The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate - eBook  -     By: John H. Walton
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The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate - eBook

IVP Academic / 2010 / ePub

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Product Description

Using 18 formal propositions John H. Walton constructs a compelling, provocative and original interpretation of Genesis 1. He argues that Genesis 1 is, as Bruce Waltke states, "a functioning temple where God takes up his residence as his headquarters from which he runs the world" not a description of the material origins of the universe. Additionally, Walton uses his thesis to directly engage the discussion of origins in the public square (schools and public policy) and ongoing academic debates in Science and Theology.

Product Information

Format: DRM Free ePub
Vendor: IVP Academic
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 9780830861491
ISBN-13: 9780830861491
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

In this astute mix of cultural critique and biblical studies, John H. Walton presents and defends twenty 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.

Author Bio

John H. Walton (Ph.D., Hebrew Union College) is professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. Previously he was professor of Old Testament at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Some of his books include , (with Andrew Hill), (NIV Application Commentary) and (with Victor Matthews and Mark Chavalas).


This book presents a profoundly important new analysis of the meaning of Genesis. Digging deeply into the original Hebrew language and the culture of the people of Israel in Old Testament times, respected scholar John Walton argues convincingly that Genesis was intended to describe the creation of the functions of the cosmos, not its material nature. In the process, he elevates Scripture to a new level of respectful understanding, and eliminates any conflict between scientific and scriptural descriptions of origins.
-Francis S. Collins,
Head of the Human Genome Project and author of The Language of God

Walton's cosmic temple inauguration view of Genesis 1 is a landmark study in the interpretation of that controversial chapter. On the basis of ancient Near Eastern literatures, a rigorous study of the Hebrew word bara' ('create'), and a cogent and sustained argument, Walton has gifted the church with a fresh interpretation of Genesis 1. His view that the seven days refers to the inauguration of the cosmos as a functioning temple where God takes up his residence as his headquarters from which he runs the world merits reflection by all who love the God of Abraham.
-Bruce Waltke,
Professor of Old Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary

Every theologian, every pastor, every Christian in the natural sciences, indeed, every Christian who loves the Bible must put aside all other reading material this minute and immediately begin to absorb the contents of John Walton's The Lost World of Genesis One. Walton closely examines Genesis 1 in light of ancient Near Eastern literature and offers a compelling case that the creation account is far more concerned with the cosmos being given its functions as God's temple than it is with the manufacture of the material structures of the earth and universe. In the process, he has blown away all the futile attempts to elicit modern science from the first chapter of the Bible.
-Davis A. Young,
Professor Emeritus of Geology, Calvin College, and coauthor of The Bible, Rocks and Time

John Walton offers a compelling and persuasive interpretation of Genesis, one that challenges those who take it as an account of material origins. His excellent book is must-reading for all who are interested in the origins debate.
-Tremper Longman III,
Author of How to Read Genesis, and Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College

Professor Walton seeks to describe clearly and with ruthless honesty the nature and purpose of the biblical text in Genesis that is juxtaposed to the claims of modern science and scientism in the current debate over origins. His work will be welcomed by all those who seek to render to both the Scriptures and modern science the authority appropriate to each--while at the same time avoiding false or unnecessary stands on either side.
-Shirley A. Mullen,
President, Houghton College

John Walton's expertise in the Ancient Near Eastern sources enables him to shed a flood of new and unexpected light on the deeper meaning of Genesis 1. The Creator, Genesis is saying, designed heaven and earth as a great temple with the intention of coming to live in it himself--and the sabbath isn't just a nice break after the work is done, but the moment when he takes up residence in the world he has just made. The implications of this resonate right through the rest of the Bible. This is not just a book to invite 'creationists' to think differently; it is a book to help all Bible students read the whole of Scripture with fresh eyes.
-N. T. Wright,
Bishop of Durham

An interesting read. Well worth putting in church libraries.
Church Libraries, Winter 2009-10

It will challenge many to hink about Genesis in the way Christian scholars have been championing for many years now---as an ancient document, speaking to people with an understanding of the world very different from our own. Hopefully, it will open the doors to a conversation that is long overdue.
-Douglas J. Becker,
Themelios, November 2009

Walton [brings] a fresh perspective that enlightens, enriches, and honors the biblical text. . . I recommend the book to anyone interested in the origins question and look forward to seeing how these ideas shape origins discussion of the future.
-Sean M. Cordry,
Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, September 2010

Product Reviews

4.7 Stars Out Of 5
4.7 out of 5
4.7 out Of 5
(4.7 out of 5)
4.7 out Of 5
(4.7 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
4.5 out Of 5
(4.5 out of 5)
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Displaying items 1-5 of 22
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  1. 4 Stars Out Of 5
    A New Interpretation
    December 18, 2014
    Rhino W
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Dr. Walton presents an interpretation of Genesis 1 that is basically new. He argues for an understanding of the creation account as one of function and that it should not be read as an account of physical origins. This is certainly a radically different approach than anything (conservative or liberal) that I have come across before and would seem to cause alarm in both camps. This new understanding is far more convincing on certain creation days than others. Nevertheless, his argument seems cogent and I very much look forward to seeing its reception in the broader academic world as I am still seeking other feedback on it.
  2. Tennessee
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    1 Stars Out Of 5
    Massively Disappointed
    September 27, 2013
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 2
    Value: 2
    Meets Expectations: 1
    I suggest you show my review to the owner of the company. I believe he or she will be surprised.

    John Walton discusses Genesis in terms of the language God used to address the culture at the time. And I agree with this basic premise. God was setting up functions for man, and while he was making materials, the functions were made by God without explanation of how it was done. Agree. The culture and language of the Bible would have been understood in terms of a functional creation. I also agreed with the rest of the book....until I got to the FAQ.

    Look at the second FAQ where it discusses how dinosaurs and fossil "homo" specimens fit it. Apparently, Walton hid this until this section and then postulates that these creatures preceded the 7 days of Genesis....wha???? So God did not make the dinosaurs with the other animals? and the "homo" fossils? are they men or apes???? They came before the Genesis 7 days?

    This book tanks dramatically in the FAQ. Walton has excessively liberal ideas which he hides in the back section of his book. If I would recommend one thing about this book, I would say eliminate this book from your offerings.
  3. Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Unique presentation of the creation.
    September 24, 2013
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    The book is very detailed and sometimes the point is lost in detail. But the ideas put forth are good and the concepts are different from most other writers on Genesis. It requires a slow read.
  4. Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A Valuable Voice in the Discussion of Genesis
    February 16, 2013
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The idea of understanding the Bible literally is often a rallying cry of Evangelicals. However, problems arise when we try to mesh scientific data with Biblical truth - especially when it comes to Genesis 1 and 2. Science says the universe is billions of years old, whereas a "literal" reading of Genesis would say it's only a few thousand. Numerous answers to this problem abound and Walton adds a fresh perspective to the mix. He points out that when most people say "I read the Bible literally", what they are actually saying is "this is what the Bible really means".

    Walton believes in the literal truth of Genesis 1 and 2 and his book is a wonderful explanation of what this really means. Rather than impose modern ideas of the cosmos into Genesis, instead we should be asking "How would have the ancient Israelites understood this?" After all, Genesis was written originally for them. His main point is that Genesis isn't so much concerned about questions of age and how humans came to be, so much as God giving the various aspects to his creation a function. Walton works through the six days, explaining the functional aspect to them, as well as explaining how day seven fits in with the ancient idea of Temple and rest.

    The latter half of the book deals with related issues to his proposal - critiquing some of the other main Creation theories, some of his thoughts on Intelligent Design, what science tries to achieve, teaching science in school and how his understanding strengthens our theology of Genesis 1.

    Overall, this is a fantastic read. It's only 170 pages but don't let the brevity fool you - this is deep and very theological/philosophical stuff here. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in how to understand Genesis 1-2 and I hope that this alleviates many faithful who try to reconcile the Bible with modern science. I'm sure this book will cause controversy with some, but I think Walton presents some fairly solid evidence with his 18 propositions.
  5. Blue Springs, MO
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: Male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Good for starting the origins discussion
    January 7, 2013
    Jonathan Becker
    Blue Springs, MO
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: Male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    I'm going to attempt to be as balanced as possible with my review. Like any book, this one has both positives and negatives, but in this case the positives far outweigh the negatives.

    Positives: Walton is a very respected OT scholar in both evangelical and critical circles, so a book like this one is long overdue. Overall, his discussion of ANE concepts of origins is enlightening and it often challenges long-held assumptions.

    Negatives: At times, Walton seems to be very redundant. If one has read his discussion of the issue in "ANE Thought and the OT" the issues will seem rather surface level. At times he doesn't make his functional/material distinction very clear. In fact, I wasn't quite sure what his view was by the end of the book. Nevertheless, this book will really get readers thinking about issues of interpretation.

    Overall, Walton has made a much-needed contribution to the ongoing origins dialogue.
Displaying items 1-5 of 22
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