American Scientific Affiliation

Creation/ Evolution Page


Chiasmic Cosmology and
Creation's Functional Integrity

George L. Murphy*

St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Akron, Ohio 44313

The belief that the character of God is most fully revealed in the cross of Christ is proposed here as the basis for Howard Van Till's concept of the functional integrity of creation. A theology of divine action in which the kenosis, or self-limitation, of God plays a central role is described and applied to our understanding of the world today and to the origins of the universe and life. The emphasis of this approach on the Incarnation then makes it possible to speak theologically about the design of a universe which displays functional integrity.

The Concept of Functional Integrity

A belief that God acts in the universe is a central aspect of the biblical story from Genesis through Revelation, and is assumed whenever people pray for the necessities of life. But how does God do things? Is divine action completely unpredictable, or are there patterns to which it conforms? The traditional task of doctrines of providence has been to discern how God works. This discernment comes from the biblical witness and from the knowledge of what actually takes place in the world--which in modern terms means from natural science.1

Ideas about the ways in which God acts in the world have implications for the type of world in which we, through observational and theoretical science, expect to find ourselves. If God acted in a random fashion, then we would be surprised to find any deep-lying regularities in nature. But since people from ancient times have discerned patterns and predictabilities in nature, and because science has been able to achieve widespread understanding in terms of mathematical laws which seem to apply throughout the known universe, we must think about divine action and the resultant nature of the world in other ways.

One valuable approach to this topic is the idea of "creation's functional integrity" for which Howard Van Till has argued.2

He explains this as a "doctrine" which

envisions a world that was brought into being (and is continually sustained in being) only by the effective will of God, a world radically dependent upon God for every one of its capacities for creaturely action, a world gifted by God from the outset with all of the form-producing capacities necessary for the actualization of the multitude of physical structures and life forms that have appeared in the course of Creation's formative history, and a world whose formational fecundity can be understood only as a manifestation of the Creator's continuous blessing for fruitfulness. In such a Creation there would be no need for God to perform acts of 'special creation' in time because it has no gaps in its developmental economy that would necessitate bridging by extraordinary divine interventions of the sort often postulated by Special Creationism.3

In other words, God has created a universe which depends continually upon God, but which has been endowed with the ability to accomplish what God wants it to accomplish without any "corrections" or "interventions." Nineteenth century Anglican clergyman Charles Kingsley put it this way: "We knew of old that God was so wise that He could make all things; but behold, He is so much wiser than that, that He can make all things make themselves."4

It is a short step from this doctrine to the idea that creation is characterized by regularities which can be discerned by intelligent observers within the world, so that what happens in nature can be understood in terms of natural processes without reference to God. This is the concept sometimes characterized as "methodological naturalism," a term to which Van Till himself objects.

It is true that the term has some anti-religious affect and is too easily equated with "metaphysical naturalism," the claim that there is nothing but the natural world which we observe. On the other hand, it simply is true that the universe can be understood to a considerable extent without any appeal to belief in a creator or creation, even by those who hold such beliefs. We are able to comprehend the world, in an old phrase popularized through Bonhoeffer's writings, etsi deus non daretur, "though God were not given."6

It is not surprising that this idea disturbs many Christians, for it suggests that there is no "need" for God. Thus, some Christians have looked for "intelligent design" in nature or other ways in which divine action is supposedly available to scientific observation. In turn, atheists may argue that since scientific explanation does not need any concept of God, there is no reason to think that there is a God. Any talk about a creator, creation, or God's action in the world then seems to be an unnecessary metaphysical addition to what science can really tell us about nature. Why should we insist, for example, that the world's "formational fecundity can be understood only as a manifestation of the Creator's continuous blessing for fruitfulness," if the putative Creator never appears in a scientific description of the processes through which nature actually is fruitful?

The statements that creation was "good" and "very good" in Genesis 1, and that God "did not create [the earth] a chaos, he formed it to be inhabited!" (Isa. 45:18) indicate that creation is given order and harmony and that it works well. These biblical statements are certainly consistent with the idea of functional integrity, though they do not compel it. The regularities that science discovers indicate to the Christian that God's creation does possess such an integrity and, as Van Till points out, we can appeal to some of the church fathers in support of this doctrine.7

None of these points, however, provides a really solid basis for functional integrity of a sort that would enable us to say that on theological grounds we should expect--and not merely have to accept--the fact that the world qua world can be described in terms of natural processes. Here I will try to base the doctrine of the functional integrity of creation on a fundamental Christian claim, that the character of the God who is the Creator is revealed most fully in the cross and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

The Theology of the Crucified

One of the most important passages in the New Testament is found in Paul's Letter to the Philippians. To point out the type of attitude Christians should have toward life, the apostle speaks about the humiliation and exaltation of one

who, though he was in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied [ekensen] himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death--even death on a cross (Phil. 2:6-8).

Because of this

God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:9-11).

"The name that is above every name" is God's, and "every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear" to the God of Israel (Isa. 45:23). This means that the exalted crucified one is identified with God, so that his kenosis or "emptying" gives us a profound insight into the kind of deity God is. As Fee puts it in his commentary on this Epistle, "In 'pouring himself out' and 'humbling himself to death on the cross' Christ Jesus has revealed the character of God himself."8 The entire discussion here of verses 5-11 on pp. 191-229 is of value.

The claim of Nancey Murphy and G. F. R. Ellis that "kenosis is the underlying law of the cosmos" is related to this insight, and there is a good deal of common ground between the book in which they expound that claim and the present argument.9

If the cross does indeed reveal the character of God's own self,
then we will expect to see
a similar emptying,
a similar self-limitation of God,
in all divine activity,
including the creation and preservation of the universe.

In the event of the cross God acts quite differently from conventional pictures of deity, and is seen as one who does not regard the privileges and attributes of divinity "as something to be exploited" or "grasped" (NIV). The cross is the means by which God saves the world, but it is not simply a temporary stratagem to accomplish some goal on God's part. Christ's "emptying" and "humbling" of self are, as Fee says, an activity which reveals the divine character. As Luther put it: "True theology and recognition of God are in the crucified Christ."10

J¸ngel elaborates on this theme:

The humanity of this person [Jesus] is extremely relevant to the meaning of the word "God," according to the New Testament view. Therefore, when we attempt to think of God as the one who communicates and expresses himself in the person Jesus, then we must always remember that this man was crucified, that he was killed in the name of God's law. For responsible Christian usage of the word "God," the Crucified One is virtually the real definition of what is meant by the word "God." Christian theology is therefore fundamentally the theology of the Crucified One.11

The risen Christ is recognized by the marks of crucifixion (Luke 24:39-40; John 20:20). The resurrection does not do away with the "stumbling block" of the cross (1 Corin. 1:23). In a sense, the resurrection makes the cross even more offensive, because it means that the one who is present in the church as its Lord, and who is to be proclaimed by the church to the world, is the crucified.12

Even more, the cross has cosmic significance. According to the hymn in Col. 1:15-20, the one "in whom" and "for whom" all things were created and in whom "all things hold together" is the one through the blood of whose cross "all things" are reconciled to God.

If the cross does indeed reveal the character of God's own self, then we will expect to see a similar emptying, a similar self-limitation of God, in all divine activity, including the creation and preservation of the universe. Creation, redemption, and sanctification are different works, but they are all actions of the one God, the Trinity, who is revealed in the resurrection of the crucified. Such an identification of the God who is always present and active in the universe with the Crucified One leads to what I have called "chiasmic cosmology." It is based on the image of Christ from the second century apologist Justin Martyr as the one "placed crosswise (echiasen) in the universe."13

Divine Action

What does this mean for our understanding of God's activity in the world? We should not expect to get a unique theory of divine action in a deductive fashion from the theology of the crucified as sketched in the previous section. But if we look at ideas about divine action in the light of the cross, we can get a reasonably good idea about which approaches are likely to be dead ends and which are worth pursuing.14

Barbour has provided a helpful typology of theologies of divine action with accompanying models.15 These theologies and models are the Classical (Ruler-Kingdom model), Deist (Clockmaker- Clock), Neo-Thomist (Workman-Tool), Kenotic (Parent-Child), Existentialist (no model), Linguistic (Agent-Action), Embodiment (Person-Body), and Process (Leader-Community). I will not deal here with the latter three, which have, from the standpoint of a theology of the cross, some defects.16

The first two of these theologies can be quickly rejected. The Bible certainly uses kingship language in speaking of God's relationship with the world, but the God revealed in Christ does not act as the absolute and arbitrary dictator of the world, which is what the Classical view often amounts to. In Christ we see a very different kind of ruler. "I call him king," Chrysostom said, "because I see him crucified."17

The Deist view, on the other hand, contradicts the belief that God is continually active in the world. The idea of creation's functional integrity has sometimes been misunderstood as a version of deism, a confusion which I will clarify shortly.

The Kenotic theology of divine action seems to jump out at us from among the other three types which we will consider. Our emphasis on the cross began with the passage from Philippians about the kenosis of Christ. But we should not move too quickly. We must begin with an affirmation that God does indeed act in the world, and in fact that God is involved in everything that happens in the universe. This can be described with a model in which God works with natural processes as instruments, the First Cause acting through secondary causes, which Barbour characterizes as Neo-Thomist. The traditional language of doctrines of providence is that God "concurs with" or "cooperates with" natural processes so that what happens in the world is done by God (thus the distinction from deism is clear) and is done also by natural processes.

The most obvious model for this theology is a human craftsperson, such as a carpenter (cf. Mark 6:3), who makes use of tools or instruments. A human worker however may, through choice or necessity, use tools in an arbitrary way. Nails can be pounded with a chisel and boards ripped apart with a screwdriver. It seems, though, that God does not work in this way. The divine instruments are the basic gravitational, electroweak, and strong interactions of physics, and violations of the laws which describe these interactions (to the extent that we know them), while they may occur, occupy a set of measure zero among physical phenomena.

It appears that God voluntarily limits divine action
to be in accord with laws which describe physical phenomena,  
of which God is the Creator, and to which our "laws of physics" are approximations.

Thus it appears that God voluntarily limits divine action to be in accord with laws which describe physical phenomena, laws of which God is the creator and to which our "laws of physics" are approximations.18

What we observe in the universe is the exercise of God's ordinate, rather than God's absolute, power.19 This is precisely the import of a kenotic theology of divine action. Just as the Second Person of the Trinity "emptied himself" and was willing to forego conventional divine power in his passion and death, God foregoes the power to act arbitrarily in the world.

The connection with the cross becomes clearer when we realize that this self-limitation of God in divine action means that God allows people to understand the works of God while ignoring God himself. God does not demand acknowledgment of his power and glory as a condition for benefitting from those works but "makes his sun rise on the evil and the good" (Matt. 5:45). The fact that natural phenomena can be understood "though God were not given" means, as Bonhoeffer put it, that "God lets himself be pushed out of the world on to the cross."20 Natural processes function not only as God's "tools" but also, in Luther's phrase, as "masks of God" (unsers herrn Gotts larven) which conceal God from our direct observation.21

Since we do not observe God as an actor in the world in the same way that we observe physical entities, our understanding of divine action is not of the same sort as our scientific understanding of the world. There is an element of truth in what Barbour calls an Existentialist theology of divine action, that such action is perceived by faith. A strictly existentialist theology of creation such as Bultmann's, in which an individual can affirm only that God is his or her Creator,22 is far too restricted, but it does call attention to the need for faith as personal commitment in order to see God at work in the world.

The divine concealment is not simply a matter of God playing hide-and-seek with humanity, much less of God not wanting to be involved with the world. It is, in a profound way, an expression of divine grace for it means that we can live in the world as mature adults, can know what is happening, and can act responsibly on the basis of our knowledge. We do not inhabit a nightmare universe in which anything at all might happen at any moment, nor are we like babies in a nursery who are provided with the necessities of life but have no idea from where they come. Creation is so good that we can understand it on its own terms, "from the inside." The fact that scientific investigation can understand the world is a gift which results from the divine self-limitation.

There is, of course, also another side to the story. If God voluntarily limits divine action to that which can be accomplished through natural processes, then God will not (and, as we commonly observe, does not), in the vast majority of cases, intervene miraculously to dissolve blood clots which cause strokes or divert tornadoes from populated areas. The existence of "natural evil" in the world is thus a consequence of the kenotic character of divine action, and is rooted in the fact that the Creator does not stand aloof from the suffering of the world but participates in it and "became obedient to the point of death--even death on a cross."

A universe which God will preserve and govern by cooperating with natural processes in this kenotic fashion is one which will display the functional integrity described by Van Till. The phenomena that will take place in it will be ones that can be accomplished through natural processes. To explore further what that means, we need to consider how such a world might have been brought into being.

The Origin of the Universe and of Life

The idea of functional integrity leads us to expect that the structures and systems which we presently observe have come to be formed through natural processes, and not by sudden jumps which cannot be explained in terms of scientific laws. As we look farther and farther back in time, we should find evidence of the development of living things, planets, stars, galaxies, atoms, and nuclei, and should be able to understand how these developments have taken place. The fact that we have found extensive evidence of such evolutionary processes on all scales, and that we have been able to achieve a fair degree of understanding of them in terms of known physical processes, encourages theological work in the direction sketched here.

How far can we go along this line? At the outset, we have to recognize that while science can explain a great deal about the universe, it cannot answer the meta-question, "Why is there something rather than nothing?" At that point, one has to decide whether to affirm the existence of something that transcends the universe, or to take the universe as given and not ask further questions, or to remain agnostic. But given that physical reality obeying the types of laws we have found does exist, it may be possible to explain the origin even of matter and space-time itself in terms of an adequate quantum theory of gravitation and matter. Whether progress in quantum cosmology will point toward a temporal origin of the universe or to something like the Hawking- Hartle "no boundary" model and an eternal dependence of the universe upon the Creator remains to be seen.23

In any case, we are faced with a paradoxical idea of "mediated creatio ex nihilo" in which God brings into being the instruments with which God will bring things into being.24

It is worth noting that this paradox is by no means a modern one. The ancient rabbinic tractate Pirke Aboth includes in a list of things created on the eve of the first Sabbath, "The tongs made with tongs."25

More is involved here than a logical puzzle. Even in the origination of the universe, God acts through instruments that are simultaneously masks of God. God is willing to be emptied of the credit for creation, so that the Creator is indeed the one "placed crosswise in the universe."

Given that physical reality,
which does obey the types of laws we have found,
does exist,
it may be possible to explain
the origin even of matter and space-time itself
in terms of
an adequate quantum theory of gravitation and matter.

Similar things can be said about the origin of living things. It is true that we do not yet have an adequate theory of chemical evolution, of the emergence of the first living systems from nonliving chemicals. But there is no theological rationale for the idea often expressed to the effect that life must have been brought into being by God's direct and unmediated action. In fact, the first Genesis account of creation points in just the opposite direction, for there plants and animals come into being when God commands the elements of the world, the earth and the waters, to bring them forth (Gen. 1:11-12, 20-21, 24-25). The statement of Ephrem of Edessa on the creation of plants expresses this understanding of the mediated creation of living things held by a number of the church fathers. He said:

Thus, through light and water the earth brought forth everything. While God is able to bring forth everything from the earth without these things, it was his will to show that there was nothing created on earth that was not created for the purpose of mankind or for his service.26

Though it would exceed the scope of the present paper, the question of miracles needs to be part of any thorough discussion of divine action which takes the Bible seriously.27

Yet the Bible gives us no reason to think that the origin of life must be understood as a miracle that cannot be explained in terms of natural processes.

The Design of the Universe

The idea of creation's functional integrity has sometimes been seen as in tension with the idea of "intelligent design" in nature.28

Chiasmic cosmology, however, has a clear picture of God's design for the universe: It is God Incarnate, crucified and risen. Eph. 1:10 tells us of God's "plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in [Christ], things in heaven and things on earth," and Col. 1:16 says that "All things have been created through him and for him." God made the universe in order to be personally united with it. Barth said:

The world came into being, it was created and sustained by the little child that was born at Bethlehem, by the man who died on the cross of Golgotha, and the third day rose again. That is the Word of creation, by which all things were brought into being. That is where the meaning of creation comes from, and that is why it says at the beginning of the Bible: "In the beginning God made heaven and earth, and God said, Let there be ...29"

The world was created so that the Word might be made flesh. Does that impose any constraint on what kind of world could be created?

It is not for us to dictate how divine Incarnation must have taken place. The cross negates any idea that God's self-revelation must conform to our standards of what is fitting for God. (Cf. 1 Corin. 1:25.) Still, it is hard to see what might be meant by the "personal union" of the Logos, the Word or Reason of God, with a cloud of plasma or a virus. The concept of "person" applies to rational beings, and traditional Christology has held that the human nature of Christ has its personal centering in the divine Logos.30

Therefore, it does not seem too speculative to say that genuine incarnation would take place in a rational species. Creation with incarnation in view would then imply a world capable of evolution to intelligent life.

Some writers have seen in the so-called anthropic coincidences, the fact that parameters of our universe seem precisely suited for the evolution of life, a justification for the idea that the universe was designed for intelligent life, and therefore that there must be a "Designer." From the standpoint of chiasmic cosmology, it is more significant to see this as supportive of a view of the Incarnation as a theanthropic principle.31

The purpose of the universe is not simply humanity, but humanity indwelt by God, the theanthropos. This does not mean that God's ultimate purpose involves only our species, for that would contradict the "all things" of Ephesians and Colossians. Through God's sharing of humanity's evolutionary history in Jesus of Nazareth, all creation is assumed by God and therefore can enter into God's final future.32

It is in light of the cross and resurrection of Jesus that we see God's purpose for the world, and can speak about the God who raised Jesus from the dead as the designer of the universe. Scientific evidence about the suitability of the cosmos for life and the ways in which life has evolved then helps us to understand how the divine purpose is being worked out in cosmic history.

Conventional religious ideas about design have trouble with the way life has evolved, a way in which natural selection is at least an important component. It is natural to ask how a God who is all-good and all-powerful could create the type of world in which processes involving massive loss, death, and extinction would be involved in the development of life. But things look different if we view evolution from Golgotha. The cross means that God has become a participant in the evolutionary process, and has suffered and died in solidarity with the losers in that process. That does not answer all questions about evil and suffering, but is the point from which an adequate theodicy must start.

The cross means that God has become a participant
in the evolutionary process and, in that process,
has suffered and died in solidarity with the losers.

Critics of design arguments sometimes point to biological structures which are less than perfect for their supposed purpose, such as the human eye.33

But if God limits his action in the world to that which takes place through the contingent pattern of natural processes which God has created, there should be no surprise about such apparent "imperfections." In Genesis 1, God sees creation as "very good" but not, in the words made infamous by Dr. Pangloss in Voltaire's Candide, as "the best of all possible worlds."

Divine creation and purpose do not require some intrinsic superiority of species which survive or a kind of biological manifest destiny of the human race. Gould in particular has argued forcefully against such ideas.34


The lack of intrinsic superiority of surviving species and the contingency of the evolutionary process fits in with his own views, but Christians should be clear that it is also consistent with the biblical picture of the way God acts in history. Why did God choose the people of Israel? God tells them that it was not because of any qualities of their own:

It was not because you were more numerous than any other people that the LORD set his heart on you and chose you--for you were the fewest of all peoples. It was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath that he swore to your ancestors, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt (Deut. 7:7-8).

The choice of this people is central to God's plan, for "from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised!" (Rom. 9:5 NIV).This translation (or that of NRSV margin) is to be preferred to those which do not ascribe deity to the Messiah.35 


Biblical quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

1 Benjamin Wirt Farley, The Providence of God (Grand Rapids MI: Baker, 1988).

2Howard J. Van Till, "Basil, Augustine, and the Doctrine of Creation's Functional Integrity," Science and Christian Belief 8 (1996): 21.

3Ibid., 23.

4Colin A. Russell, Cross-Currents: Interactions between Science and Faith (Grand Rapids MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1985), 167-8

5Howard J. Van Till, "A Response to The Creation Hypothesis", Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 47 (1995): 12

6Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison, enlarged edition (New York: Macmillan, 1972), 360-1.

7Van Till, "Basil, Augustine, and the Doctrine of Creation's Functional Integrity."

8Gordon D. Fee, Paul's Letter to the Philippians (Grand Rapids MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1995), 196.

9Nancey Murphy and G. F. R Ellis, On the Moral Nature of the Universe (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 1996).  The phrase cited here is from their concluding sentence on p. 251.

10Martin Luther, "Heidelberg Disputation" in Luther's Works 31 (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1957), 53.

11Eberhard J¸ngel, God as the Mystery of the World (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1983), 13.

12Charles B. Cousar, A Theology of the Cross: The Death of Jesus in the Pauline Letters (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 19

13George L. Murphy, "Chiasmic Cosmology: A Response to Fred Van Dyke," Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation 38 (1986): 124.

14------, "The Theology of the Cross and God's Work in the World," Zygon 33 (1998): 221.

15Ian Barbour, Religion in an Age of Science (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1990), 244. Barbour has modified this scheme somewhat in the second edition, Religion and Science (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1997), 305, but the first version seems preferable to me.

16For further discussion, see G. L. Murphy, "The Theology of the Cross and God's Work in the World."

17Timothy Ware, The Orthodox Church (Baltimore: Pelican, 1963), 233.

18George L. Murphy, "A Positive Approach to Creation," Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation 32 (1980): 230.

19 Margaret J. Osler, Divine Will and the Mechanical Philosophy: Gassendi and Descartes on Contingency and Necessity in the Created World (New York: Cambridge University, 1994), chapter 1.

20Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison, 360-1

21Martin Luther, "Psalm 147" in Luther's Works 14 (St. Louis: Concordia, 1958), 114.

22E.g., Rudolf Bultmann, Jesus Christ and Mythology (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1958), 69.

23For some discussion of these ideas, see Willem B. Drees, Beyond the Big Bang (La Salle, IL: Open Court, 1990), especially chap. 2. Connections with the theme of the present paper are made in George L. Murphy, "Cosmology and Christology," Science and Christian Belief 6 (1994): 101.

24George L. Murphy, "The Paradox of Mediated Creation Ex Nihilo," Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 39 (1987): 221.

25R. Travers Herford, ed., Sayings of the Fathers (New York: Schocken, 1962), 129-31.

26Ephrem of Edessa, "Commentary on Genesis" in St. Ephrem the Syrian: Selected Prose Works (Washington: The Catholic University of America, 1994), 92. For the views of the fathers, see Ernest C. Messenger, Evolution and Theology (New York: Macmillan, 1932).

27For a brief treatment see George L. Murphy, "Miracles-- Burden or Blessing?" Lutheran Partners 15, no. 5 (1999): 33.

28E.g., William A. Dembski, Intelligent Design (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999).

29"Karl Barth, Dogmatics in Outline (New York: Harper & Row, 1959), 58.

30For the definition of "person" as "the individual substance of a rational nature," see Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, "A Treatise against Eutyches and Nestorius" in Boethius: The Theological Tractates and The Consolation of Philosophy (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1926), 85. A modern discussion of "The Enhypostasis of Jesus in the Logos" is Wolfhart Pannenberg, Jesus--God and Man, 2d ed. (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1977), 337-44.

.31George L. Murphy, "The Incarnation as a Theanthropic Principle," Word & World XII (1993): 256.

32------, "A Theological Argument for Evolution," Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation 38 (1986): 19.

33E.g., Kenneth R. Miller, "Life's Grand Design," Technology Review (February/March 1994): 25.

34Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life (New York: W. W. Norton, 1989).

35 See, e.g., Anders Nygren, Commentary on Romans (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1972): 358-9.