God’s Grace and Man’s Hope

by Daniel Day Williams

Daniel Day Williams was associate professor of Christian theology in the Federated theological Faculty of the University of Chicago and the Chicago Theological Seminary, then Professor of Theology at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

Published by Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York, 1949. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.


(ENTIRE BOOK) The author critiques both liberal and neo-orthodox presuppositions and then suggests an alternative theological foundation.


  • Preface

    The author holds that the social gospel was too optimistic about man and his progress, while the “neo-orthodox” reaction to the liberalism of the social gospel was too pessimistic. His aim is to find a truer Christian understanding of man and God expressed in a structurally sound theology.

  • Chapter 1: Two Theories of Man’s Destiny

    Liberal theology has always tended to obscure the nature of sin while Neo-orthodoxy has not made clear how redemption actually makes any difference in this life in this world. The clue to the reconstruction of Protestant Christian faith in our time is to recall to ourselves the fact that God, the Lord of life, is both Creator and Redeemer.

  • Chapter 2: God: The Creator and Redeemer

    The secret of Christianity’s contribution to the cultural works of man is that in the Christian faith, with a clarity found in no other, we see that all of life, its evil as well as its good, has a meaning which supports an ultimate hope, if we but accept the truth which God has offered in Christ and begin to respond to it.

  • Chapter 3: Man’s Real Good

    God’s unity is His goodness. God’s goodness is His love. God’s love is that creative and redemptive power which works unceasingly in all times and places to bring to fulfillment a universal community of free and loving beings.

  • Chapter 4: The Kingdom of God and the Kingdoms of This World

    The abyss between the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world has opened up before our eyes. We are perplexed to know what to make of our tragic world history, and to know how as Christians we are to live in it. We must examine the roots of this perplexity, and show why its solution lies in an interpretation of the creative and redemptive work of God which is other than that of either liberalism or neo-orthodoxy.

  • Chapter 5: Time, Progress, and the Kingdom of God

    Christian hope which gathers up all particular human hopes and yet is deeper than any is founded upon the fact of the present creative and redemptive working of God in human life.

  • Chapter 6: The Divine Call and Man’s Response

    In the conception of the meaning of history at which we have arrived, we interpret our present life as having its course within and under the reign of Christ. God has revealed His love in Christ with decisive power and clarity. He has made it possible for us to believe in the victory of His love, and to see its beginnings. Yet the victory is not consummated.

  • Chapter 7:<I> </I>The Good Earth and the Good Society

    Man’s hope depends upon the assertion that through the transforming power of God it is possible for men to love one another.

  • Chapter 8: Growth in Grace: The Final Assurance

    The God we serve is the giver of this life with its obligations and possibilities. There is no situation in which the Christian cannot find meaning and hope. There is no social or private struggle which cannot yield new hope when we discover that God does not leave us forsaken.