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In the Beginning . . . We Misunderstood: Interpreting Genesis 1 in Its Original Context
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In the Beginning . . . We Misunderstood: Interpreting Genesis 1 in Its Original Context

by ,

Kregel 2012

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


For years, the evangelical church and its members have debated whether the Bible should be interpreted literally or symbolically in regards to the age of the earth. In their groundbreaking new book, In the Beginning . . . We Misunderstood, authors Johnny V. Miller and John M. Soden say that all these arguments have missed the point. Rather, what Christians really need to know is how to interpret the Bible in its original context.

Exposing the fallacies of trying to make the biblical text fit a specific scientific presupposition, Miller and Soden offer a new approach to interpreting Genesis 1 that explores the creation account based on how the original audience would have understood its teaching. First, the authors present a clear explanation of the past and present issues in interpreting the first chapter of the Bible. Second, Miller and Soden break down the creation account according to its historical and cultural context by comparing and distinguishing both the Egyptian and Mesopotamian settings. Finally, they explore common objections to help readers understand the significance that the creation account has for theology today.

Christians need not look any further than Genesis 1 to find clues to its meaning. Both irenic and bathed in Scripture, In the Beginning . . . We Misunderstood will equip every believer to navigate the creation wars, armed with biblically sound explanations.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Key Features

  • Examines the creation account in Genesis 1
  • Discusses the meaning of Genesis 1 to the original author and original readers
  • Presents clear and credible principles


  • Part 1: Past and Present Issues in Interpreting the Creation Account
    • Asking the Right Question
    • We’ve Been Here Before
    • Finding Meaning in Genesis 1 (Part 1): Does Genesis 1 Agree with Modern Science?
    • Finding Meaning in Genesis 1 (Part 2): Should Genesis 1 Be Read Literally?
    • The Purpose of Genesis
    • What Does It Mean to Whom? A Guide to Proper Interpretation
  • Part 2:The Creation Account in Light of Its Ancient Historical and Cultural Context
    • Genesis 1 Compared with the Egyptian Context
    • Genesis 1 Distinguished from the Egyptian Context
    • Genesis 1 Compared with the Mesopotamian Context
    • Genesis 1 Distinguished from the Mesopotamian Context
    • Genesis 1 and the Canaanite Context
  • Part 3: The Significance of the Creation Account for Theology Today
    • Objections (Part 1): Truth and Chronology
    • Objections (Part 2): The Meanings of Day and Death
    • Toward a Creation Theology
    • The End of Debate?

Praise for the Print Edition

Genesis poses a huge barrier to young people who try to take seriously both the Bible and science. To complicate matters, the church presents a divided and often divisive response. This book, written by two who are committed to the integrity of both fields, offers a fresh and harmonious perspective on an issue of vital importance.

—Philip Yancey, best-selling author

As reverent, conservative, Bible-trusting Christians, Johnny Miller and John Soden enrich the meaning of God’s holy Word by showing what Genesis 1 meant when Moses wrote those words. Clearly and humbly, they walk us through the understanding of Scripture that has changed their minds away from the interpretation of Young Earth Creationism. Not everybody will agree, of course: these are deep matters. But after reading this book, surely everybody will agree that there is more than one way for those who love and obey the Bible to understand Genesis 1.

Tim Stafford, writer, Christianity Today

The Church is at a crossroads and is in need of judicious advice—particularly the sort that is provided by this book. Miller and Soden have tackled the important issue of the interpretation of Genesis 1 and have sounded a clarion call for the church to recognize the importance of interpreting in light of the perspective of the ancient context and the Israelite audience. Though one may disagree with individual details here and there, the clearly written, down-to-earth investigation will challenge readers as it offers in- sights that will help them to confront the evidence and perhaps reconsider their views in healthy, God-honoring ways.

John H. Walton, professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College

Product Details

  • Title: In the Beginning . . . We Misunderstood: Interpreting Genesis 1 in Its Original Context
  • Authors: Johnny V. Miller and John M. Soden
  • Publisher: Kregel Publications
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Pages: 224
  • Christian Group: Evangelical
  • Resource Type: Topical
  • Topic: Genesis

About the Authors

Johnny V. Miller (ThM, ThD, Dallas Theological Seminary) is a teaching pastor and professor who currently serves as professor emeritus at Columbia International University. He has contributed writings to many publications such as Decision Magazine, Leadership Journal, and Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society.

John M. Soden (ThM, PhD, Dallas Theological Seminary) teaches Old Testament at Lancaster Bible College and Graduate School. Prior to coming to LBC, he was a pastor in Colorado.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition