Hess raises the question: 'What does the Bible say about origins?' There is no mention of Darwin or even biology, he focuses solely on the biblical text and of Genesis 1:1-2:4 in particular.
He first places Gn 1:1-2:4 in its literary context and then compares it with other creation stories. The major difference between the biblical and other creation accounts 'is that only Genesis describes one God acting alone without reference to or acknowledgement of other deities' (p. 91).
The first verse of the Bible he sees as a title - 'it does not describe and initial event followed chronologically by the events of verse 2' (p. 93). He gives careful and considered support to a creation out of nothing.
He then turns to the creation of humanity and the terms image and likeness. He understands them as synonyms; the terms are used to describe a statue that represents the king's royal authority. Humans are not statues of God but they do represent his authority, they are to continue his work. They are to continue 'the divine act of creation'. I appreciated this emphasis as it serves to underline the importance of, in neocalvinist terms, the cultural mandate.
Jesus is the true image of God and in his proclamation of the kingdom the challenge to develop creation is passed on to the church.
He summaries his key points:
- creation is cosmological
- the days of creation are logical not chronological
- creation is not primarily ontological but concerned with life
- creation climaxes on the seventh day - as a day of rest
- creation is meant to be 'led and guided by 'adam who is created in God's image as male and female'.