- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: IVP ACADEMIC; 1 edition (March 27 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780830824618
- ISBN-13: 978-0830824618
- ASIN: 0830824618
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21 cm
- Shipping Weight: 181 g
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #38,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Lost World Of Adam And Eve Paperback – Mar 27 2015
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"We who are committed to the authority of Scripture believe it is inerrant in all that it affirms. Determining what it's affirming is the tricky part, and that is precisely what John Walton helps us discern. Armed with a robust knowledge of the Old Testament and its ancient context, Walton equips Christians to read Genesis on its own terms rather than the terms we've inherited from the modern 'science versus faith' narrative of our culture. As a result Walton opens up new possibilities in the ongoing theological and biblical debate concerning human origins with strong scholarship and Christ-like humility."--Skye Jethani, author of With, SkyeJethani.com
"John Walton is a gift to the church. In his writing and speaking he has helped Christians to faithfully read the Bible in an environment of competing scientific claims. Now, in The Lost World of Adam and Eve, Walton provides a profoundly evangelical account of how the Bible speaks of Adam and Eve by treating the statements of Scripture in their ancient historical context. This book is the first thing to put in the hands of those wrestling with the perceived tension between the Bible and science."--Timothy Gombis, Grand Rapids Theological Seminary
"This excellent volume on reading Genesis 2 and 3 will be enormously helpful to Bible-readers who wish to take seriously both Scripture and contemporary scientific perspectives on such matters as human origins. Building on previous work, Walton plots an orthodox Christian path through some challenging territory, writing in a highly accessible manner and making great use of example. His extensive knowledge of the ancient Near Eastern world constantly illuminates the text. The reader will not only gain deep insight into the opening chapters of Genesis, but (more generally) will also be helped to think well about what it means to read any ancient text competently."--Iain Provan, Marshall Sheppard Professor of Biblical Studies, Regent College
"Can an interpretation of Genesis 2 3 be true to the biblical text and be supported by the most legitimate claims of science? Can one exegete the accounts of the creation and fall of Adam and Eve in light of all of the partial parallels in other ancient Near Eastern creation literature and still believe in the inerrancy of Scripture? John Walton shows that the answer to both questions is a resounding 'yes.' Whether or not one agrees with every detail of Walton's interpretation, one has to admire the brilliance, clarity and sensibility of his approach. This is a must-read for anyone who thinks one has to choose between faith and science."--Craig L. Blomberg, Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary"
"Never has it been more important to think carefully about the intent of the human creation narrative: to view it through the objective of the narrator as the story was first written down and to seek to understand it through the mind of the audience as it was first heard. . . . Given his many years of teaching experience in evangelical institutions and his remarkable communication skill, perhaps no one is better equipped to guide us through this task than John Walton. The Lost World of Adam and Eve is a masterful analysis of authorial intent and contextual understanding of the Genesis narrative in its contemporary Hebrew culture. Walton's years of teaching have enabled him to successfully anticipate all the main questions and to address each in a highly readable fashion."--Darrel Falk, professor of biology, Point Loma Nazarene University, senior advisor for dialog, BioLogos
"When strident voices who call the first three chapters of Genesis nothing but myth are met by equally strident voices declaring that the Bible, the gospel and the church will thereby collapse from the inside, we are tempted to take a side and start cheering. Then come the voices of reason that seek an opportunity to calm down the strident voices that often refuse to listen. John Walton is a voice of reason and he has shown time and time again that we must learn to read the Bible as God gave it, not the way we'd like it to be. Here we are treated to more 'propositions' about Adam and Eve that will anchor our faith in the ancient world in such a way that the fresh Spirit of God can blow on those chapters to illuminate all who will listen. Thank God for The Lost World of Adam and Eve."--Scot McKnight, professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary
"In this ground-breaking work the author places Adam and Eve firmly where they belong in the cultural and textual world of the ancient Near East. Scholarly and readable, the text seen through Near Eastern eyes provides fascinating new insights into the question of human origins. The fine chapter by N. T. Wright provides the 'icing on the cake.' This book is warmly recommended to all those interested in how the Bible addresses the key question of human uniqueness."--Denis Alexander, emeritus director of The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, St. Edmund's College, Cambridge, author, Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose?"
"[T]here is much that is valuable in Walton's book for laypersons, students, and all those interested in the Bible-versus-science debate. In addition, Walton's reconsideration of key terms and concepts in Genesis 1-3 is challenging and worth contemplation by academic readers."--Deane Galbraith, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, March 2015, 58:1
"This book is a 'must-read' for anyone interested in the contemporary debate over human origins and how to understand the early chapters of Genesis."--Douglas Mangum, Bible Study Magazine, May/June 2015
"[T]his book is an intelligent discussion of new ways to view the story of Adam and Eve. . . . What Walton does with faith and learning is to save a certain sort of Christian reader, once again, from over-literalism not respectful of either Hebrew scripture or contemporary science. Walton's intriguing volume should appeal to pastors and academics, as well as seminary students."--Graham Christian, Library Journal, May 15, 2015
About the Author
John H. Walton (PhD, Hebrew Union College) is professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School. Previously he was professor of Old Testament at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago for twenty years. Some of Walton's books includeThe Lost World of Adam and Eve, The Lost World of Scripture, The Lost World of Genesis One, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament, The Essential Bible Companion, The NIV Application Commentary: Genesis and The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament (with Victor Matthews and Mark Chavalas). Walton's ministry experience includes church classes for all age groups, high school Bible studies and adult Sunday school classes, as well as serving as a teacher for "The Bible in 90 Days." John and his wife, Kim, live in Wheaton, Illinois, and have three adult children.
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Now anyone who is up to date on biblical and evangelical writings about Genesis, or is familiar with the present evangelical theological debate on the historicity of Adam and Eve, will know of the in-depth scholarship and balanced contributions of John H. Walton on these texts and topics. He is [according to the back cover of this present volume] '' professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School. (His) ' many books include The Lost World of Genesis One and The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament (with Victor Matthews and Mark Chavalas)'. Needless to say, he has written other essential background materials for the serious student of the Old Testament (OT), and of Genesis in particular, from the context of the ANE ways of perceiving and understanding the world, as well as thoroughly investigating the biblical texts themselves from a committed supernaturalism and scripture inerrancy position.
Having followed the Creation /Science controversy myself off and on since the early 1970's, while a Christian student of Philosophy, Bible, Theology, History and Literature, I was interested in the writings of the main proponents of each major position (theist and agnostic/atheist, materialist and supernaturalist, Neo-Darwinian, Young Earth Creationist (YEC), Progressive or Old Earth Creationist (OEC), Intelligent Design Theorist, and Evolutionary Creationist). In the last year, having read several of Walton's previous works, I eagerly anticipated and purchased my own copy of The Lost World of Adam and Eve from Amazon, as soon as it came out. This latest timely book, in my humble opinion, is the most important popular academic book on the meaning and historicity of Adam and Eve to come out in my lifetime. Why do I think it is so important? Because it (along with his work on The Lost World of Genesis One) lays the crucial groundwork for a more complete and well-rounded, biblical interpretation, that is, to understand the text (Gen. 1-3) in its ancient cultural-linguistic and rhetorical context. The cosmos and garden in particular (divinely ordered sacred space), the trees of Life and Wisdom (gifts and attributes of God), the questioning serpent (a chaos creature of God), and the archetypical human representatives ' Adam (man) and Eve (mother of all living), are all properly understood only from that ANE and unique Israelite context. If Walton is correct (and he presents what I think is a convincing ANE case, compared with the traditional modern English view), then the material interpretation of Genesis re: the origin of the universe and humanity, which is the foundation of the YEC and the Progressive Creationist points of view, is deficient, distorting and erroneous. These views would thus need to be revised in faithfulness to God who contextually inspired the scriptures, and for the sake of the Church and her witness to God's faithfulness and accommodation in the world.
Walton's analysis of the biblical text (particularly Genesis 2-3) is important because he specifically addresses the Human origins Debate, as his subtitle specifies. He attempts to demonstrate that this biblical text does not primarily speak about material (scientific) origins, but rather the ordering of sacred space as the meaning of biblical and ANE creation. And that Adam and Eve are not portrayed as the physical (biological) progenitors of all humanity, but rather the archetypical, mortal, yet priestly representatives of humanity, who show how mankind through their typological representative lost their relationship with God, and lost the way to eternal life and divine wisdom. If this is a more correct depiction and understanding of the biblical text in its original cultural-linguistic context, then the Genesis text is not necessarily in conflict with the modern scientific points of view, but this text must be dealt with on its own ancient terms (though foreign to us). And faithful Christians need then to examine the scientific evidences carefully and judiciously concerning material and human origins on their own merits or demerits.
Walton progressively proceeds through Genesis 2-3 expanding on 21 propositions from the text in light of ANE culture and the question of human origins. He begins with a summary of material from The Lost World of Genesis One, and (with a contribution by N.T. Wright on proposition 19) concludes with an examination of relevant New Testament passages and theological issues (e.g., the origin and transmission of sin, and the theological relationship of Adam to Christ). It is helpful to see a summary of the 21 propositions that are expanded on in this volume ' with a few highlights and comments:
1. Genesis Is an Ancient Document - God's authoritative word is communicated through and to an ancient and foreign culture, language and ways of viewing the world. For example, we must be careful not to make authoritative revelational assertions about physiology and science out of cultural expressions and concepts, e.g., 'thinking with our hearts or intestines' (p.18).
2. In the Ancient World and the OT, Creating Focuses on Establishing Order by Assigning Roles and Functions - (p.25-26) '"...in Genesis 1:2, the pre-creation situation that describes nonexistence, is a condition that is not lacking material. Rather, it is a situation that is lacking order and purpose. ' creation resolves the absence of order and not the absence of material."
3. Gen.1 Is an Account of Functional Origins, Not Material Origins - example, ''let there be light'' (p. 36) "...is not a discussion of physics". And the forming of creatures out of the ground is not a biological statement of origins, and neither is the formation of humanity out of the dust, nor the designation of humanity to be God's image bearers, but a description of mortality and assigning a divine role and function to humanity in order to bring divine order to the rest of the creatures.
4. In Gen 1, God Orders the Cosmos as Sacred Space - the significance of the full seven days in creation, and an ANE understanding of God's rest in the taking up the rule of creation, is clarified. As in ANE and biblical temple inaugurations, (p.49) "Sacred space is the result of divine presence and serves as the center and source of order in the cosmos." As in the inauguration of sacred space in a temple, so also in the cosmos, a seven day period was not the time it took to build the material structure, likewise the seven days of ordering the cosmos is not equivalent to the history of the material universe.
5. When God Establishes Functional Order, It Is 'Good' - a divine utilitarian checklist, not a moral evaluation in this context, let alone a declaration of perfection. Good in the context of Gen 1 is an evaluation of when (p.55) '"...something is functioning optimally as it was designed to do in an ordered system ' it is working the way God intended."' For the use of the phrase 'very good' in Gen 1:31, compare (p.57) "...the same description is given to the Promised Land (Num 14:7), though it is filled with enemies and wicked inhabitants, not to mention wild animals who are predators."
6. 'adam Is Used in Gen 1-5 in a Variety of Ways - very rarely as the proper name Adam. (p.59) "...in some cases, 'adam refers to human beings as a species, in others it refers to the male individual of the species, and in some it refers to the designation of a particular individual as the equivalent of a personal name." (p.61) "When the definite article is being used, the referent is an individual serving as a human representative. Such representation could be either as an archetype (all are embodied in the one and counted as having participated in the acts of that one) or as a federal representative (in which one is serving as an elect delegate on behalf of the rest)."
7. The Second Creation Account (Gen 2:4-24) Can Be Viewed as a Sequel Rather Than as a Recapitulation of Day Six in the First Account (Gen 1:1-2:3) - there is no reason the introductory toledot to the 2nd formation account is not a transition to a sequel like the majority of the toledots in Genesis. It is not like any of the few recursive toledots, but it incorporates a unique perspective, setting and purpose. A sequel episode also solves several other unnecessary narrative and logistical problems (misconstruing the cultural-cosmic-theological significance of the seven days, fitting all the events of Gen 2 into a single day, finding other people to substantiate Cain's fears and to provide nuptial prospects in his exile and city building).
8. 'Forming from Dust' and 'Building from Rib' Are Archetypal Claims and Not Claims of Material Origins - these are statements of common mortality (not compositional ingredients), and (p.73, 74) "Immortal people have no need for a tree of life. ... (Paul tells us) sin cost us the solution to mortality, and so we are trapped in our mortality." The typical man of Gen. 2 is not portrayed as being formed under any terms different than the rest of humanity, we are all formed of the dust and by the breath of God (Job 27:3; 32:8; 33:4; 34:14-15; Ps.103:14; 139:14-15; Isa.42:5). But what of Eve, surely she had a unique formation different than all other women? Her peculiar formation may not be out of Adam's rib, but as a cleavage of his whole side; and not through a minor operation, rather a visionary revelation of gender equality and complementarity confirmed by Gen 2:24. (p.81) "...Adam has seen Eve's formation in a vision but that vision conveys an ontological truth with Eve serving as an archetype."
9. Forming of Humans in ANE Accounts Is Archetypal, So It Would Not Be Unusual for Israelites to Think in Those Terms
10. The NT Is More Interested in Adam & Eve as Archetypes Than as Biological Progenitors - in Rom 5:12-17 Paul treats Adam as an individual, then as an archetype, and then as a pattern or antitype, but (p.93) "...the archetypal use is connected to the fall, not to his forming." In I Cor 15:21-22, our ''...status as being 'in Adam' treats Adam as an archetype, though still a historical figure." It is a theological not a biological claim. In I Cor 15:45-49 the first earthly man Adam is compared and contrasted with the last, second and heavenly man. The terms second and last are obviously not numerical values, but show that Paul is speaking of Adam and Jesus as archetypes.
11. Though Some of the Biblical Interest in Adam & Eve Is Archetypal, They Are Real People Who Existed in a Real Past - a realistic conclusion from the biblical data (genealogies and theology), though not theoretically necessary. (p.103) "...both a textual element (genealogies) and a theological element (sin and redemption) argue strongly for a historical Adam and Eve. At the same time, it must be observed that for them to play these historical roles does not necessarily require them to be the first human beings (biologically/genetically)."
12. Adam Is Assigned as Priest in Sacred Space, with Eve to Help - it was ''not good'' for Adam to be alone in this special calling to, and work in, this sacred space (Gen 2:18). It is not that Adam didn't need/have community, or a life companion and sexual partner; this is stated in the plurality of humanity and gender variety in Gen 1:26-27. Also as archetypes, Adam & Eve would need to represent all humanity. (Cf. Ex 19:6; 38:8; 1 Sa 2:22). (p.115) "...Adam was the 'first' man, given the opportunity to bring life, but he failed to achieve that goal. Christ, as the 'last' man, succeeded ' (see I Cor15:45)." First and last in this context is not numerical and chronological, but theological and representational. Independent genetic and paleoanthropological confluent evidences point to a humanity that is tens of thousands of years older than what the early biblical genealogies imply, and are spread over a much wider geographical field involving several continents unknown to the biblical text. This ANE contextual understanding of Gen 2-3 does not conflict with this growing body of scientific information, but gives us vital information and directives for life.
13. The Garden Is an ANE Motif for Sacred Space, and the Trees Are Related to God as the Source of Life and Wisdom - there is a lot of good background material in the ancient world to help us appreciate the Israelite understanding of the divine garden with its rivers, special trees and serpent. (p.127) "In the Bible, life and wisdom are possessed by God, and they are made available to humans as they are in relationship to him. The trouble comes when humans try to seize wisdom on their own terms ' as independent agents rather than in relationship to him. In this way [both the reluctance of the gods to grant, and human self-directed acquisition of wisdom] the Bible has a very different read on these issues than its ancient Near eastern counterparts."
14. The Serpent Would Have Been Viewed as a Chaos Creature from the Non-ordered Realm, Promoting Disorder - to many the serpent has been a source of confusion. (p.128) "Why did God allow such a creature to infiltrate the garden? How could this creature be in a 'good' [divinely ordered] world?" And what is the ancient understanding of chaos creatures? (p.132-133) "This devious creature does not become associated with evil until much later. ...They are amoral but can be mischievous or destructive. They cause problems if left unchecked but can be domesticated and become associates of gods. Demons also function much like chaos creatures, as do liminal creatures (e.g., coyote, screech owl). ' all creatures in the Hebrew Bible, including chaos creatures, are created by God (Gen 1:21); Job49:15-19; Ps 104:26). That nahash [ in Hebrew one of the normal ways to designate a common snake] can also designate a chaos creature is evident from its usage in Isaiah 27:1, where it describes Leviathan."' The snake in the Gen 2 context would be seen as disruptive and dangerous, but not nefarious; "the catalyst more than the cause" of destructive consequences.
15. Adam & Eve Chose to Make Themselves the Center of Order and Source of Wisdom, Thereby Admitting Disorder into the Cosmos - Adam & Eve are the archetypal sinners, slighting divine love, beneficence and dominion. They made an immature attempt at self-centered independence, self-fulfillment and self-aggrandizement. They failed and transgressed righteousness, godliness and holiness, and thus fell under the just judgment of God and sentence for their sin. They brought chaos into the cosmos and sin into sacred space. All are included in Adam's sin and all are born without intimacy with God and in rebellion to divine mandates.
16. We Currently Live in a World with Non-order, Order and Disorder - all in reference to God's timing, purposes and kingdom.
17. All People Are Subject to Sin and Death Because of the Disorder in the World, Not Because of Genetics
18. Jesus Is the Keystone of God's Plan to Resolve Disorder and Perfect Order - a new exposition of the meaning of redemption, salvation and transformation for us and the cosmos in the renewal of sacred space, dominion, function and purpose with all that these entail.
19. Paul's Use of Adam Is More Interested in the Effect of Sin on the Cosmos Than in the Effect of Sin on Humanity and Has Nothing to Say About Human Origins Including an Excursus on Paul's Use of Adam by N.T.Wright.
20. It Is Not Essential That All People Descended from Adam & Eve - biologically / genetically, but rather that theologically all people are represented by Adam & Eve. But doesn't Acts 17:26 specifically affirm that all people came from one, and is Eve not specifically called 'the mother of all living'? Paul could just as easily have been referring to Noah as the one through whom the local nations came into being; and the phrase ''mother of all living'' may not be a biological statement any more than the phrase ''father of all those who play... ' pipes'' is (Gen 4:20).
21. Humans Could Be Viewed as Distinct Creatures and a Special Creation of God Even If There Was Material Continuity - so evolution/common ancestry and creation do not have to be an either/or proposition.
While other scholarly and linguistic resources are needed and useful for a fuller view and understanding of Gen 1-3, and relevant NT references, Walton's contribution I believe is not only helpful, non-rancorous and balanced, but also vital for evangelical Christians to appreciate and understand what God inspired for the original audience, in its own cultural packaging and mental constructs. Other evangelical scholars may not agree with Walton's understanding of the ANE culture and the place and meaning of Genesis within it (see for instance, Four Views on the Historical Adam by Walton, Collins, Lamoureux, and Barrick, 2013), but then they need to be able to better explain the cultural-linguistic clues in the text and say why or how the Genesis terminology and concepts are essentially different from the common ancient culture (that is, apart from regional and significant theological diversity, as the ancient culture was not uniform nor monolithic).
Walton's contribution is also valuable to help bible believing Christians think through an ancient, foreign, inspired text like Genesis, as to its theological directives and implications for today and our different scientific perspectives, discoveries and interpretations. In contrast popular evangelical works generally overlook the common ANE conceptual context of Biblical revelation, and so make significant hermeneutical and theological errors about creation and biblical anthropology. They then make misinformed and sometimes amateur judgments about scientific findings and explanations; as well, they often improperly relate / contrast biblical and scientific disciplines and results. (A well-meaning, but run-away, example of this kind of culturally misinformed creation analysis from a fundamentalist Reformed background can be found in God, Adam, and You: Biblical Creation Defended and Applied, by Richard D. Phillips (Editor), March 2015. The various essayists in this volume end up defending some misconceptions of what biblical creation is, and criticise scientific consensus concerning origins and evolution from these theological distortions. See also No Adam, No Gospel: Adam and the History of Redemption, by Richard B. Gaffin Jr., who relies on one theologian's criticism of human and chimp genetics (http://www.frame-poythress.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/2013Adam.pdf). None of these authors seem to question or critically assess their own cultural hermeneutics, exegesis, or theological or anthropological assumptions. Walton helps us understand that when we can appreciate what the biblical testimony is not saying, we can better understand and apply what it is saying.
Professor Walton has helped show how Bible background can aid a better understanding of the original message and meaning of Genesis and its implications for helping to resolve a long standing Bible/Science conflict. Biblical studies and evolutionary science, however, are both changing and developing fields with new findings and discoveries coming to light regularly. We all have to do our homework with due diligence. Those who want more assistance with genetics, paleontology and human origins (from the perspective of Christians in the sciences) some suggested resources include:
1. Evolution Basics - online series by Dennis Venema, http://biologos.org/blog/evolution-basics-evolution-as-a-scientific-theory
2. Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? - Oct 9 2014, new edition by Denis Alexander
3. Human Evolution: Genes, Genealogies and Phylogenies - Oct 28 2013, by Graeme Finlay
4. The Bible, Rocks and Time, Davis A. Young, a pre-eminent petrologist, Old Earth geologist
5. In the Beginning We Misunderstood, by Johnny V. Miller and John M Soden - for another ANE and conservative theological, but anti-evolutionary, perspective.
In short, the information in this book is great, but there is much superfluous information that aids little and it is almost too scholarly to be enjoyed by anyone other than other scholars.
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