Creation in Six Days. A Defense of the Traditional Reading of Genesis One

By James B. Jordan
Moscow, Idaho : Canon (1999). 265 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. James Rosscup
13.2 (Fall 2002) : 286-287

 Jordan directs Biblical Horizons Ministries, Niceville, Florida. In this volume he defends the historic view that in Genesis 1 God created all things in six, normal, twenty-four-hour days. Eight chapters critique views that hold literary features to dictate some meaning other than the chapter’s “plain historical narrative sense” (9). Jordan opposes framework theories of Bruce Waltke and Meredith Kline, John Collins “anthropomorphic days” of long but unspecified duration and overlapping periods, and John Sailhamer’s idea that the “earth” in G en 1:2ff. is only Palestine, not the entire earth. The book does not deal with the “Gap View” of 1:1-2 and the “Age-Day View” of the six days, since other sources deal well with these (22-23).

Careful documentation shows where to find writings of the other scholars. Jordan courteously but vigorously reveals how various views misrepresent a literal understanding of Genesis 1 as necessitating contradictions. He himself holds a literal view, but one that makes better sense, without contradictions. He says that scholars manufacture problems where they are unnecessary (13), as in failing to grasp that God could cause light before He created light-bearing bodies (1:3), as He will in the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:23).

Sailhamer’s “Limited Geography” has Gen 1:2ff. speaking only of Canaan. Jordan reasons that Sailhamer has the company of only a few, such as the medieval Jews, Rashi, and Puritan John Lightfoot. A great majority of other Jewish scholars make no mention of limiting the perspective to Palestine (132). Among many things Jordan finds strange is how Sailhamer has “earth” in 1:1 refer to the whole earth but in 1:2ff. has it meaning only Palestine.

Appendixes A–D pursue further what Jordan sees as errant views. Throughout, Jordan thinks that other views’ appeal in “a too-ready acceptance of many of the questionable assumptions of modern science . . . coupled with the pervasiveness of agnostic, or nonhistorical attitude toward the Christian religion.”

Jordan is provocative in pointing out reasoning that he feels misrepresents details in Genesis 1. He is usually clear, now and then puzzling, but overall can stimulate serious readers to consider how some are leading evangelicals astray on creation matters. He can stir readers to think carefully about what the text most reasonably says and to believe this. The reviewer finds Jordan’s major creation claims to be true to what Scripture itself says and agrees that evangelicals ought to devote careful attention to Genesis 1 and not buy into misleading views that dazzle with the aura of big names.