Friday, December 14, 2012

Book Review: Genesis in Space and Time

Day Five in the Genesis book tour.

This was the first book I've ever read by Francis Schaeffer, and I must confess, it took me a little while to get into his writing style. Some of the other books I've reviewed this week were more readable, but having got used to Schaeffer, there were lots of helpful insights in Genesis in Space and Time.

With a perhaps more philosophical approach, Frank Schaeffer underlines the importance of Genesis:

I wish to point out the tremendous value Genesis 1-11 has for modern man. In some ways these chapters are the most important ones in the Bible, for they put man in his cosmic setting and show him his peculiar uniqueness. They explain man's wonder and yet his flaw. Without a proper understanding of these chapters we have no answer to the problems of metaphysics, morals or epistemology, and furthermore, the work of Christ becomes one more upper-story 'religious' answer.

The book charts the 'flow of biblical history' through the opening chapters, with a good reflection on the wonder of creation (and of the 'time' before time - my term, not his). As he explores the revelation of God as Trinity in the creation, as well as the power of God, creating by divine fiat, the spirit soars. On the creation of man, he is perhaps at his finest:

A man is of great value not for some less basic reason but because of his origin. Thus the flow of history has tremendous implications for every aspect of our lives. I stand in the flow of history. I know my origin. My lineage is longer than the Queen of England's. It does not start at the Battle of Hastings. It does not start with the beginning of good families, wherever or whenever they lived. As I look at myself in the flow of space-time reality, I see my origin in Adam and in God's creating man in his own image.

Schaeffer doesn't confine himself to Genesis only, but makes connections with the rest of the scriptures, tracing the lines from the fall through to the cross and beyond. Despite my initial uncertainty, I'm definitely glad I made it through the book and benefited from Schaeffer's contribution. While some of the other books might only be of interest to the person specifically studying Genesis, this would be a great book for any student of our culture; people wondering why the world is the way it is, and what can be done about it; and all those wanting to grow in apologetics reasoning and engagement.

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