John Walton provides a readily understandable series of propositions. He shows that Genesis 1 should be understand in light of the common prevailing mindset of the ancient world: that the action for "creating" (Hebrew bara) is only ever done by God, that most of the things God "creates" in Genesis 1 are in terms of function and not material, and that the Israelite author was not simply ripping off some contemporary pagan literature (i.e. the Enuma Elish). He demonstrates the flaws in current interpretations of Genesis 1 (Young Earth, Old Earth, Framework Hypothesis, Ruin-Reconstruction, etc.), making the point that the Bible says nothing regarding the age of the earth. The reading can be somewhat dense at times, but the overall purpose of the book kept me going right through it. The ideas presented are convincing, so the book should be taken seriously, even by opponents.
I just finished reading this book today, and really enjoyed it. As a student of the Hebrew language I fully understood the ancient concept of function. Far too many Chrisitians are scared to explore some of the theories mentioned in this book. I would encourage you to read what Professor Walton has to say, it can only make you a more enlightened person.
This was a fantastic book with a very interesting thesis. Once I started reading it, I could hardly put it down. It never occurred to me that the first readers/hearers would have had a functional view of origins versus a material view of origins (like we modern people do). I would highly recommend this book to everyone seeking clarity in the origins/Genesis 1 arena. It is very readable and enlightening.
What a fascinating book. It is true that very small deviations lead to great inaccuracy further down the line, and postmodern materialist Western thought has done a very poor job of retaining the ancient Near Eastern viewpoints that were the lenses through which the Bible was originally written and interpreted. This book should be required reading for every Christian, not just those interested in origins, because the book of Genesis is the center-piece to everything else written in scripture. It is ideas such as these that remove the distracting dissensions among Christians and aid us in fixing our gaze once more on our first love, Christ and His vision for what we should be doing here in this earth. I highly recommend this book.