The Rise And Fall of Civilization: From Creation Through The Flood, by David Hocking
There is something particularly amenable about the first ten or eleven chapters of the Bible that invites the speculative tendencies of people. Where firm biblical and extrabiblical historical evidence is lacking, and where there is an evident and open conflict between different views and different interpretations of both scripture and science, it is little surprise that there should be such contention. What does someone need to know when picking up this book, given the large amount of material that exists on the Book of Genesis that one can find ? The most salient points of interest are in the repercussions of the identity of the author as a cautious Young Earth creationist. Once you know that about the author, a lot about the book makes sense–the author argues for seven literal days of creation, speculates on the cohabitation of mankind and dinosaurs, and discusses the matters of kind and the author even has some thoughtful if somewhat inconsistent comments to make on the Sabbath. Although there is much I disagree with when it comes to the author’s perspective on Genesis, this was certainly a worthwhile book to read.
The contents of this short book (roughly 150 pages) are divided into chapters based on material from the first eleven chapters of Genesis that are dealt with as they come up in the text. The author begins with a discourse on the first two verses of the Bible, a discussion of Creation in six days, a discussion of what was created in six days, a discourse on the creation of Human life, and more than a third of the book is covered by the first chapter of Genesis alone. After that the author has three more chapters on Genesis 2 with a discussion on the Sabbath, on the Garden of Eden, and on sex, marriage, and human relationships. From this point the author moves more quickly through the material at hand, with chapters on the fall of the human race, the sanctity of human life, the beginning of civilization, human depravity and divine judgment, and the global catastrophe of the flood. At this point, in the post-flood world, the author makes some final observations and includes a bibliography for the reader, having made his point and having focuses on the elements of creation that are most of interest to him, namely the material in the first two chapters of Genesis.
There is certainly a fair amount in which I differ when it comes to the author’s perspective, but there is a great deal to appreciate in the author’s approach. For one, the author shows a good understanding of scriptural cross references to important material in the first part of Genesis that allows the reader to better understand what is being said in Genesis. Additionally, I found the author’s comments on the Sabbath to be somewhat inconsistent but also thoughtful. The author admits that there is nowhere in scripture where the first day of the week is ever declared to be the Sabbath but finds warrant for Sundaykeeping in the fact that the festival of the firstfruits  and Pentecost  were commanded in the Bible to be on the first day of the week in Leviticus 23, which is deeply inconsistent with the fact that this chapter is the most comprehensive treatment of the commanded Sabbath observances of God (along with Leviticus 25, it should be noted). If anything, such passages should be even greater encouragement to keep the Sabbath, and to recognize those places where other days besides the Sabbath are commanded assemblies. Besides this, the author makes a touching granting of the benefit of the doubt to Lamech concerning the matter of his claim to have killed a man in self-defense. For the most part, unless one is an old earth Creationist who believes in the gap theory, there is a lot that this book has that could be considered generosity of mind, and that is something always worth celebrating, especially when one is dealing with contentious areas of Scripture.
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