The Genesis Account: A theological, historical, and scientific commentary on Genesis 1–11 (Review)

Published: RTR 74, no. 2, 2015

The Genesis Account: A theological, historical, and scientific commentary on Genesis 1–11

Jonathan D. Sarfati, Power Springs, GA: Creation Ministries International, 2015. Xiv+785.

Sarfati, an Australian-born scientist and chess master, has produced a massive commentary that treats Genesis 1–11 from an exegetical and scientific perspective. It is a book focussed on details, and for the non-expert, hence there is an entire paragraph devoted to explaining how the Hebrew letter, he, will be transliterated in the book, illustrated by reference to ‘Coca Cola’ in its English and modern Hebrew spellings. If one wants an excursus on quantum fluctuation in the midst of commentary on Gen 1:1–5, this is book to go to—the danger being that the scientific discussion will be undiscoverable in the commentary format. The nature of radiocarbon dating is put first in simple, pictorial terms, followed by technical data. An impressive range of exegetical issues is dealt with, though there is still more to be said. For example, there have been insights into Hebrew narrative since the time of Leupold that could shed light on how Gen 1:1 is operating. It is too strong to say that ‘became’ is ‘simply grammatically impossible’ in 1:2 (syntactically unlikely, perhaps). The ordinal use of the cardinal, ‘one’ (as in ‘day one’), is not given attention (noting the random, ‘[Quote in Hebrew and English]’, on p. 123). The discussion of ‘mist’ in Gen 2:5 is uncharacteristically short, and does not canvas the possibility that it simply refers to rain. Notwithstanding the above, this tome will challenge fair-minded readers.