How might premodern exegesis of Genesis inform Christian debates about creation today?
Imagine a table with three people in dialogue: a young-earth creationist, an old-earth creationist, and an evolutionary creationist. Into the room walks Augustine of Hippo, one of the most significant theologians in the history of the church. In what ways will his reading of Scripture and his doctrine of creation inform, deepen, and shape the conversation?
Pastor and theologian Gavin Ortlund explores just such a scenario by retrieving Augustine’s reading of Genesis 1-3 and considering how his premodern understanding of creation can help Christians today. Ortlund contends that while Augustine’s hermeneutical approach and theological questions might differ from those of today, this church father’s humility before Scripture and his theological conclusions can shed light on matters such as evolution, animal death, and the historical Adam and Eve.
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Like almost all the church fathers, Augustine was fixated on Genesis 1–3, which he rightly saw as the key to the Christian worldview. Dr. Ortlund takes us back to the man and his beliefs, at once so distant from and yet so near to our own concerns. Modern readers will be challenged by Augustine’s insights, and by entering into dialogue with him, they may find answers to the dilemmas they confront. An exciting book on a key topic for our times.
—Gerald Bray, Research Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School at Samford University
We need pastors like Gavin Ortlund, and we need books written by pastors like Gavin Ortlund! His opening chapter on humility sets the stage for a book that is contextually responsible, academically sound, and pastorally motivated. I highly recommend this book as a rewarding and promising retrieval of Augustine’s doctrine of creation for the good of the church.
—Craig D. Allert, professor of religious studies, Trinity Western University
As debates about creation, evolution, and the historical Adam come to a crucial new juncture among evangelicals today, I can hardly imagine a better discussion partner from the church’s tradition than Augustine, with his unwavering commitment to the truth of Scripture, his fearless willingness to pursue difficult questions, and his humble refusal to give rash and hasty answers. Gavin Ortlund gives us a well-rounded account of what Augustine’s exegesis of Genesis brings to the table.
—Phillip Cary, professor of philosophy at Eastern University
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