Heads up on “The Generations of Heaven and Earth”

I’ve just checked the proofs on my forthcoming (second) book, The Generations of Heaven and Earth: Adam, the Ancient World, and Biblical Theology, so when it is published by Cascade early next year you can blame all the residual mistakes on me.

Now, I guess, is the time to alert readers to its contents. Joshua Swamidass’s Genealogical Adam and Eve comes out on December 10th, and is essential reading on the new paradigm we’ve been developing that enables both science and religion to accept a fully historical Adam and Eve whilst accepting the major findings of the sciences that show the origins of the human species in deep pre-history.

As Josh will tell you over at Peaceful Science (and as the wide range of endorsees of his book shows) the idea has found support amongst all shades of Christian opinion on origins, not to mention some atheists. It ought to change radically the terms of the discussion. If you’re at all interested in the origins question (and why else would you be reading here?) you will want to be up to speed on what will, I think, change the landscape forever.

BUT… that is just the beginning. Having been working on Genealogical Adam myself since 2010, I’ve been considering how it changes our understanding of biblical theology – the whole big narrative of Scripture, from creation through to the second coming and the “new heavens and the new earth” to be revealed in Christ. That is the subject of my own new book, which my editor (my first reviewer, who has no axe to grind on the subject) calls “pacesetting,” “opening up all sorts of new avenues.”

The theology is not out on a limb – I have built on the insights of the best Evangelical scholars of biblical theology such as Greg Beale, John Sailhamer, Richard Middleton and N. T. Wright. But I have asked what difference it makes if the biblical writers of the Old Testament were fully aware that Adam was a recent (if historically ancient) proto-Israelite arising from amongst an existing human race. I argue that they must have known this if Genealogical Adam is true, and our interpretation of the Bible must take this into account.

The answer is that that fact helps to provide a new unity to the whole Bible’s message, within (rather than competing with) the secular history of the world. The story of the Bible, I conclude, is actually, from start to finish, the story of the New Creation of the spirit arising, like a mustard seed, within the Old Creation of matter. How the two relate becomes clearer by this approach, as well as how the person of Christ is central to it.

I provide evidence from the sciences and history for the necessity for Genealogical Adam, and for the inevitability of the biblical writers’ knowledge of its assumptions. And I provide evidence from Scripture for fitting that into the great recent work on biblical theology that has already been done by others. As (again) my editor says, “Your book should be read alongside Swamidass’s for folk to get a true, whole sense of the theological ramifications of the Genealogical Adam.”

In other words you really need to get hold of both books! Get Swamidass’s for Christmas, and save up your pennies for the New Year when mine comes out. You know it makes sense.

Incidentally I should add, for completeness, that the initial “Genealogical Adam and Eve” corpus should be completed, in due time, by a book by Andrew Loke, which will emphasize how the paradigm brings science and faith closer together.

Jon Garvey

About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.
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2 Responses to Heads up on “The Generations of Heaven and Earth”

  1. Paul Bruggink says:

    I will be looking forward with great interest to your second book. In the meantime, you might want to fix the spelling of John Sailhamer’s name.

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