Marilyn McCord Adam’s fascinating defense and exposition of Christology, based on her Gifford lectures, offers a vision of Christ that is both biblical and philosophically rigorous. Whilst acknowledging the importance of sin, McCord Adams argues that “horrors” are the more fundamental problem that must be dealt with by theologians and therefore salvation is not necessarily primarily about sin, but about the defeat of the horrors of the world. Horrors are existential disruptive, rendering life meaningless and empty of any positive values. Even without directly experiencing horrors we are broadly complicit "in actual horrors merely by living in his/her nation or society." From the acknowledgement of the importance of horrors, McCord Adams asks what Christology would look like, if rescuing the world from "horrendous evils" is the Saviour’s principal job? Beginning with the acknowledgement of a profound human vulnerability to horrors such as prolonged pain, sadistic abuse or genocide McCord Adams argues for the insufficiency of standard "big-picture" or "free will" theodicies. Instead, McCord Adams argues for a Christology that is not merely an optional supplement to standard or “generic” theism, but rather she claims that Christology has an integrating force of its own.
In what is initially rather dry philosophical language McCord Adams claims Christ as firstly, the "explanatory posit" for resolving the non-optimality of human relationships generally and the human-Divine relationship more specifically. If the human subject’s life has been emptied of existential meaning thanks to the burden of horror then key to the role of Christ is a kind of existential rehabilitation. Yet the role of Christ is not merely existential but cosmological too, “divine participation in horrors defeats their prima facie life-ruining powers,” she claims. Throughout this densely argued but thoroughly researched book McCord Adams argues for a metaphysically high and materially low Christology – Christ is not just able to defeat horror on the cosmic scale, but through the Incarnation is made immanent to humanity and thus, through the church, is able to offer healing and horror-defeat to the material world itself. Through her compelling exploration of this premise, Christ is presented as not merely the source of salvation but rather, metaphysically as "the center both of Godhead and cosmos," psychologically, the inner-Teacher and body-politically the instigator and organizer of the whole community of Faith. Drawing deeply on medieval philosophical theology and a whole host of systematic theological concerns, McCord Adams puts forward a deeply compelling and (when the reader adjusts to the dense metaphysical language) a rather stirring defense of the primacy and centrality of Christ in all things.