God’s world was created “very good,” Genesis chapter 1 tells us, and in this book Jon Garvey rediscovers the truth, known to the Church for its first 1,500 years but largely forgotten now, that the fall of mankind did not lessen that goodness. The natural creation does not require any apologies or excuses, but rather celebration and praise. The author’s re-examination of the scriptural evidence, the writings of two millennia of Christian theologians, and the physical evidence of the world itself lead to the conclusion that we, both as Christians and as modern Westerners, have badly misunderstood our world. Restoring a truer vision of the goodness of the present creation can transform our own lives, sharpen the ministry of the church to the world of both people and nature, and give us a better understanding of what God always intended to bring about through Christ in the age to come.
A beautifully written book that can be read for pure enjoyment and enlightenment, and/or used as a scholarly resource on the essential problem of evil in God’s creation. The optimistic theme is a rare commodity in the modern marketplace of ideas. The chapters on science are a powerful antidote to the prevailing popular view of evolution as a violent deadly struggle. A book full of new ideas, fresh approaches, and profound insights.
–Seymour Garte, and Editor-in-Chief, God and Nature Magazine
A book that will bring us back to celebrating the joys and goodness of creation rather than mourning its destruction and fallen state. This demands positive action from us.
–Ghillean T. Prance, Scientific Director of The Eden Project
Jon Garvey has written a challenging but necessary work on the goodness of creation. From opposite ends of the spectrum, young earth creationists and theistic evolutionists assume that radical evil permeates the natural order, in the form of earthquakes, predatory carnivores, etc. Garvey critiques this view, building a case from scripture and classical theology that humanity alone, not the whole created order, is fallen. This vindication of creation’s goodness is a welcome rebuttal of modern-day Gnosticism.
–Nick Needham, Highland Theological College, Scotland
Jon Garvey’s astounding thesis, that the Bible does not teach the fall of nature due to human sin, seems on first hearing simply misguided. But his tour though biblical creation texts and the history of Christian theology is a revelation. Not only does Scripture clearly teach God’s providence in creation’s wildness–including animal predation–but the idea of nature’s fall becomes popular only in the sixteenth century onwards. This is a brilliant book!
–J. Richard Middleton, Northeastern Seminary at Roberts Wesleyan College
Born in Guildford, England, Jon Garvey studied medicine at Pembroke College, Cambridge University. Since 2011 his blog, The Hump of the Camel, has explored the theology of creation, attracting an extensive readership in the US, UK, and across the world. He now lives in rural Devonshire, within sight of England’s Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. He is married, with three children and five granddaughters, is a Baptist elder, and plays guitar and saxophone semi-professionally.