Monday, December 19, 2016

Book Write-Up: Adam, by R.C. Besteder

R.C. Besteder.  Adam: You Are Descended from Adam.  What About Adam?  Bloomington: WestBow, 2013.  See here to buy the book.

This book has reflections and musings about the primeval history in the Book of Genesis (Genesis 1-11).

Overall, I found this book to be an enjoyable read.  R.C. Besteder is well-read.  He refers to Sumerian history and mythology, Herodotus, Virgil, and Native American lore, among other things, in commenting on Genesis.  He quotes elements of Lee Strobel’s conversion story and apologetics and refers to a book that says that Darwinism influenced Stalin (not that I know one way or the other whether that is true, but Bestender refers to a book that one can read).  Bestender says that Bertrand Russell’s daughter was disappointed that her father failed to consider the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection (again, I don’t know if that is true, but it is something to check out).  Besteder also tells personal anecdotes, particularly about the time when he was a military chaplain.  These references and anecdotes made the book interesting, informative, and edifying, even though the book lacked earth-shaking, fresh insights about Genesis.  The book had good discussions, but what it said about the Fall is what a lot of Christians say about the Fall.  According to the Acknowledgments, a person with a Ph.D. who worked with Christianity Today helped proofread this book, so, not surprisingly, it is fairly well-written.

In terms of negatives, the book was very dismissive of evolution, without considering that there may be evidence for it.  Occasionally, the book was overly informal.  In an excellent discussion about whether animals have souls, Besteder says, “Through my dog, Rot, I have come to understand an animal’s individual personality, intelligence, and spiritual propensities.”  Sounds good!  But then Besteder goes on to say, “Most people reading this book will not have the slightest hint of what I’m writing about.”  That last line was unnecessary.  It was overly informal and detracted from an otherwise tight discussion, plus it may alienate the writer from the reader, since plenty of readers (myself included) would know precisely what he was talking about.

Besteder argues that the sons of God who have sex with the daughters of men in Genesis 6 are sons of Seth.  He quotes Warren Wiersbe’s comments on this issue, which were helpful.  But Besteder also seemed to argue that Augustine’s view that the sons of God were sons of Seth had authority, since it was an old interpretation.  I liked Besteder’s references to Augustine, but the fact is that there are older interpretations of Genesis 6 that claim that the sons of God were angels, or supernatural beings.  I Enoch is one example.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.  My review is honest!

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