I recently acquired Reading Genesis 1-2: An Evangelical Conversation, edited by J. Daryl Charles. The book gives perspectives of five highly-qualified, Evangelical Old Testament scholars on the creation accounts of Genesis:
- Richard E. Averbeck (professor of OT and Semitic Languages at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) — “A Literary Day, Inter-Textual, and Contextual Reading of Genesis 1-2”
- Todd S. Beall (professor of OT at Capitol Bible Seminary) — “Reading Genesis 1-2: A Literal Approach”
- C. John Collins (professor of OT at Covenant Theological Seminary) — “Reading Genesis 1-2 with the Grain: Analogical Days”
- Tremper Longman III (professor of Biblical Studies at Westmont College) — “What Genesis 1-2 Teaches (and What it Doesn’t)”
- John H. Walton (professor of OT at Wheaton College and Graduate School) — “Reading Genesis 1 as Ancient Cosmology”
Each author’s chapter includes responses from the four other authors.
In the Forward, the editor states that one of the convictions behind this book is that “conversation–indeed, even heated debate regarding contentious issues–can proceed in a charitable manner.” That is what I strive for in my writing on The GeoChristian, and I appreciate their objective.
In the Introduction, Victor, P. Hamilton begins by reminding us that “without Gen 1-2 the rest of the Bible becomes incomprehensible.” This is something that all contributors to this book, whether young-Earth or old-Earth, evolution-accepting or evolution-denying, would agree on. The opening chapters of Genesis lay foundations for a number of critical doctrines in the Bible, including humans created in the image of God, humanity’s fall into sin, and the beginning of the long story of redemption in Christ.
The Introduction also points out that the interpretation of Genesis 1-2 has been controversial throughout church history, with quotes from Origen and Augustine to back this up. He then points out some particularly important modern debates, such as the historicity of Adam and Eve, and the relationship of the Biblical creation accounts to other Ancient Near Eastern creation accounts.
It is important to be reminded that all of these authors “identify fully and unapologetically with historic Christian orthodoxy and embrace wholeheartedly the basic tenets and historic creeds of the one holy catholic church.” Faithfulness to God’s Word does not require that one interpret Genesis just like only one of these authors.
The Introduction ends by laying out three responses readers might have to the book:
- Confusion — “If the scholars cannot get it all together, what am I supposed to do with Gen 1 and 2?”
- Pre-conceived conclusions — Like the essays I already agree with, and ignore the rest.
- “[A]ppreciate the differing perspectives on Gen 1-2 presented in this volume. We need to remember that a divinely inspired and authoritative Scripture does not mean that (my) interpretations of Scripture are equally divinely inspired and authoritative.”
I look forward to learning from each author, and sharing with you my thoughts as I read through this important work.
Grace and Peace
6 thoughts on “Reading Genesis 1-2 — Forward and Introduction”
Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.
really appreciate this reference. Reblogged on Fr. Orthohippo.
It’s a really fantastic book. I look forward to reading more of your overview. Just one quick note: you wrote “…embrace wholeheartedly the basic tents and historic creeds…” I think you may have a typo and mean tenets.
J.W. — I originally wrote “tenants” (and caught my own mistake) but it looks like I accidentally changed it to “tents” instead of “tenets.” Thanks for the help.
Hi-glad to see you’re blogging again! I wrote to you a year and a half ago re AIG holding a weekend seminar in our New England conservative Congregational church…I had gone to a deacons’ meeting to object, but of course, since it was scheduled, it went on…there was no Q & A time, just a layman with no scientific background giving logical fallacies and ad hominem attacks, convincing our folks (no scientists here) that the only faithful Christian position is the YEC one. All I could do was gnash my teeth! I was able to refer some of our leaders to your blog and the little book, “Seven Days That Divide the World”. Also,a very good booklet can be ordered for free from RBC Ministries (hardly flaming liberals) that lays out the positions. They don’t come down on the side of YECers! It’s called “The Genesis Account of Creation-Defusing the Controversy”. Peace, Donna
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Donna — Thanks for the link to the RBC Ministries booklet.