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God's Provision, Humanity's Need

The Gift of Our Dependence

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In a world often consumed with self-sufficiency, this book reminds us that humans have an innate need for the grace of God's personal presence.

Using a rubric from analytic philosophy that defines "fundamental need," Christa McKirland makes an exegetical and theological case that human beings were created to need the presence of God in order to flourish. She argues for a new way of understanding the image of God and shows the significance of the imago Dei for other topics in the theological system. McKirland explains that the ongoing need for the grace of God's personal presence is not a liability but is our greatest human dignity and is a critical key to understanding human flourishing.

This book sets forth a constructive theological anthropology that affirms the value of all human beings. Professors, students, and scholars of theology will value this work.


Foreword by Alan J. Torrance
Introduction: Theological Anthropology and Human Need
Part 1: Introducing Need
1. Defining Fundamental Human Need
Part 2: The Image of God
2. The Image of God and Initial Humans
3. The Image of God and Jesus Christ
4. The Image of God and the Temple
Part 3: Divine Presence: Temple, Bread, Water, Sonship, Firstborn, and Adoption
5. Divine Presence in the Old Testament: The Significance of Bread, Water, and Sonship
6. Divine Presence in Jesus: The New Significance of Temple, Bread, Water, and Firstborn
7. Divine Presence in the New Covenant Community: The Ongoing Significance of Temple, Bread, Water, and Adoption
Park 4: Divine Presence and Needs-Based Anthropology
8. Pneumatic Christology and Pneumatic Anthropology
9. Christ the Key to Need
10. A Constructive Proposal: Pneumachristocentric Anthropology
Afterword: Building Bridges and Moving Forward


"With the clarity born of epistemic humility, McKirland gives readers no less than a biblically and theologically robust picture of what it means to be human--namely, to need God and to have God meet that need. In so doing, she constructs a rigorous and insightful Christ-centered theological anthropology that does not abandon the Spirit. Readers will find this a resource for many pressing biblical and theological questions, but even more, they will find reasons through this text to worship the abundant God."

Amy Peeler, associate professor of New Testament, Wheaton College

"In this book Dr. Christa McKirland has given us a text that is biblically rooted, theologically sophisticated, and attuned to vital issues that we face today concerning how we treat one another and how we relate to God. She moves easily between a rich variety of literatures as she makes a clear and compelling case for the thesis that human beings are fashioned so as to need the presence of God. This is theological anthropology of a higher order."

Oliver Crisp, principal of St. Mary's College, University of St. Andrews

"Howard Thurman memorably remarked that there is deeply rooted in each person an island of peace, and on that island is a temple with an altar built for the presence of God to dwell. What a person is and where they are going, he said, is all available to us in that presence. I know of no more careful and sustained theological mediation on that great insight about the human need of God's presence than this book."

Sameer Yadav, associate professor of religious studies, Westmont College

"Writing in a lucid style that students, church leaders, and scholars will all enjoy, McKirland has achieved something very rare. She has written a biblical theology that takes the best from analytic philosophy, drinks deeply from the wells of Scripture and biblical scholarship, and draws countless threads together with systematic creativity. God's Provision, Humanity's Need offers an exciting picture of humans as creatures with a fundamental need for relationship with God. Anyone looking for a Christian answer to the question, What does it mean to be human? needs to read this book."

Joanna Leidenhag, lecturer in theology and liberal arts, University of Leeds

"Christa McKirland beautifully articulates the centrality of God's presence for the well-being of the human person. Her convincing argument that human flourishing is grounded in the humanity of the Second Person of Trinity and the case she makes for relating to God's presence through a second-personal relationship are innovative. They speak to diverse cultures and contexts since, like McKirland argues, the principal goal toward which God urges humanity is the true image, Jesus Christ, who is both the teleological prototype for all humanity and the one through whom the fundamental need of all humanity is fulfilled. McKirland has written a profoundly moving must-read for anyone interested in academic theology!"

Sofanit T. Abebe, lecturer in New Testament and Christian origins, head of student affairs, and program leader in biblical and theological studies, Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology

The Author

  1. Christa L. McKirland
    Eleanore Stenner

    Christa L. McKirland

    Christa L. McKirland (PhD, University of St. Andrews) is lecturer in systematic theology at Carey Baptist College in Aotearoa (New Zealand). She is the founder and executive director of Logia International, which seeks to support women across the divinity...

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