In the introduction of this book, the author tells us that he’s “a journalist covering the Bible beat” and that what he shares in this book will not include his opinion, just the facts. After reading the book, I have to say that I agree. There’s a lot that I don’t agree with in it, but not because I disagree with the author, I just don’t agree with what people have said in general. But the author doesn’t write in a way that makes it all about his thoughts on the questions, it’s really just a compilation of what different people, historical sources, church histories, etc. have thought about in response to the questions being posed.
The questions included in this book aren’t easy ones, and because of that, the answers aren’t easy to read either. Questions include things like:
God made Eve from Adam’s rib? Are you kidding me?
Would a loving God really put a good man like Job through horrible suffering just to test his loyalty?
Why does the Bible praise a man who sacrificed his own daughter?
Why would a thinking person believe the story that the reason we have so many languages is because God punished people for building the Tower of Babel?
As someone who grew up in church and who has studied the Bible from the time I was a little girl, I’ve never really struggled with these kinds of questions. In many ways, I think that’s been good, because some of the responses to these questions seem completely absurd to me. But at the same time, I was intrigued by the answers to one question: Given what we know today from science, why do so many Christians say the universe was created in six days, a few thousand years ago? Among the answers to that question are some questions that come from questioning a “literal read of the Genesis story”, and they are questions that I’ve never even thought about. I believe that creation happened the way it reads in the Bible, but “the scholars” ask a couple questions that I think are interesting.
If God created plants on day three, how did they survive without the sun, which God didn’t create until day four?
Why should we interpret the six days of creation as six twenty-four hour days when God didn’t make the sun and moon – our tools for measuring twenty-four hour days – until day four?
Those questions don’t make me question what I believe, but they absolutely made me think about how God is even more incredible in being able to do things like create the world, given what these questions say. How did it work? Does it really matter for us to be able to know? It creates some pretty fun debate topics, but at the end of the day, how we believe the creation story time-line to work, it doesn’t change whether or not we can be saved. Praise the Lord for that! We do have the ability to disagree with each other, and still wind up going to the same place someday. I think the biggest thing we need to do is respect that we may not all have the same opinion. And that it’s okay to disagree – at least on things like this.
Overall, I did wonder if this book would be helpful to someone who didn’t have any kind of Bible background, because it didn’t give definitive answers, it just gave information on both sides… or multiple sides, depending on the question. I think it was an interesting read, and helped me to consider some of the things I’ve accepted on faith, and how people may disagree with that. But at the same time, I do wish there would have been a few more answers that were clear. That said, I guess nothing is going to be too clear in life, because people will always have different opinions, and that’s what the author was probably trying to show.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review. I was in no way required to write anything positive – the thoughts and opinions expressed here are completely my own.