Adam: You Are Descended From Adam! What About Adam?, by R.C. Besteder
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/WestBow Press in exchange for an honest review.]
It will likely come as little surprise that this book shares many of the hallmarks of a self-published book on ancient religious history . It contains many references to the writings of others, particularly Lee Strobel, whose arguments in making a case for Christ and a case for Christianity  were apparently persuasive for the author. Somewhat surprisingly, though, the book ends up being far more entertaining and worthwhile than most of its peers. The reason for this is that the author is able to include enough of himself, his own experiences, and a particular sense of humor to give what may at first seem like an odd choice for a subject–namely the influence of our father Adam–a host of very direct relevance to contemporary issues in our society. This combination of good reading, a firm belief in the Bible even if an imperfect understanding of it, and a willingness to write honestly and personally makes this book a worthwhile read for those who are curious about the massive importance of Adam in human history. The author’s critique of Greek philosophers and their so-called wisdom is also to be appreciated, even if the author misses fairly obvious opportunities to praise the biblical Sabbath and uses a tripartite understanding of marriage to justify the unbiblical Trinity, albeit only briefly.
The book’s contents are laid out very simply. This is a book that takes the Genesis account as historical fact, includes some reading on ancient history that takes it seriously as well, and then more or less discusses various subjects over 50 short chapters as they come up in the Genesis account. The author handles issues of the first man and its implications for our obsession with race, taking the divide and conquer methods of modern-day race warriors to task, examines original monotheism and monogamy, explores the aura of goodness that is lost with sin, nakedness and shame and the concern with face, respect for animals, gardening, Satan, a respect for women, curses, clothing, godly sexuality, family, murder, capital punishment, death, suffering, spirituality, sacrifice, genealogy, a thoughtful exploration of the Sons of God, ending up with a discussion of Jesus Christ as the second Adam. Included are speculations about what life was like for the first family of mankind, including the sadness felt by that family after the murder of Abel by his brother Cain and also matters involving historical giants, and more than a little bit of sarcastic humor concerning social issues like abortion and homosexuality, but if a reader comes to this with a high degree of respect for the Genesis account, they are likely to find much of interest and worth.
And that, ultimately, determines who is to appreciate this book and its approach. The author, it should be noted, does not look at the Genesis account in order to attempt to make any argument about creation and how long the universe or the earth have been in existence. This is simply an effort to go back to Adam and to wrestle with the common humanity that we face and with the decline of mankind in many areas, from our health and size and longevity to our memory and mental capacity as a result of generation after generation of sin and decay from a state of original and uncorrupted purity. By taking biblical history seriously, the author is able to give credit to the longevity of partial understanding of original understandings about how to live that long survived, for example, among Native American peoples. The authors approach, one that calls contemporaries to repent of our chronological snobbery, is one that is likely to startle many readers who may be unaware of the level of insight about humanity that can be gained from a thoughtful reading of the early chapters of Genesis. This book is worthy of being read and appreciated, as it is both thoughtful and thought-provoking, even though like all else touched by man it is imperfect.
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