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In the Beginning


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About the Author

Cornelis Van Dam is emeritus professor of Old Testament at Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary in Hamilton, Ontario. He is the author of The Elder: Today's Ministry Rooted in All of Scripture.


"Dr. Van Dan gives an excellent defense of the traditional reading of Genesis1 and 2. He tries to read the text on its own terms, informed by its usage in the rest of Scripture, letting the exegetical chips fall where they may. It is a refreshing contrast to many Reformed commentators who have been unduly influenced by Ancient Near Eastern literature or evolutionary science. This book gives well-grounded responses to various objections raised against the traditional view, good critiques of contrary interpretations, and many up-to-date references. I find it very readable, informative, and Biblically sound. A worthwhile contribution to the current debate, also within Reformed churches, on origins. Heartily recommended. " -- John Byl, Professor Emeritus, Mathematical Sciences, Trinity Western University.

"If you want to get to the heart of the message of this book, you could say: In the beginning there is truth. In this in-depth investigation, Prof. Dr. C. van Dam shows us that Holy Scripture opens with the revelation of facts. The first pages of Holy Scripture are in no way an oriental campfire fantasy or a human tale. In fact, the author convincingly argues that in Genesis 1 and 2 we have received the reliable account of how God brought the universe into being within a period of six days (qualified by evening and morning). It is no exaggeration that such an exposition about the origin of the world and about the historical Adam and Eve has probably never been as necessary as it is today. This book definitely meets a big need!" -- Jurgen-Burkhard Klautke, Dean of the Academy of Reformed Theology [ART] Giessen, Germany

"The first chapters of the book of Genesis form the foundation of God's message for mankind. The last few years have witnessed more and more new interpretations of these chapters with huge consequences for the church and its theology. Dr. Cornelis Van Dam has served the discussion well by thoroughly investigating these different visions and showing how they are in part based on current scientific notions of the origin of the cosmos and the human race. However, those who want to honor the self-testimony of Genesis have many good reasons to remain with the classic Christian understanding." -- Mart-Jan Paul, Professor of Old Testament at the Evangelical Theological Faculty in Leuven (Belgium)

"This book on the proper interpretation of Genesis 1 & 2, as it relates to modern theories of Scripture interpretation and theories of evolution, is a very valuable resource for those who want to maintain a scriptural understanding of the origin of the universe and the creation of man. Dr. Van Dam rightly affirms that the Bible is not a science textbook and that the limits of science must be recognized. As Nobel Laureate Peter Medawar stated 'it is simply beyond the competence of science to answer the question "how did everything begin?' In this book, faith seeks understanding with a close reading of Genesis 1 and 2. Highly recommended." -- Richard Buist, Retired research scientist, University of Manitoba

"This is an important book. Not only on Genesis 1 and 2 but also on the inevitable and crucial implications of the interpretation of these chapters for understanding the truth of Scripture as a whole, Van Dam succeeds admirably in meeting, in his own words, the 'need to listen very carefully to God's Word and conclude neither more nor less than what Scripture explicitly teaches.' Clearly written, carefully and thoroughly researched, fair in dealing with views he disagrees with, and balanced in his own conclusions on issues, a commendable strength as well is the pastoral tone present throughout. Particularly helpful are the treatment of the place of extrabiblical evidence in interpreting Scripture and numerous comments at various points on the relationship between Scripture and science. One need not agree with Van Dam at every point to be both instructed and edified, as I have been, by this valuable work." -- Richard B. Gaffin Jr., professor of biblical and systematic theology, emeritus, Westminster Theological Seminary

"This volume serves as an excellent introduction to the old earth/young earth debate. Dr. Van Dam argues for a plain reading of Genesis 1,2 and exposes the folly of rationalizing the creation miracle. The relevant portions of the original text are examined with the precision of an OT scholar but at a level of detail that remains accessible to the layperson. The work of other scholars who have opined on the Genesis account of creation is reviewed and the author's bias is duly acknowledged. The analysis is crisp, frank and most importantly, pastoral. Highly recommended." -- Peter Buist, Professor Emeritus, Department of Chemistry, Carleton University

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