Seeing by the Light: Illumination in Augustine's and Barth's Readings of John, By Ike Miller
Seeing by the Light
  • Length: 248 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: May 05, 2020
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 4885
  • ISBN: 9780830848850

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How can we understand God's revelation to us?

Throughout the church's history, theologians have often answered this question by appealing to a doctrine of illumination whereby the Holy Spirit shapes our knowledge and understanding of Scripture. Without denying the role of the Holy Spirit or the cognitive role of illumination, Ike Miller casts a broader vision of divine illumination and its role in the Christian life. In his constructive approach, Miller argues for a fully trinitarian view of illumination that forms not just our intellect, but also appeals to the affections and encourages our ethical action.

In order to develop this theology of illumination, he explores both Augustine's and Karl Barth's readings of the Gospel and Epistles of John, including Barth's previously untranslated lectures on the Gospel of John. In light of his careful study of both the Johannine literature and the theologies of two giants from Christian history, Miller lays out a doctrine of illumination whereby we are enabled to know the Father and participate in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Studies in Christian Doctrine and Scripture, edited by Daniel J. Treier and Kevin J. Vanhoozer, promotes evangelical contributions to systematic theology, seeking fresh understanding of Christian doctrine through creatively faithful engagement with Scripture in dialogue with church.

"Ike Miller is one of the brightest young theologians in North America, as Seeing by the Light reveals. Miller draws upon Augustine and Barth, in conversation with Johannine literature, to construct a trinitarian view of illumination that accounts for the affectional, intellectual, and ethical dimensions of life. The result is a methodologically sophisticated, multidisciplinary volume that makes a significant contribution to current debates about illumination, participation in Christ, interpretation of Johannine literature, and theological method. An extraordinary volume. Highly recommended."

Bruce Riley Ashford, author of The Gospel of Our King and professor of theology and culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

"One way to summarize the story of the Bible is to say, with Jesus (quoting Isaiah 9:2), 'The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.' Today there is conflict not only between the kingdoms of light and darkness but also over rival sources of light. Moderns, who previously celebrated the light of reason, are now groping for ways to cope with post-Enlightenment, postmodern blues. Ike Miller has written a tract for the times that sets forth a Christian theological account of how the God who is light distributes his light to the world in Jesus Christ via the Spirit-illumined readings of the biblical texts that testify to him. This is a dogmatic account of the triune economy of illumination that, in shedding light on Augustine and Barth and other readers of Scripture, participates in the very phenomenon it describes. Take up and see!"

Kevin J. Vanhoozer, research professor of systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"A wonderful achievement—an enlightening study about divine illumination. In a time and world where we have too often turned Scripture into a dead text, Ike Miller's remarkable book sheds light on how we are called to live faithfully before God through our dynamic engagement with Scripture. A beautiful book."

L. Gregory Jones, dean and Williams Distinguished Professor of Theology and Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School


Series Introduction
1. Seeing by the Light
Part One: Augustine’s Reading of John and Doctrine of Illumination
2. Augustine's Method of Theological Interpretation
3. Illumination in Augustine's Theological Interpretation of John
4. Augustine's Doctrine of Illumination
Part Two: Barth’s Reading of John and Doctrine of Illumination
5. Karl Barth's Method of Theological Interpretation
6. Illumination in Karl Barth's Theological Interpretation of John
7. Barth's Doctrine of Illumination
Part Three: A Theology of Illumination
8. John as a Narrative of Illumination
9. Coming to See the Light and Walking in It
10. The Human Experience of Illumination
Author Index
Subject Index
Scripture Index


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Ike Miller

Ike Miller (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is lead pastor and church planter of Bright City Church. He lives in Durham, North Carolina, with his wife, Sharon, and their three children.