Jon Garvey: Update on The Generations of Heaven and Earth

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Through the wonders of the internet:

New science has surprised many by showing, contrary to received wisdom, that a real Adam and Eve could have lived amongst other humans in historical times and yet be the ancestors of every living person, as traditional Christianity has always taught. This theory was first published in book form in 2019, but Jon Garvey, familiar with it from its early days, believes it helps confirm the Christian account of reality by giving it a solid foundation in science and history.

In this book he argues that the long existence of other people before and alongside Adam was in all likelihood known to the Bible’s original authors. This conclusion helps build a compelling biblical “big story” of a new kind of created order initially frustrated by Adam’s failure, but finally accomplished in Christ. This “new creation” theme complements that of the “old creation” covered in his first book, God’s Good Earth. The two together contribute to a unified, and fully orthodox, understanding of the overall message of Bible.

“Summarizing a decade of contemplation, Garvey makes a provocative, must-read contribution to a new conversation about Adam and Eve. After 15o years of mistaken conflict, we now know that traditional readings of Genesis can be entirely compatible with evolutionary science, as long as there are people outside the garden. Garvey presses one step further, arguing that allowing for people outside the garden is helpful to theology, recovering the original understanding of Genesis. Evolutionary science, in this way, encourages a coherent and grounded synthesis of traditional theology and mainstream science”

S. JOSHUA SWAMIDASS, Founder, Peaceful Science, Associate Professor of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine, Washington University in Saint Louis

The genealogical Adam model is an exciting development in the discussion about human origins. Garvey uses the model as the starting point for further explorations, and he proceeds with both creativity and classic Christian commitments. The result is not so much a radical revision of traditional Christian doctrine as it is a revisiting of certain biblical themes that have been underexplored. The Generations of Heaven and Earth makes a significant contribution and it is a must-read for those interested in the science-faith conversation:’

KEN KEATHLEY, Senior Professor of Theology, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

"Derek Kidner’s 1967 suggestion of a pre-Adamic human race, from among whom our historical Adamic lineage began, always seemed credible to me, and no threat to core biblical doctrines. Garvey’s fascinating collation of evidence from the sciences of geology, archaeology, paleontology, and genealogy, alongside his deep and respectful exploration of the inspired text of Scripture, not only renders this view 'no threat: but also offers illuminating perspectives on a fully integrated biblical theology?

CHRISTOPHER J. H. WRIGHT, International Ministries Director, Langham Partnership, author of The Mission of God


More here.

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One of the Amazon reviewers of Josh’s Genealogical Adam and Eve , Cheol Kwong (@naclhv) , says:

The book becomes less focused when Dr. Swamidass moves into the theological portion…

He adds that this is consistent with Swamidass’s ultimate end for the book:

His overall point here is that this new understanding of the Genealogical Adam and Eve opens up a lot of space theologically: of course a single interpretation is not going to be singularly compelling. There are now many, many interpretations of Genesis that work quite well with the scientific accounts, including some quite literal ones, and Christians are now free to explore this much larger space in our search for the right interpretations.

That’s really how my book differs from Josh’s (and of course, to a large extent we hatched the plan together, so it isn’t fortuitous). Mine is the first attempt to apply the GAE paradigm to a specific theological framework, and in particular to a comprehensive biblical theology set in real history. The aim, whether successful or not, is to unwrap a unified Bible narrative, and to set that narrative in the real history of the world.

That’s exactly right. Our plan is hatching! :slight_smile:


And the thick plottens!


OK, the plot is now very thick, as The Generations of Heaven and Earth has been published today, and is available (at a discount) from the publishers, Wipf & Stock, but not yet from Amazon etc. Here is the link.

My home page for the book, with a few additional goodies like an online bibliography, is here.


Any word on when it will be available from Amazon for Kindle?

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I can only go on the last book, which appeared at the same time last year. Then, the Links to Amaxzon appeared about a week or two after publication (and for any UK readers, it took another month or so for the British printing to be arranged for local orders).

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Tried to buy it as a guest, but the Wipf and Stock site wouldn’t let me do so… even though the site says it’s possible.
Victimhood in the global conspiracy raises its ugly head, once again.
I’ll chalk it up to the “Megan and Harry” backlash, for now. ;o)
Eight dollars more expensive at Amazon… will keep looking for a workaround. Congratulations on a successful plot hatch, @jongarvey and @swamidass ! You both know I’m already a big advocate for the preferability of this particular interpretive vector. Cheers!


Well spotted Guy - Matthew can now find it on Amazon.


It’s yet to become available for Kindle, though. I thought I’d wait a week before complaining about it. :wink:

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Yeah, they do seem to take a time sorting alternative editions out. But it will certainly happen… as will the deluxe hardback edition!

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