Hopelessly confused about the whole question of the meaning of Genesis 1? The Genesis Debate: Three Views on the Days of Creation is an excellent primer on the major understandings of the first chapter of Scripture. Editor David Hagopian has brought together three teams of noted scholars to discuss the Creation account. J. Ligon Duncan and David W. Hall defend the 24-hour view. Hugh Ross and Gleason L. Archer support the “day-age” view. And Lee Irons and Meredith G. Kline argue for the “framework” view.
You may have seen other books of this sort, presenting “X” number of views on a given doctrine. Such books are helpful to a greater or lesser degree, usually depending on the reader’s willingness to compare the views that are laid out for him. The beauty of this book is that the various teams are given the opportunity to present their own views, respond to the other views, and reply to the critiques leveled by the other teams. The reader thus is provided with the kinds of comparisons he usually must make for himself.
This format contributes to some very lively writing. Hagopian says in his introduction that “each author extends the principle of charity to his counterparts,” but that doesn’t mean there isn’t passion here. Authors speak of “clear meaning” in Biblical texts and assert that “we side with what the Scriptures teach.” They say that their opponents “fail to prove their case,” and that opposing views are “exegetically bizarre” and “based on utterly erroneous assumptions.” They sniff that “we are disappointed” and “we reject the hermeneutic they employ.” In other words, the authors, while not vitriolic, make no pretense of hiding their differences.
Read this book, but read it slowly and with your Bible open. Wrestle with the Biblical texts in light of the authors’ interpretations. Reread sections in light of the responses. Having done so, you should be well-equipped to make an informed decision on this important issue.
The Genesis Debate is published by Crux Press.