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A Book Review… Back To The Beginning

January 14, 2021 Featured Today No Comments

By JIM VALOIS

The Genesis Documents by Michael Gladieux can be obtained from the publisher: https://www.kolbecenter.org/product/the-genesis-documents-e-book-pdf/.

Who am I? Where do I come from? What am I doing here? Mankind has pondered these questions for many millennia. The ancient book of Genesis claims to provide answers to these queries and more.
In The Genesis Documents by Michael Gladieux, the reader is given substantive insight into the sacred text by learning from the greatest minds of the Church, archaeological finds, and current science.
This is not a book for the intellectually timid, yet it will be accessible to many readers. Gladieux, a computer analyst, has distilled 30 years of thought and prayer on this topic. In this one book you have a library of knowledge, a course of study, a compendium of science and sacred theology. This is an important work because it offers sound and reasonable answers to the modern skeptics who dismiss Scripture as untrustworthy.
Teachers, upper classmen, and those desirous to know what the Fathers of the Church thought about creation and Genesis will find in this well-researched book a journey into a world of mystery, discovery, and wisdom.
Gladieux starts the journey with the patristic fathers and later theologians. He follows with a well-reasoned theory for how Genesis was passed on through the generations by tablets. The author provides a commentary on creation and discusses the great flood as well as major persons in the first book of the Bible.
The thought of the Fathers from the first century to the Middle Ages on the creation narrative is explored in depth by drawing from the original sources. The commonalities and the differences in their viewpoints give the reader a broad scope of the issues involved in understanding the origins of our universe. Such topics as a literal versus an allegorical reading of Genesis and the age of the Earth are discussed. Gladieux asserts an all-important foundational belief that was common to the fathers:
“Undergirding all biblical interpretation, including how we look at Genesis, is the uniform belief that the Scriptures were inspired by God, that He is faithful and all knowing, and that the only way to look at the Bible is that it is utterly true!” (p. 10).
As I read this chapter, I found myself sitting at the feet of the Fathers and drinking in their unsurpassed wisdom like a glass of fine wine. This is a section to savor slowly. Through the centuries, the Fathers and theologians who knew how to think with the Church affirmed that God created all things ex nihilo as foundational truth. Other commonly shared beliefs were — the Holy Trinity, only God is uncreated substance, creation in six days, and God’s will causes our continued being. Differences on whether God created the world instantaneously or in six different moments is an example of where we find divergent views.
Grasping the true view about who we are and where we came from has a profound effect on the human person and the stability of our culture. The author states: “…the most basic truths about human nature, sexuality, and the purpose of God in creating us are rooted inextricably in our understanding of Genesis” (p. 93). As he traversed our new country, Alexis de Tocqueville noted a similar notion that American “liberty cannot be established without morality, nor without faith.”
Therefore authentic freedom in our culture cannot stand without the other legs of morality and faith. When secularists cling to their atheism and evolutionary creeds, they begin to lose both liberty and culture. Gladieux points to reclaiming our great heritage in Genesis and the truth about the human person and the plan of God found therein.
The author asserts that the Genesis documents were passed on through clay tablets. A British Air Force officer stationed in the Middle East, P.J. Wiseman, played a central role in unraveling this mystery. Fascinated by archeology, Wiseman was able to be present when many of the sites were excavated. Gladieux explains that Wiseman “noticed certain striking literary patterns in the writing on the tablets, and saw in them a connection to the book of Genesis” (p. 98). He published a book in 1936 entitled, New Discoveries in Babylonia about Genesis.
But then the world war came and the book faded out of memory. Personally this chapter was one of my favorites. I was one of those theology students who were never quite satisfied or convinced by the redaction theories regarding Genesis. This chapter gave me a well-reasoned hypothesis for the passing on of the sacred text through time that fit the cultural milieu and recent discoveries.
Furthermore, the book explodes ancient and modern myths of origins very nicely and provides commentary on the first book of the Pentateuch. In the biblical text, you do not find the legendary matter or polytheistic forms that express the philosophies of a particular country. The author reminds us about other creation accounts: “The story that they tell is fragmented, jumbled, and missing the ring of reality” (p. 125). And he makes the comparison between some of the colorful pagan myths and some of the outlandish current scientific theories of origins such as this one:
“In the beginning there was nothing at all. But a quantum fluctuation in nothingness produced a singularity of enormous density. This happened for no reason at all. The singularity then began to expand, along with the space that contained it, for no reason at all. In this way the universe created itself” (p. 126).
Yeah, right. But true science is serving the cause of creationism and advancing the commentary on the sacred text. Gladieux details convincingly on how the radiometric dating technique known as carbon 14 appears to be showing a substantially younger fossil record. Based on carbon 14 data, this highlights that the standard dates given for the fossil record, repeated so often, are not even close to accurate. For those who love the study of origins, this trek will continue to challenge presuppositions with much good science.
The book dives deep into the great flood as well as the key persons in Genesis. In the 2020 film, Is Genesis History?, Dr. Del Tackett showed a substantial canyon that was created in only a couple of days by the pyroclastic flows of Mount St. Helens on March 27, 1980. The geography of the surrounding area looked like it was there for many epochs but it was actually rapidly changed by these flows.
Furthermore, the incredible power of moving water changes geography swiftly too. Scientists in the movie pointed to the global flood of Genesis causing massive changes in places such as the Grand Canyon. “It is not a lot of time and a little water. It is a lot of water and a little time” (Is Genesis History? film). Also geologist Steve Austin highlighted that marine fossils are found through all the layers of the Grand Canyon.

The Great Love Of
God The Father

Back to the book — Gladieux brings his scientific analysis to the Deluge too and helps it become understandable and believable. This study of the Deluge and major persons was another favorite section of mine because it made the patriarchs come alive and the account of the flood become present.
Michael Gladieux began his trek into cosmology as a child, but it entered a new phase when he was working in his career as a computer analyst. During a break, he read an interview in the newspaper that changed his life. Science fiction writer Isaac Asimov said in effect, during the interview, that he did not understand why anyone would still believe in the fairy tales of the Bible.
This was like a stab in the gut to Gladieux, who had become a devout Catholic during his Ph.D. program. This led to a heartfelt prayer and a journey for an apologetic answer to Asimov’s direct assault on the word of God.
The fruit of that prayer is his remarkable book. It will encourage you to trust the word of God in Genesis and it will challenge you in ideas that you may have indiscriminately adopted along the way. It will answer many of the big questions and may shift your paradigm. Philosopher Paul Nelson stated: “Paradigm is a framework within which you interpret evidence. Science isn’t just about the evidence, it’s about how you interpret that evidence” (Is Genesis History? film).
And running through this fascinating book is the great love of God the Father through the redemptive plan via His Son that will be found in the brilliant light of the sacred text.

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