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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.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
"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.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
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