Book Write-Up: Genesis Revisited

Donald Arlo Jennings.  Genesis Revisited: The Creation.  Bloomington: WestBow Press, 2013.  See here to buy the book.

Donald Arlo Jennings has a Ph.D. in Management Information Systems and has written about healthcare technology.  In Genesis Revisited, Jennings attempts to answer questions about the Book of Genesis.

Jennings asks a variety of questions as he reads Genesis.  There is the famous question of where Cain got his wife.  Jennings wonders if the vast multitude of the people on earth truly could have descended from just eight people on the Ark.  He asks where the races came from: the Tower of Babel story talks about God creating different languages, but how did God create different races?

The answer that Jennings proposes involves aliens.  For Jennings, God could have created human-like creatures in outer space and populated the earth with them.  That would explain where Cain got his wife, the multitude of people after the Flood, and perhaps even the different races: there are more people on earth than those descended from Adam and Eve and Noah.  Jennings also speculates that God may also have sent renegade aliens to the earth as prisoners.  The wicked people of Sodom and Gomorrah may have been from outer space, Jennings states.  But Jennings also wonders if Adam himself may have been created in outer space, or if the Garden of Eden was necessarily on the planet earth.

Jennings biblical arguments have a lot of “What ifs?”  Jennings often speculates, without much basis for his speculation.  Occasionally, Jennings does appeal to phenomena in the Bible.  He relies some on the work of Erich von Daniken.  Jennings refers to the shiny divine chariot in Ezekiel 1 as a possible UFO phenomenon, and he relates the sons of God mating with the daughters of men in Genesis 6 to aliens having sexual intercourse with humans.  Oddly, Jennings interprets the light coming into the world in John 1 in reference to UFOs, when the vast majority of interpreters would rightly interpret that in reference to Jesus coming to earth.

Jennings also relates stories about UFO sightings and abductions, perhaps in an attempt to demonstrate that what he is arguing is possible, even plausible.

Here are some critiques of the book:

A.  The book could have been better organized.  It was rambling, and Jennings often repeated points that he had made earlier.  He should have organized the chapters by topic.

B.  The book could have been better written.  The grammar and the spelling were all right, but the prose could have been a lot tighter and more formal.  Jennings comes across as someone meandering around, guessing this and guessing that.  He uses “I” a lot, and that is not necessarily bad, but narrating more in the third person could have added a tone of formality to the book.

C.  The book could have offered more substantive arguments.  Jennings would dismiss evolution and say that he believes in the Bible, for example, as if that by itself were an argument against evolution.  He should have mentioned arguments in support for evolution and said why he found them implausible, or at least referred to creationist or Intelligent Design resources that did so.  At times, Jennings indicated some familiarity with debates, but this book had a lot of unsupported assertions.

D.  The book could have been better had Jennings imitated an episode of Ancient Aliens, while adding his own questions and thoughts.  Many scholars, probably correctly, disagree with what Ancient Aliens says.  Yet, Ancient Aliens can be entertaining because it gets into mythology throughout cultures and compares it with supposed UFO and alien phenomena.  The people on the show offer arguments and base what they are claiming on at least something.  After watching Ancient Aliens, I often rush to the Internet to find how mainstream scholars explain the phenomena that Ancient Aliens discusses.  With the exception of Jennings’ discussion about Noah’s Ark supposedly being found, there was nothing in Jennings book that I wanted to fact-check.  Why would anyone want to fact-check a bunch of unsupported guesses?

E.  Jennings’ theological framework was rather unclear.  Of course, he is a Christian and believes in the Bible.  But how would he reconcile that with seeing God’s chariot in Ezekiel 1 as a UFO?  Jennings should have explained how he holds all that together.

I give this book one star.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book through BookLook Bloggers, in exchange for an honest review.

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. I study the History of Biblical Interpretation at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, as part of its Ph.D. program. I have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting.
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One Response to Book Write-Up: Genesis Revisited

  1. Laura says:

    Oh dear. I’ll leave it at that…

    Liked by 1 person

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