Geoff Ziegler, Ph.D. 2010
Recipient of the Bourne Fellowship
Trinity Presbyterian Church, Hinsdale, IL
My dissertation, entitled "Free to Be Sons of God," argues against the contemporary view of freedom as autonomy, advocating instead a view of freedom in terms of divine sonship, which I contend is the biblical framework for understanding human freedom. In line with Wheaton's inter-disciplinary emphasis, the dissertation spends almost equal time between biblical analysis, in which I trace the connection between divine sonship and freedom in the course of redemptive history, and theological argument, using John Stuart Mill and John Calvin as conversation partners.
As I look back at my time at Wheaton, I find myself especially grateful for three things. First of all I appreciate Wheaton's (surprisingly) unusual emphasis on the integration of biblical studies and systematic theology. I am convinced that for Christians neither of these disciplines are practiced well if not informed by the other. Secondly, I deeply enjoyed the camaraderie I felt between myself and other doctoral students. I was both encouraged and stretched by these intelligent and wise men and women from different backgrounds; their friendship has left a lasting mark. Finally, I am perhaps especially grateful for the personal attention I was given by the Wheaton faculty. Not only my advisor, Henri Blocher, but also my second reader, and other professors as well were extraordinarily generous with their time, providing me with suggestions, critiques, and encouragements that I so deeply needed in my dissertation work. I feel honored to be shaped by people who exemplify what it means to be godly scholars.