Coming to Grips with Genesis: Biblical Authority and the Age of the Earth (CTGWG) is a welcome addition to creation literature defending the literal history and theological substance of Genesis 1–11.
During this last spring (2009), a colleague at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, Mark Snoeberger, and I led a post-graduate seminar on biblical creationism and chose CTGWG as one of the seven required texts. Since I was one of the book’s contributors, this gave me a chance to evaluate the book somewhat more objectively. After all, the students’ overall seminar assessment depended upon their critical evaluations of each of the required texts. As is expected for this type of seminar, we did find a few areas where CTGWG could be improved (see the review of CTGWG in the forthcoming Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal); however, the consensus opinion of the group was that CTGWG was the most beneficial and comprehensive of the texts discussed.
Two reasons were given for the praise: the expertise of the multiple authors and the comprehensive nature of the subjects addressed.
First, the book’s authors have provided a work that is a powerful apologetic for the traditional literal interpretation of Genesis 1–11: together they ably demonstrate that Scripture presents a relatively young earth (i.e., a few thousand years old) and that all attempts to embed deep time into the early chapters of Genesis are unsupported by exegesis and harmful both to Scripture’s overall message and the health of the church. Each of the book’s contributors has an advanced academic degree and teaching experience related to the topic addressed. As a result, each essay is thorough and well documented.
Second, the book is comprehensive, something demonstrated both by the range of subjects covered and by their thorough treatment. Some of the subjects addressed include the history of interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis, a defense of the literal interpretation of Genesis 1–11, the use of Genesis 1–11 in the rest of the canon of Scripture, and theological reflections on the origin of death and the nature of evil. Further, one additional benefit of the thorough nature of each essay is the “document trails” each leaves behind for those wishing to pursue further research.
In light of my classroom experience, I would highly recommend CTGWG, particularly for advanced Christian college or seminary classrooms (although any Christian serious about Bible study could benefit from reading the work). Moreover, with the inclusion of a Scripture index in the book’s second printing, its value will be further enhanced.