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Genesis Unbound: A Provocative New Look at the Creation Account ePub download

by John Sailhamer

  • Author: John Sailhamer
  • ISBN: 0880708689
  • ISBN13: 978-0880708685
  • ePub: 1742 kb | FB2: 1791 kb
  • Language: English
  • Category: Bible Study & Reference
  • Publisher: Multnomah Books (March 1, 1996)
  • Pages: 257
  • Rating: 4.6/5
  • Votes: 747
  • Format: txt azw azw lrf
Genesis Unbound: A Provocative New Look at the Creation Account ePub download

In Genesis Unbound, Dr. John Sailhamer steps away from the seemingly endless crossfire between Young Earth Creationists and Progressive Creationists to offer an alternative scholarly view that appears equally foreign to both

In Genesis Unbound, Dr. John Sailhamer steps away from the seemingly endless crossfire between Young Earth Creationists and Progressive Creationists to offer an alternative scholarly view that appears equally foreign to both.

So how is Sailhamer's book a "termtium quid" worthy of our consideration? Let me list the ways: 1. You no longerĀ . Now I'm not saying everything in Genesis Unbound is Gospel. You no longer have to choose between science and the Bible. I'm just saying that Sailhamer's thesis deserves a fair hearing and that if true a number of contemporary problematics are easily resolved. So please read the book with an open mind and don't take AIG's take on it as Gospel. Remember, AIG has its own self-interest in mind and that is to keep the church dependent upon its materials for its view of creation).

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This view, along with the book Genesis Unbound, has been endorsed by major evangelical pastors and theologians (particularly in the New Calvinist movement), such as Matt Chandler, Mark Driscoll, and John Piper.

Multnomah Books, 1996, 2011

Multnomah Books, 1996, 2011. Quick Introductory Note.

John Sailhamer's 1996 book,

John Sailhamer's 1996 book,

by John H. Sailhamer

by John H. Sailhamer. In this ground-breaking work, Old Testament scholar John Sailhamer shines new light on the opening chapters of the Bible, revealing how centuries-old misunderstandings have continued to shape popular biblical interpretation - as well as greatly contributing to unnecessary conflicts between the Bible and science.

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No matter what your position or background, you will be challenged to test your understanding of the Bible's critical opening sentences and reexamine your beliefs about the creation of the world through Genesis Unbound.
In Genesis Unbound, Dr. John Sailhamer steps away from the seemingly endless crossfire between Young Earth Creationists and Progressive Creationists to offer an alternative scholarly view that appears equally foreign to both.

He concedes based on his encyclopedic knowledge of the text, its history, and Hebrew grammar that the Genesis 1 account is composed of days. However, he points out that this account focuses almost exclusively on the creation of the land we today refer to as Palestine. The rest of creation is certainly the act of a sovereign God, but it is entirely contained in Genesis 1:1. Hence, there is no difficulty in accepting an ancient fossil record or billions of years for the age of the universe.

Is Sailhamer right? He very well might be. In our English translations of Genesis, his arguments sound strained, but he makes the case that readers of the ancient Hebrew texts and possessors of the ancient worldview would not share our modern difficulties in understanding the purpose of this remarkable text.

I highly recommend this book.
As an exegete, Sailhamer falls largely within a conservative evangelical tradition that strongly respects the authority of the original text and assumes that it teaches authoritatively. This book will probably be most appealing to readers who want an interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative that leaves traditional doctrine on human origins unaltered, while providing accommodation on issues related to the age of the earth. His perspective is not precisely identical to the "gap" theory of the Scofield Reference Bible, but it does have some important philosophical overlap with that approach.

Sailhamer's approach is to "localize" the scope of the seven-day Genesis creation account, identifying it as God's creative work within a small area of creation (essentially, the garden of Eden and its surrounding region), rather than reading it as a universal cosmology. This allows him to retain a fairly literal reading ("days" are just days) and to focus on the unique role of humans as overseers of that small pocket of creation, a bit like commanders exerting authority in the invasion of a hostile territory. He generally acknowledges Darwinian natural selection mechanisms as a reality, but sees them more as indicative of a fallen creation in need of redemption rather than (as might a theistic evolutionist) a tool used by God. This approach works best in the context of a theology that embraces the idea of God engaging in a longstanding campaign of spiritual war against the forces of sin and death, one that extends into the natural world with specially created humans as His champions. This feels more comfortably integrated with charismatic or Pentecostal Christian belief, and harder to integrate with (say) an orthodox Calvinist approach to assigns to God direct and ongoing authority over all of creation in a deterministic way.

I generally found his readings to be interesting and persuasive, although they still seem somewhat novel from the standpoint of Christian tradition, which will probably bother readers of a more Catholic or conservative-mainline persuasion.
The general thesis of this book is to examine the creation account from within the Scriptures themselves with as little reference to any outside scientific concepts as possible. The author reaches back to commentaries written before the shift towards a long age view of the universe, in order to attempt to recover the way these passages were read.

Dr. Sailhamer presents the view that there is a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2; in fact, he places the possibility of billions of years, including the dinosaurs and all we see of the age of the universe, within this gap. He goes further in stating the record of Genesis could be stretched to around 10,000 years, so that the Genesis record can fit within current scientific thinking. While these might seem a sop to current scientific thinking, he doesn't present or deal with any sort of scientific or historical data points within this book; his focus is on the Scriptures, specifically the proper understanding of the first chapter of Genesis.

Dr. Sailhamer starts with an overview of the controversy around the reading of Genesis 1:1. He presents the various possible readings of the text, and then answers why the problem matters. The author's answer is the problem matters because of the challenge current science poses to the Scriptural record.

I am convinced that once we understand the original author's perspective in Genesis 1, we will discover that little in this chapter truly conflicts with modern science.

After covering the controversy itself, Dr. Sailhamer deals with specific phrases within the Genesis narrative, using commentaries and comparisons to other texts within the Scriptures where these phrases are used to build a definition. The definitions he specifically considers are, "in the beginning," "the land and the sky," "formless and void," and "the Garden of Eden." In the following section, each specific day of the Creation Account is considered in greater detail, given the underlying definitions and context developed previously in the book. Several alternate readings of each day are provided. For instance:

When Genesis 1:3 says, "God said, 'let there be light,'" it means, in effect, "God said, 'let the sun rise.'" The phrase "let there be light" doesn't have to mean "let the light come into existence." Elsewhere in the Bible, this same phrase is used to describe the sunrise (Exodus 10:23; Nehemiah 8:3, Genesis 44:3).

Finally, the author considers what he calls the classical reading of Genesis 1, and compares it to his view of Genesis 1.

While the arguments given by Dr. Sailhamer are strong in the face of alternate readings from the Scriptures themselves, he doesn't present quite a strong of an argument for all of his assertions. For instance, his argument that reading Genesis 1:1 as a title eliminates creation ex nihilo is very strong, and well developed. He understanding of the Hebrew text, and ability to draw in other passages with the same wording, build a strong case that there could be, or even probably is, a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.

Where his arguments fail to convince is in specifically those places the author initially started out stating he was going to avoid --the interactions with modern scientific thought. Dr. Sailhamer consistently returns to the theme of how the modern scientific view of the ages of the Earth will fit into the creation account contained in Genesis 1.

The many biological eras would also fit within "the beginning" of Genesis 1:1, including the long ages during which the dinosaurs roamed the earth. By the time human beings were created on the sixth day of the week, the dinosaurs could have already flourished and become extinct --all during the "beginning" recorded in Genesis 1:1.

While the arguments against the meaning of "good" within Genesis are convincing, the author doesn't deal with the connection between sin and death, and the problem with death apparently existing before the creation of humans.

Overall, a strongly argued book in many respects, but not so strongly argued in other instances. Well worth reading.
Just when you think your options on creation boil down to "A" and "B", John presents a thought-provoking "C." For anyone struggling to sort out the young versus old earth debate, this will just might settle the issue for you. He's not alone in his view on this -- see desiringgod.org.
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