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The Lost World of Adam and Eve


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Table of Contents

Proposition 1: Genesis Is an Ancient Document
Proposition 2: In the Ancient World and the Old Testament, Creating Focuses on Establishing Order by Assigning Roles and Functions
Proposition 3: Genesis 1 Is an Account of Functional Origins, Not Material Origins
Proposition 4: In Genesis 1 God Orders the Cosmos as Sacred Space
Proposition 5: When God Establishes Functional Order, It Is "Good"
Proposition 6: ?adam Is Used in Genesis 1-5 in a Variety of Ways
Proposition 7: The Second Creation Account (Gen 2:4-24) Can Be Viewed as a Sequel Rather Than as a Recapitulation of Day Six in the First Account (Gen 1:1-2:3)
Proposition 8: "Forming from Dust" and "Building from Rib" Are Archetypal Claims and Not Claims of Material Origins
Proposition 9: Forming of Humans in Ancient Near Eastern Accounts Is Archetypal, So It Would Not Be Unusual for Israelites to Think in Those Terms
Proposition 10: The New Testament Is More Interested in Adam and Eve as Archetypes Than as Biological Progenitors
Proposition 11: Though Some of the Biblical Interest in Adam and Eve Is Archetypal, Yet They Are Real People Who Existed in a Real Past
Proposition 12: Adam Is Assigned as Priest in Sacred Space, with Eve to Help
Proposition 13: The Garden Is an Ancient Near Eastern Motif for Sacred Space, and the Trees Indicate God as the Source of Life and Wisdom
Proposition 14: The Serpent Would Have Been Viewed as a Chaos Creature from the Non-ordered Realm, Promoting Disorder
Proposition 15: Adam and Eve Chose to Make Themselves the Center of Order and Source of Wisdom, Therefore Admitting Disorder into the Cosmos
Proposition 16: We Currently Live in a World with Non-order, Order and Disorder
Proposition 17: All People Are Subject to Sin and Death Because of the Disorder in the World, Not Because of Genetics
Proposition 18: Jesus Is the Keystone of God?s Plan to Resolve Disorder and Perfect Order
Proposition 19: Paul?s Use of Adam Is More Interested in the Effect of Sin on the Cosmos Than in the Effect of Sin on Humanity and Has Nothing to Say About Human Origins
Excursus on Paul?s Use of Adam, by N. T. Wright
Proposition 20: It Is Not Essential That All People Descended from Adam and Eve
Proposition 21: Humans Could Be Viewed as Distinct Creatures and a Special Creation of God Even If There Was Material Continuity
Conclusion and Summary

Further Reading
Subject Index
Scripture Index

About the Author

John H. Walton is professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School. Walton's many books include The Lost World of Genesis One and (with Victor Matthews and Mark Chavalas) The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament. A prolific writer of both scholarly and popular books, N. T. Wright has written over thirty books, including Simply Christian, The Original Jesus, What Saint Paul Really Said, The Challenge of Jesus, The Meaning of Jesus, Jesus and the Victory of God and the magisterial Paul and the Faithfulness of God. His N. T. Wright For Everyone Series includes commentaries covering the entire New Testament. Formerly bishop of Durham in England, Wright is research professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. He was formerly canon theologian of Westminster Abbey and dean of Lichfield Cathedral. He also taught New Testament studies for twenty years at Cambridge, McGill and Oxford Universities. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard Divinity School, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Gregorian University in Rome and many other institutions around the world. In addition to his many books, Wright reaches a broad audience through his frequent media appearances. A sought-after commentator, Wright writes frequently for newspapers in England, including the Times, the Independent and the Guardian. He has been interviewed numerous times by radio and television broadcasters on both sides of the Atlantic, including ABC, NBC, CNN, PBS and NPR.


[T]his book is an intelligent discussion of new ways to view the story of Adam and Eve. . . . What Walton does with faith and learning is to save a certain sort of Christian reader, once again, from over-literalism not respectful of either Hebrew scripture or contemporary science. Walton's intriguing volume should appeal to pastors and academics, as well as seminary students.

--Graham Christian, Library Journal, May 15, 2015

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is dealing with this issue and encourage all who hold to the authority of Genesis to tolerate such views that can be shown to be faithful interpretations that still hold to the essential theological teachings of the Bible.

--Roger D. Cotton, Encounter: Journal for Pentecostal Ministry, Fall 2015, Vol. 12

John Walton's The Lost World of Adam and Eve has been highly anticipated. He does not disappoint. . . . Genesis 1-3 plays an important role in Christian theology and in the church's ministry. Walton is a serious scholar whose writing is both accessible and practical. Accordingly, The Lost World of Adam and Eve will equip the church for its mission. For many, Walton will remove major stumbling blocks to evangelism and discipleship.

--Jackson Wu, Missiology, April 2015

Questions of human origins and the historical Adam are of intense interest, especially in light of the Human Genome Project. Reading the Creation account through ancient Israelite eyes, Walton provides an intriguing alternative for those who see contemporary science as antithetical to traditional understandings of Genesis.

--Mark Strauss, Christianity Today, January/February 2016

There is much that is valuable in Walton's book for laypersons, students, and all those interested in the Bible-versus-science debate. In addition, Walton's reconsideration of key terms and concepts in Genesis 1-3 is challenging and worth contemplation by academic readers.

--Deane Galbraith, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, March 2015, 58:1

This book is a 'must-read' for anyone interested in the contemporary debate over human origins and how to understand the early chapters of Genesis.

--Douglas Mangum, Bible Study Magazine, May/June 2015

This is a fascinating read of several passages from Genesis.

--Dianne Bergant, The Bible Today, July 2015

Walton is one of the major contributors to the very active debate about human origins. Here he focuses on Adam and Eve in Genesis 2-3. . . . His compelling presentation will help readers understand not only his view but also their own.

--Daniel Johnson, CBA Retailers + Resources, March 2015

Walton packs a great deal into this volume, and he does so with precision and clarity. . . . Walton's use of comparative ancient Near Eastern literature is excellent. The Lost World of Adam and Eve is written with a Christian audience in mind and will prove helpful for a wide audience, including Bible students, persons interested in connections between the Hebrew Bible and ancient Near Eastern literature, and those seeking a deeper understanding of what the Bible has to say about human origins. Walton does a superb job of guiding readers into the world of the text in order to help them understand the text on its own terms, in the cognitive environment in which it was written.

--Daniel De Vries, Calvin Theological Journal, April 2016

What we have been given in this book is a series of thought-provoking, at times challenging, propositions that should be discussed and debated in Reformed and evangelical communities for years to come. Where will Walton turn his attention next? I assume that he will test his interpretive framework and use his knowledge of the ANE to see what new insights it may bring the Lost World of Noah. At least we should hope he does.

--Joel Duff, Pro Rege, March 2016

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