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Publisher's Summary

In this astute mix of cultural critique and biblical studies, John H. Walton presents and defends 20 propositions supporting a literary and theological understanding of Genesis 1 within the context of the ancient Near Eastern world and unpacks its implications for our modern scientific understanding of origins. Ideal for students, professors, pastors and lay readers with an interest in the intelligent design controversy and creation-evolution debates, Walton's thoughtful analysis unpacks seldom appreciated aspects of the biblical text and sets Bible-believing scientists free to investigate the question of origins.

©2009 John H. Walton (P)2014 Audible Inc.

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  • Jacobus
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 09-07-15

The world is functionally God's temple

Prof. John H Walton of Weaton College writes a book on how a Christian should approach Genesis 1 in the light of current knowledge scholars have in how the text was intended to be read by the human writer of the text, without jeapardising the divine claim to the authorship of the Bible. In 16 propositions he shows how Genesis 1 can be reconciled with natural evolution without scientists or theologians overstepping their boundaries when arguing the origins of the universe. Fro Walton religious and scientific claims cannot be exclusive of one another, but may complement each other. He helps American Christians to deal with the creation/evolution debate in the United States of America.

I thought it was a well-structured and carefully crafted argument that Walton proposed. While this can be seen as the book's strong point it can also be seen as its weakness. I would have expected that the Ancient Near Eastern context and stories that shaped the minds of ancient Israelites would have been related to quench curiosity. Yet, it seems that this book is void of details and continuously build on argument show that Genesis 1 only speaks of God's functional creation. Nothing was mentioned of two creation narratives, Genesis 1 and 2. Not touching these controversies kept the book very safe and even threatened to make it dull.

Yet Walton has the ability to balance on a very fine line to convince people to his reading of Genesis 1. As someone who reads Hebrew I was not always convinced in his approach to words. If "tohu wa-bohu" ("empty and void") is found trice in combination for instance and "bohu" doesn't appear alone, should one look at the meaning of the other word only in the contexts where the combination are used? Couldn't it be a technical term that is understood in a very specific way when te two words are in combination?

Be this as it may, I think Prof. Walton's book must be commended for taking on a taboo subject and using the ancient mindset to populate the understanding of the text. This book is recommended to Christians who wants to take the mindset of ancient Israel to heart and understand the Bible text in the most responsible way.





9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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A Really Literal Read of the Text

"What is the author saying" and "what would the audience have understood" are the most important questions to ask of Genesis 1. God created. Sure, but what does that mean? I think this author should start the book off quoting another knowledgeable expert "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." Walton will challenge you in ways you didn't see coming because we are so blind to our own assumptions. A short and brilliant read. Highly recommended.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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An important book

If you, or anyone you know, struggles with the apparent disconnect between science and faith, this is the book you need to read.

Paradigm = shifted

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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It's a great listen for all.

Be ready to learn. I could express myself in joy to have found new understanding. Cultural differences make a huge impact on how we understand scripture. In short our interpretation must be ready to change. Simple fact number one it's obvious that God created this world for us so that we might give him praise. Simple fact number 2, if you forget number 1 you will not understand how much God loves you.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 09-07-16

A Book I will keep on my Phone

There are some books that I keep permanently on my phone just out of gratitude for how much they taught me. This is one of those books. A believing scientist brings a whole new level of academic rigour to the examination of Genesis 1.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Making Peace in the Origins Debate

Not having studied ancient Hebrew myself, I'm not completely sold on Walton's idea of a "functional ontology" in Genesis 1. However, he makes a LOT of other really good points too. Give this a listen if you're sick of all the dogmatism permeating the origins debate. You will come away with a much bigger perspective on the issue.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • q
  • 08-29-15

Excellent!

Moving past the usual debates, an expert in theology and ancient Near Eastern literature delves into what Genesis 1 is really about, then suggests how we might improve our approach to the debate over evolution and creationism.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Convoluted

Either God arranged the Cosmos for His habitation or for man's. Both are in conflict. The author wants both, but it doesn't work. Also, altough he insists the word "create" doesn't have to do with physical origins, at many points, especially when he contrasts his view with those of others, he uses "create" in exactly the sense he says it doesn't have! What?
The voice of the reader is good, but they need to use informed people next time as he consistently mispronounces the Hebrew words.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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You will learn a lot in this short book

A thoughtful, unassuming, and tremendously helpful take on Genesis 1 and biblical creation narrative. The humility and desire of the author not to speak beyond his expertise alone makes this book worth reading/listening to. This is for all students of Scripture.

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Never heard this interpretation of genesis one before.

Very glad I purchased this audio book even though I found it very repetitive. I have never heard this interpretation of genesis one before. I will keep this book and use it as a reference
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  • ModsterMan
  • 05-12-17

Anti-God Rhetoric

I appreciate the references to Ancient Near Eastern religious modus operandi, but I fear it is presumptuous to impose that culture upon the Jewish Scriptures. There was no evidence in Hebrew religious traditions that would allow such a preposterous interpretation, nor scientific evidence to enable the modern Christian to discard Intelligent Design in favor of evolution (which is highly inferential).

0 of 1 people found this review helpful