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The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate

ISBN: 9780830861491

Digital Logos Edition

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In this astute mix of cultural critique and biblical studies, John H. Walton presents and defends twenty propositions supporting a literary and theological understanding of Genesis 1 within the context of the ancient Near Eastern world and unpacks its implications for our modern scientific understanding of origins.

Ideal for students, professors, pastors, and lay readers with an interest in the intelligent design controversy and creation-evolution debates, Walton’s thoughtful analysis unpacks seldom appreciated aspects of the biblical text and sets Bible-believing scientists free to investigate the question of origins.

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.

Save more when you purchase this book as part of the IVP Old Testament Studies Collection.

Resource Experts
  • Examines a literary and theological understanding of Genesis 1
  • Unpacks seldom appreciated aspects of the biblical text
  • Presents an ideal text for students, professors, pastors, and lay readers
  • Genesis 1 Is Ancient Cosmology
  • Ancient Cosmology Is Function Oriented
  • “Create” (Hebrew bārā’)) Concerns Functions
  • The Beginning State in Genesis 1 Is Nonfunctional
  • Days One to Three in Genesis 1 Establish Functions
  • Days Four to Six in Genesis 1 Install Functionaries
  • Divine Rest Is in a Temple
  • The Cosmos Is a Temple
  • The Seven Days of Genesis 1 Relate to the Cosmic Temple Inauguration
  • The Seven Days of Genesis 1 Do Not Concern Material Origins
  • “Functional Cosmic Temple” Offers Face-Value Exegesis
  • Other Theories of Genesis 1 Either Go Too Far or Not Far Enough
  • The Difference Between Origin Accounts in Science and Scripture Is Metaphysical in Nature
  • God’s Roles as Creator and Sustainer Are Less Different Than We Have Thought
  • Current Debate About Intelligent Design Ultimately Concerns Purpose
  • Scientific Explanations of Origins Can Be Viewed in Light of Purpose, and If So, Are Unobjectionable
  • Resulting Theology in This View of Genesis 1 Is Stronger, Not Weaker
  • Public Science Education Should Be Neutral Regarding Purpose

Top Highlights

“In this book I propose that people in the ancient world believed that something existed not by virtue of its material properties, but by virtue of its having a function in an ordered system.” (Page 24)

“All of this information leads us to conclude that the ‘beginning’ is a way of talking about the seven-day period rather than a point in time prior to the seven days.” (Page 43)

“In the ancient world, what was most crucial and significant to their understanding of existence was the way that the parts of the cosmos functioned, not their material status.” (Page 26)

“But in the ancient world rest is what results when a crisis has been resolved or when stability has been achieved, when things have ‘settled down.’” (Page 72)

“So on day one God created the basis for time; day two the basis for weather; and day three the basis for food. These three great functions—time, weather and food—are the foundation of life.” (Page 58)

Praise for the Print Edition

This book presents a profoundly important new analysis of the meaning of Genesis. Digging deeply into the original Hebrew language and the culture of the people of Israel in Old Testament times, respected scholar John Walton argues convincingly that Genesis was intended to describe the creation of the functions of the cosmos, not its material nature. In the process, he elevates Scripture to a new level of respectful understanding, and eliminates any conflict between scientific and scriptural descriptions of origins.

—Francis S. Collins, head of the Human Genome Project

Walton’s cosmic temple inauguration view of Genesis 1 is a landmark study in the interpretation of that controversial chapter. On the basis of ancient Near Eastern literatures, a rigorous study of the Hebrew word bara’ (‘create’), and a cogent and sustained argument, Walton has gifted the church with a fresh interpretation of Genesis 1. His view that the seven days refers to the inauguration of the cosmos as a functioning temple where God takes up his residence as his headquarters from which he runs the world merits reflection by all who love the God of Abraham.

Bruce Waltke, Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies, Regent College and Distinguished Professor of Old Testament, Knox Theological Seminary

Every theologian, every pastor, every Christian in the natural sciences, indeed, every Christian who loves the Bible must put aside all other reading material this minute and immediately begin to absorb the contents of John Walton’s The Lost World of Genesis One. Walton closely examines Genesis 1 in light of ancient Near Eastern literature and offers a compelling case that the creation account is far more concerned with the cosmos being given its functions as God’s temple than it is with the manufacture of the material structures of the earth and universe. In the process, he has blown away all the futile attempts to elicit modern science from the first chapter of the Bible.

—Davis A. Young, Professor Emeritus of geology, Calvin College

John Walton offers a compelling and persuasive interpretation of Genesis, one that challenges those who take it as an account of material origins. His excellent book is must-reading for all who are interested in the origins debate.

Tremper Longman, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College

  • Title: The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate
  • Author: John H. Walton
  • Publisher: IVP Academic
  • Print Publication Date: 2009
  • Logos Release Date: 2014
  • Pages: 192
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Bible. O.T. Genesis 1 › Criticism, interpretation, etc; Biblical cosmology; Creationism; Cosmogony
  • ISBNs: 9780830861491, 9780830837045, 0830861491, 0830837043
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-09-30T01:22:13Z
John H. Walton

Dr. John H. Walton, professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College, spent 20 years teaching at Moody Bible Institute.

In his college years, he developed a passion for archaeology and Bible history. Instead of training to be an archaeologist, though, he focused his attention on studies comparing the culture and literature of the Bible and the ancient Near East. He has never lost his fascination with this subject, but comparative studies only provide one of the means by which he tries to get people excited about the Old Testament. He’s saddened by how little exposure to and understanding of the Old Testament many Christians have, but he’s passionate in doing whatever he can to remedy this spiritual and theological loss.

For 25 years, Dr. Walton was active at South Park Church in Park Ridge, Illinois—teaching at every level, from adults through preschool. He’s driven by the desire to offer people a greater familiarity with God’s Word and a greater confidence in understanding God’s revelation of himself in its pages. Since moving to Wheaton, he has gotten involved in the same areas of ministry at Glen Ellyn Bible Church.

Whether in teaching or writing, he’s constantly challenged in his own life because the material he’s presenting stretches him as much as it stretches his students and readers. Whatever he’s writing or teaching also has a way of infiltrating his family. His wife, Kim, was trained as a biochemist, which made for interesting dinner conversations—especially when he was working on his Genesis commentary. His three kids have often gotten involved in the discussions, and he’s had fun responding to them and seeing his family grow together.


10 ratings

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  1. Adrian Bouknight
  2. Matt DeVore

    Matt DeVore


  3. The Mangolorian
  4. Jesse Dagel

    Jesse Dagel


    A great book to further understand the ancient mind, and thus have a more "literal" reading. Gives wonderful purpose to the bigger picture of Sabbath. A very well stated case.
  5. William Alexandre
    I particularly don't agree with some of Walton's views and specially with the applications he makes about the "creationist x evolutionist" debate. But I did learn a lot with his book and he iews of function ontology helps give us some great theological insights to the Biblical texts. Even if one doens't agree with the application he makes, knowing how the people in the Ancient World would have understood the text is very helpful.
  6. Dawn Brewer

    Dawn Brewer


  7. Arthur Moye

    Arthur Moye


  8. John Sheeley

    John Sheeley


    As I watched the promo video on Logos and scanned through the description of the course Walton teaches in the Mobile Ed I couldn't help but see that he would compromise on what the bible teaches about our origins. I did a little more research and am even more convinced that Logos should not be producing this harmful material. Here is a good review of this book: https://answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2011/02/18/wheaton-college-and-false-teaching-in-tennessee/
  9. Kevin Muster

    Kevin Muster


    What an eye opening book. The style used to present the ideas and then how the Hebrew flows into other studies in the New Testament you can do are well outstanding.
  10. Rob




Print list price: $20.00
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