Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Book Review: God, Adam, and You

God, Adam, and You: Biblical Creation Defended and Applied. Richard D. Phillips, editor. 2015. P&R. 256 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Have you considered how significant the opening chapters of Genesis are? Significant in what way, you might ask?! Significant in many ways! Significant in understanding who we are as human beings, in understanding what sin is, in understanding what we've lost and why we so desperately need a Savior, in understanding the incarnation--why Jesus had to become one of us--in understanding what salvation or redemption means, in understanding our standing with God. The opening chapters of Genesis are not non-essential, we don't have the option of saying, well, the Bible starts out with these mythological, symbolic characters, but, at some point--perhaps closer to the New Testament--the Bible starts being true, something we can depend on.

God, Adam, and You is a collection of essays, a WONDERFUL collection of ten essays. Each essay seeks to answer the question, "What difference does Adam make?"

  • The Bible's First Word by Derek W.H. Thomas
  • The Case For Adam by Joel R. Beeke
  • Two Views of the Human Person by Kevin DeYoung
  • Adam, Lord, of the Garden by Liam Goligher
  • The Bible and Evolution by Richard D. Phillips
  • God's Design for Gender, Marriage, and Sex by Richard D. Phillips
  • Differing Views on the Days of Creation by Derek W.H. Thomas
  • Christ, The Second Adam by Joel R. Beeke
  • From God's Garden to God's City by Richard D. Phillips
  • Original Sin and Modern Theology by Carl R. Trueman

Overall, I found the book to be excellent. Each essay approaches the subject a little differently, from a slightly different angle or approach. Readers may naturally be interested in one more than the other, but, all are worthy of inclusion.

It is tricky to review a collection of essays. Each essay has enough substance, enough value for attention within my review! But can I do equal justice for all ten essays?! Probably not!

In "The Bible's First Word," Thomas focuses on what Genesis 1 tells us about God and ourselves. He points out the creation exalts God, that biblical creation makes a BIG distinction between the Creator and creation/creatures, that the Bible points out the original GOODNESS of creation, that creation is the basis for ethics and morality, and creation is the ground of worship.

In "The Case for Adam," Beeke focuses on Genesis 2 and 3. He presents ten arguments for a historical (biblical) Adam. Four of these arguments are based on history. Six of these arguments are based on theology. This is an EXCELLENT essay.

In "Two Views of the Human Person" DeYoung talks the meaning of life, of what it means to be human, of who we are, and why we're here.
"According to the world, we are (1) here by chance, (2) free to create our own selves, (3) basically good, (4) ethically excusable, and (5) destined for a happy heaven or a blessed extinction.
According to Scripture, we are (1) here by design, (2) created to reflect God's image, (3) fundamentally flawed, (4) morally culpable, and (5) destined to worship God in heaven or face his just wrath in hell." 
In "Adam, Lord, of the Garden," Goligher discusses Adam's roles as a prophet, a priest, and a king. Plenty of talk about covenants in this one.

In "The Bible and Evolution" Phillips discusses evolution. He follows through with ideas, statements of belief, to see where they lead. This essay is fundamental to the collection.
"Does the theory of evolution expose errors in our interpretation of Genesis? Is it possible to maintain a high view of biblical authority and embrace evolution? Most important, what kind of theology, and what kind of Christianity, do we end up with after we have incorporated evolutionary teaching into our theology?"
Other essays by Phillips include, "God's Design for Gender, Marriage, and Sex," and "From God's Garden to God's City."

"Differing Views on the Days of Creation" is an overview of the subject by Derek Thomas.

"Christ the Second Adam" is a great article by Beeke focusing on Christ's works. I'm not doing justice to this one, but it is really worth reading.

"Original Sin and Modern Theology" by Carl Trueman is the most academic essay in the collection. He presents the perspectives of six different theologians. (Not all are "modern" or "contemporary" theologians. Some lived centuries ago.) All take a wrong view of original sin. His choices are: Friedrich Schleiermacher, Walter Rauschenbusch, Karl Barth, Rudolf Bultmann, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Wolfhart Pannenberg.

I loved reading this book! I found it to be thought-provoking and substantive!

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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