3 out of 4 stars
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Who told you that you were naked? A Refreshing Reexamination of the Garden of Eden
By William E Combs
Questioning an accepted version of an event, place or personality is bound to unsettle most people. Who told you that you were naked?[i/] is William E Combs's passionate call to Christian readers to look critically at the Garden of Eden narrative recorded in the Bible. He focuses his reexamination on the real meaning of Adam’s nakedness which he then links to Death, Sin, Faith, and Salvation. These are all foundational concepts of Christianity onto which this writer beams a fresh, all-encompassing light. His intention is to help dedicated Christians understand these concepts better. It is only then that Christians will discover the relevance of their Faith in this trouble-torn world and be in a position to fulfill their commitment to world evangelization.
To this end, the author uses definitions, contexts, and usages of significant words in Old Hebrew to give us his interpretation of what Nakedness is and is not; that Sin is so much more than a list of bad habits individuals can purposefully eliminate from their lives; that Death comes in various forms and times. Combs makes a distinction between Sin and Rebellion when he discusses Faith as a crucial element in what he terms as Adam’s wrong choice that ultimately enslaved us all. Not all will agree with this. Opinions will also be divided on the writer’s interpretation of God’s character. However, his passion, extensive knowledge of the Bible, well-presented analysis of different scholarly views on this topic, as well as his personal testimonies, put this work in the must-read category for serious or practicing Christians. Those who’ve never questioned ‘conventional’ interpretations of the first three chapters of Genesis should find this beneficial. Others who’ve never reconciled themselves to a loving God who also judges sinners ‘harshly,’ might be assuaged. Still, others might feel that Combs has not spoken of God "the thing that is right,” as God accused Job's friends of doing (Job 42:8) Amplified version of the Holy Bible
A work of this kind is usually heavy reading but Combs has used three approaches to make it an easy read. Firstly, he tells short stories. These anecdotes introduce well- known Bible personalities or events in a way that quickly captures the readers’ attention Amusing as these stories are, they sacrifice the accuracy of the biblical record. And this is what I liked least in this book. Secondly, he provides Study Questions at the end of each chapter which compel the reader to carefully examine all the arguments presented. I commend the writer for these questions. They are game-changers as they not only denote the need for group discussion (thus extending readership) but also compel Christian readers to reexamine the basis and relevance of their Faith. Furthermore, when discussed, debated and applied, these questions show that this book addresses serious issues that Christians eager to live and share their faith must confront. Thirdly, Combs includes his and his wife’s personal testimonies which replicate some biblical incidents or teaching. This is what I like most about this book. It moves this study from being an interesting theological discourse to a convincing contemporary Christian experience.
This book is well edited. I did not spot grammar or spelling mistakes. There are American word usages that differ from the British ones with which I am more familiar. What distracted me was the highlighted boxes every 3 or 4 pages. They are not in the same position, suggesting they are randomly chosen. Possibly they are there to emphasize key points in the writer’s arguments. They hold little value for me. All said I would give this book three out of four points mainly because of the inaccuracies that Combs's introductory short stories give to the Biblical record.
Who Told You That You Were Naked?
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