Book Review title

The Lost World of Genesis One
by John H. Walton, IVP Academic Publishers, 2009, 192 pages,
$16.00 (paperback) ISBN-13: 978-0-8308-3704-5

The Lost World of Genesis OneJohn H. Walton is a professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College and has written many books on the subject. We are interested in this book, because it comes to the same conclusions that we have suggested in this journal, but from a different perspective. What is meant by, “We take the Bible literally”? Interpreting an English translation through the teachings of a denominational tradition is not taking the Bible literally. To take the Bible literally you have to look at who wrote it, to whom it was written, and how the people of that day would have understood it. Our approach has been to look at the Hebrew words used in Genesis and ask how the people of that day would have understood the words. We believe they would have understood the animals described in Genesis as the ones that they saw in front of them — their barnyard animals — and those close to them in the rivers and streams of their land. Animals like dinosaurs, which could have been part of God’s tools to prepare earth for humans, would not be what they would have understood those words to mean.

Walton comes to a similar conclusion by studying the culture and language of ancient Israel. The book is divided into 18 propositions starting with ancient cosmology and ancient science. The Genesis account is viewed as presenting functions, not accurate, modern science. The ancients saw the cosmos as a temple, and Genesis one is not an explanation of the material production of creation but of the establishment of the temple. lt is a different and interesting approach, and those struggling with Genesis and the advances of modern science will find it useful and interesting — and challenging. It is not a book for young or immature readers.

Back to Contents Does God Exist?, NovDec10.