Review

This was a fascinating read! I haven’t read much in the way of theology in 2019; this book helped convince me to change that come 2020.

Alexander writes well (only a few times over my head, lol), and admirably charts the topic from Genesis to Revelation. I especially enjoyed the section on Babel. Did you know this is the only section where the word is translated as Babel and not Babylon in the entire Bible? The rest of the time, it is in fact rendered Babylon; the two can be considered one and the same. I often wondered about that!

The author’s explanation of the laws from Exodus to Numbers provided a refreshing recap without the repetition! This allows the present-day reader to see divine rationale without getting — frankly — bogged down in material initially geared for an orally-based culture.

Alexander also loops in the Psalms at relevant points, reminding the reader that they aren’t an isolated collection of songs. Rather, they point back to their base and roots in said oral culture.

The City of God always looks ahead to the city’s ultimate fulfillment in Christ’s return and God coming to dwell permanently with mankind. God’s creativity was not limited to his initial creation in Genesis; rather, we see it throughout both the Bible, into present day, and the anticipation of the perfect city to come.

I received a copy of the book from Crossway. All opinions are my own.

About the Author


T. Desmond Alexander (PhD, The Queen’s University of Belfast) is senior lecturer in biblical studies and director of postgraduate studies at Union Theological College in Belfast. Alexander is the chairman of the Tyndale Fellowship for Biblical and Theological Research, served as coeditor of The New Dictionary of Biblical Theology, and has written many volumes in the area of biblical theology. T. D. is married to Anne, and they have two adult children.

Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies, Union Theological College, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

Dane C. Ortlund (PhD, Wheaton College) is chief publishing officer and Bible publisher at Crossway. He serves as an editor for the Knowing the Bible series and the Short Studies in Biblical Theology series, and is the author of several books, including Edwards on the Christian Life. He is an elder at Naperville Presbyterian Church in Naperville, Illinois. Dane lives with his wife, Stacey, and their five children in Wheaton, Illinois.

Executive Vice President of Bible Publishing and Bible Publisher, Crossway

Miles V. Van Pelt (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the Alan Belcher Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages, academic dean, and director of the Summer Institute for Biblical Languages at Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson. He also serves on the pastoral staff of Grace Reformed Church in Madison, Mississippi. He and his wife, Laurie, have four children.

Alan Belcher Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages and Academic Dean, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson