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Book Review – What Happened in the Garden


Book Review – What Happened in the Garden

How are we to understand the events of Geneses 1-3? Christians don’t always agree on the interpretation of these three foundational chapters. Are we to take every word literally and at face value? How do we handle the apparent poetry? Is there room for disagreement? How do we address the hermenutical objections to a historical reading of the text? Are they with any merit? If so, how do we address these objections? What do these things tell us about who God is and how we relate to him? Furthermore, how do these things inform how we understand the world around us?

These are the types of questions that you will find addressed in What Happened in the Garden? This book is a collection of essays written by the faculty of The Master’s College. The contributors have proven experience and expertise in the areas they write on and they write in such a way that the average person can understand and grapple with these issues. For those who wish to dig deeper, the contributors provide ample footnotes and it is here where the picture begins to zoom in and expose incredible detail. I especially appreciated chapter 8 in which Taylor B. Jones tackles the topic of “Thermodynamics and the Fall”. This was, in my opinion, the single most convincing essay on the effects of sin on the physical world around us and the grace of God expressed by his creation of a world which, despite the effects of sin, has all the sustaining energy necessary for duration of its existence. This had a way of inspiring hope int he new creation and responsibility/stewardship for this current world.

The book is organized so that we are introduced to the reality of the text, and then forced to grapple with the resulting theological and worldview implications. Readers may find themselves disagreeing with the contributors at times and yet impressed by the breadth of their knowledge and the grace with which they address opposing views. This book certainly belongs in every church library and should also find a welcome home in personal libraries of those with a particular interest in the theology of Genesis 1-3. For my homeschooling friends, they will find that What Happened in the Garden provides rich lessons in  hermeneutics, theology, and worldview.

Where to purchase

Click here to search Amazon for the lowest price on What Happened in the Garden

Click here to purchase What Happened in the Garden: The Reality and Ramifications of the Creation and Fall of Man from

Click here to purchase directly from Kregel Books. 

About the Editor

What Happened in the GardenDr. Chou began to teach Greek at the university in 2004 and continued to teach both at the university and seminary. He also spent two years teaching in Israel with IBEX. Dr. Chou has written several papers for Evangelical Theological Society, completed several encyclopedia articles, contributed to a study Bible, and penned an article entitled, “Myth-Busters,” featured in Answers magazine. He also has written a book on a biblical theology of vision (Wipf and Stock), a commentary on Lamentations (Logos), and a book on hermeneutics (Kregel). Currently, he is working on a commentary on Deuteronomy. Ultimately, he aims for students to know the Word of God deeply, study it accurately, and be driven by it to live fully for the Kingdom.

In 2009, Abner was honored as The Master’s University “Teacher of the Year.” He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society of Biblical Literature. He serves at Arcadia Bible Church participating in preaching, teaching Sunday school for both adults and children, AWANA, and music. He enjoys reading, hiking, traveling, drawing stick figures, and spending time with students and of course his family. The Lord has blessed Abner with an incredible wife and ministry partner, Johanna, and four children: Nehemiah, Naomi, Meital, and Hannah.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Kregel Academic in exchange for an online review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

5 thoughts on “Book Review – What Happened in the Garden

  1. Hey Aaron! Glad to see you started up again. For a while there you were posting like . . . I dunno . . . once a month. Now two days in a row! Say, I recognized one of the contributors as the author of the book you reviewed yesterday. Just a bit of trivia for ya. This looks really good. I know you and I disagree on the young earth/old earth issue but we agree on everything else I think. Is this book from a YE perspective? I’ll still read it if it is. Seems like all the good stuff is written by the Y.E.C. crowd.

  2. Todd F.

    I’m curious about this too. Are they YE creationists or OE?

    • Todd & Ryan. Sorry for the delay in responding. I can say with certainty that contributor Joseph Francis is a young earth creationist and with a fairly high degree of certainty that the rest are as well. In his essay on genetics in the book, Francis makes a clear case for an alternate interpretation of the scientific genetic data which account for a YEC view. The issue is what model of history does the observer adopt and the evidence appears to support both depending on your starting point. He concludes by saying something like, “we believe” that the YE model provides a satisfactory framework to interpret the genetic evidence.. I may have butchered the quote but the part that I am pointing to here is the “we believe” which is a direct quote. Francis appears to be speaking for the contributors as a whole.

      I hope this answers your questions.

  3. Chris Sellers

    I’m curious about what you think of OEC and if you think it is a dangerous position. Slippery slope and all.

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