As a boy Ronald Osborn took camping trips to the Mana Pools, in Zimbabwe, with his missionary parents. There he saw the splendor of untamed nature, which included the sight of lions gorging on their bloody prey. In Death Before the Fall, he writes: "All around us was a world that was deeply mysterious, untamed, dangerous, beautiful and good, waiting to be explored. And the danger was part of its goodness and beauty.... Mana Pools was very good—its lions, jackals, leopards, fish eagles and cobras included." (pg.13)

This intuitive understanding of creation is quite at odds with the understanding of Genesis that Osborn learned in his young-earth-creationist Seventh Day Adventist church. There he was told that no death existed in the Garden of Eden; death and predation resulted from Adam's sin. Not only were death and predation not intrinsic to the creation, they were evil, reflecting God's curse.

In an evolutionary scenario, death and predation are intrinsic to creation—there could be no development of new species without them. Osborn quotes one Adventist official as saying that those following evolutionary thinking, "don't worship the God of the Bible, for that God didn't use a long, protracted, and vicious dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-fittest paradigm—one that goes against everything He has taught us about love and self-sacrifice...." (17)

With this conflict in view as to the nature of nature, Osborn launches into a full-bore, unflinching assault on literalism in biblical interpretation, particularly in regard to the first chapters in Genesis. His is not a liberal critique, but an orthodox, Bible-centered one. Osborn contends that fundamentalist, young-earth creationists ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Browse All Book Reviews By:
Read These Next
Current Issue5 Books More Christian High Schoolers Should Read
5 Books More Christian High Schoolers Should Read Subscriber Access Only
Matthew Farrelly recommends some overlooked classics.
RecommendedWhy Don’t the Gospel Writers Tell the Same Story?
Why Don’t the Gospel Writers Tell the Same Story?Subscriber Access Only
New Testament scholar and apologist Michael Licona’s new book argues that ancient literary devices are the answer—and that’s a good thing for Christians.
TrendingThe Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
The Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
How the former FBI director’s interest in Reinhold Niebuhr shaped his approach to political power.
Editor's PickSix Ways Men Can Support Women's Discipleship
Six Ways Men Can Support Women's Discipleship
Male clergy and laity who want to enable women's ministry often don't know how to get involved or what to do.
Christianity Today
Reading Genesis, Red in Tooth and Claw
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

April 2014

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.