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Death Before the Fall: Biblical Literalism and the Problem of Animal Suffering

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2014 ECPA Top Shelf Book Cover Award

Did animals have predatory natures before the fall? Did God punish innocent animals with a curse because of human sin? Is it possible for theistic evolution to be compatible with the Bible, even though animal death before the fall would contradict the teaching that death began after the first sin?

In this eloquent and provocative "open letter" to evangelicals, Ronald Osborn wrestles with these pointed questions and with the problem of biblical literalism and animal suffering within an evolutionary understanding of the world.

Considering the topic of animal suffering and predation as a theodicy dilemma, Osborn offers an open-minded exploration of the subject, specifically coming against the fundamentalist and literalist view of the book of Genesis and the creation account. He challenges one-dimensional reading of Scripture and shines a sobering light on the evangelical dogma responsible for advancing viewpoints long ago dismantled by science.

Always acknowledging the traditionalist viewpoint, Osborn demonstrates with a wealth of exegetical and theological insight how orthodox Christianity can embrace evolutionary concepts without contradiction. Osborn forces us to ask hard questions, not only of the Bible and church tradition, but also and especially of ourselves.


Part One: On Literalism

Chapter One: The Creation: A Plain Reading

Chapter Two: What�s Eating Biblical Literalists?: Creationism & the Enlightenment Project

Chapter Three: Unwholesome Complexity: Literalism as Scientism�s Pale Mimetic Rival

Chapter Four: Progressive vs. Degenerating Science: Weighing Incommensurable Paradigms

Chapter Five: Does Your God Need Stage Props?: On the Theological Necessity of Methodological Atheism

Chapter Six: The Enclave Mentality: Identity Foreclosure & the Fundamentalist Mind

Chapter Seven: The Gnostic Syndrome: When Literalism Becomes a Heresy

Chapter Eight: Four Witnesses Barth, Calvin, Augustine, & Maimonides on the Literal Meaning of Genesis

Chapter Nine: If Not Foundationalism, What Then?: From Tower-Building to Net-Mending

Part Two: On Animal Suffering

Epigraph Two: In Praise of Self-Deprecation

Chapter Ten: Stasis, Deception, Curse: Three Literalist Dilemmas

Chapter Eleven: A Midrash: C. S. Lewis�s Cosmic Conflict Theodicy Revisited

Chapter Twelve: God of the Whirlwind: Animal Ferocity in the Book of Job

Chapter Thirteen: Creation & Kenosis: Evolution and Christ�s Self Emptying Way of the Cross

Chapter Fourteen: Animal Ethics, Sabbath Rest

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Product Details

Product #: 647323

Catalogue: 2019 W/H SALE Academic estore

Date Published: 07 Mar 2014

ISBN-13: 9780830840465

Publisher: InterVarsity Press USA

Subjects: Academic Theology (Aspects Of God's Nature And Work)

Category: Academic - Theology

Size: 21.0 x 14.0 cm