What if reading Genesis 2-3 in its ancient Near Eastern context shows that the creation account makes no claims regarding Adam and Eve’s material origins? John Walton’s groundbreaking insights into this text create space for a faithful reading of Scripture along with full engagement with science, creating a new way forward in the human origins debate.
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

Glossary
Further Reading
Subject Index
Scripture Index

Publisher Marketing:

  • 2016 Christianity Today Biblical Studies Award of Merit

For centuries the story of Adam and Eve has resonated richly through the corridors of art, literature and theology. But for most moderns, taking it at face value is incongruous. And even for many thinking Christians today who want to take seriously the authority of Scripture, insisting on a “literal” understanding of Genesis 2-3 looks painfully like a “tear here” strip between faith and science. How can Christians of good faith move forward? Who were the historical Adam and Eve? What if we’ve been reading Genesis–and its claims regarding material origins–wrong? In what cultural context was this couple, this garden, this tree, this serpent portrayed? Following his groundbreaking Lost World of Genesis One, John Walton explores the ancient Near Eastern context of Genesis 2-3, creating space for a faithful reading of Scripture along with full engagement with science for a new way forward in the human origins debate. As a bonus, an illuminating excursus by N. T. Wright places Adam in the implied narrative of Paul’s theology. The Lost World of Adam and Eve will be required reading for anyone seeking to understand this foundational text historically and theologically, and wondering how to view it alongside contemporary understandings of human origins.

Review Citations:
  • CBA Retailers 02/01/2015 pg. 30 (EAN 9780830824618, Paperback)
  • CBA Retailers 03/01/2015 pg. 34 (EAN 9780830824618, Paperback)
  • Library Journal 05/15/2015 pg. 64 (EAN 9780830824618, Paperback)

Contributor Bio:  Walton, John H
John H. Walton (PhD, Hebrew Union College) is professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School. Previously he was professor of Old Testament at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago for twenty years. Some of Walton’s books include The Lost World of Adam and Eve, The Lost World of Scripture, The Lost World of Genesis One, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament, The Essential Bible Companion, The NIV Application Commentary: Genesis and The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament (with Victor Matthews and Mark Chavalas). Walton’s ministry experience includes church classes for all age groups, high school Bible studies and adult Sunday school classes, as well as serving as a teacher for “The Bible in 90 Days.” John and his wife, Kim, live in Wheaton, Illinois, and have three adult children.

Contributor Bio:  Wright, N T
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.