While perhaps understandable, it is also unfortunate that many Christians and churches only take on the biblical topic of Creation for the purpose of debating the relationship between the Genesis account and scientific views of origins. The result of that focus is that many Christians lack an awareness of the subject of creation as a source of worship of the Creator, as well as a foundation for understanding much of God’s work in redeeming us and ultimately making all things new. In Biblical Portraits of Creation, Walter Kaiser and Dorington Little seek to correct that deficiency with a series of short essays glorifying our Creator God.
Anyone opening this book looking for a technical response to challenges from evolutionists or higher critics will be largely disappointed. For the most part, these short pieces ignore that ongoing argument and instead focus on various texts dealing with Creation that inspire the reader to worship God and appreciate His work of Creation and all that it entails. Only two of the 19 chapters give primary focus to the early chapters of Genesis. Others focus on texts that deal with Creation in other contexts, including the portions of Proverbs praising Wisdom, the speech by God to Job out of the whirlwind, and several Psalms. One of the strengths of the book is the connection of God’s original creative activity with His new Creation, and a short study of Matthew 1:1-17 is especially good in that regard – yes, the author succeeds in bringing the genealogy to life! With regard to the discussion of the new heavens and the new earth, readers who are not premillenialists will not enjoy the chapter on that subject as much as will those who are.
While the main text of the book is not technical, an appendix is tacked onto the end to fill out the work that is an essay written by Dr. Kaiser several decades ago defending Genesis 1-11 against claims that those chapters arose out of Babylonian and other pagan origins. While that essay does not really belong with the rest of the work, it is well-written and will be appreciated by readers looking for more technical material. Nonetheless, the majority of the book is devotional in nature. Though the writing style at times is a bit pedestrian, these are themes that inspire worship. In addition, they are neglected subjects. The authors state succinctly their hope for the book: “This work is a call for Bible Study groups to set aside a quarter of their annual studies to take on the discussion and review of Biblical Portraits of Creation.” They also urge ministers to devote a portion of their preaching ministry to “the doctrine of creation and how it affects our concepts of God’s sovereignty, our view of ecology, our praise to God for all he has done in creation, in making us new creatures and how the new order of things will be introduced.”
Those are worthy aims. This book provides a good means for small groups to engage in such study and a good tool for pastors looking to develop a sermon series on creation.