Book review: Cycles of Salvation History

by Ulrich Utiger

★★★★

An interesting theology! The idea is that the truths of the Bible repeat in cycles throughout history, culminating in the second coming of Jesus for a final fulfillment.

Utiger begins with the assumption that the Bible is of divine authorship, and then proceeds to make sense of it in light of history and scientific findings. In discussing the creation, for example, he notes that Genesis records the creation of birds before animals, though they actually appeared later in evolutionary history. So the creation story probably merely uses “birds” to refer to the celestial world, and the creation of angels, right? Birds live in a medium representing heaven.

As you can see, not all images in Genesis should be interpreted literally. The snake in the Garden is merely a representation of Satan, and the paradise of Eden was “of course childhood, during which the boy is still free form work and the girl does not yet bring forth children in the pain.”

Transition from one phase to another is significant. Since the sixth day of creation is a transition from land animals to humans, this may be a hint that humans descend from the animal kingdom. (Utinger is not, however, a believer in natural selection. He finds it in opposition to reality: the aim of evolution was to bring forth humankind created in the image of God, so it could hardly have been undirected).

Utiger speculates about Genesis, Daniel, Revelation, and more. An interesting side trip into Marian apparitions rounds out the discussion. This focus on the Blessed Virgin is not coincidental; Utiger has studied Catholic theology and Mariology, and finds apparitions to be supported and predicted by the Bible. For example, read about the apparition of a woman clothed with the sun in Revelation chapter 12.

This is not an easy read, because the author makes a marked attempt to be brief. I got the feeling, as I was reading, that I was barely scraping the surface of a huge topic. Readers: before you dig into the book, take a peek at pages 186 and 187, which show five major eras of time, from the creation of angels to the millennial reign. These eras are further broken down into fourteen different cycles, where each cycle goes through the four stages of peace, sin, judgement, and revival. You will want to refer back to this chart as you read, so that you can get your bearing with each topic Utinger introduces. I discovered the chart about halfway through my reading, and things began to fall into place with that visual, making the rest of the book easier to comprehend.

From my perspective, I think the book is fun, and filled with interesting tidbits, but I can’t get behind the theology … or any theology which treats the Bible like a divine puzzle to be solved more than a collection of human experiences grasping toward God. Read it for an interesting perspective of salvation history, and decide for yourself.

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