Creation and the Garden of Eden : images & perspectives is but one of many ways Tony seeks to fulfill his calling as a bridge between religions, races, cultures, and generations. Tony is in a unique position to bring understanding of the similarities and differences beween diverse groups because circumstances and choices have allowed him to participate in a wide variety of religious and cultural practices.

Tony Kemp was born in the UK in 1970 to a father who was an uncommitted Anglican and a mother who – had it not been for the untimely death of her Jewish father – would have been a practicing Jew. Because his mother was Jewish only on her father’s side, she was not allowed to proceed with her Bat Mitzvah after her father’s death, and she eventually adopted Christian ways. In fact, even Tony's father did not know of his mother’s Jewish background when he married her in London.

Upon emigrating to Australia shortly after he was born, Tony's parents became members of The Salvation Army and eventually served as missionaries in Sri Lanka. There Tony was exposed to the culture of that land, and that of neighboring India.  Because he spent time in an English boarding school and later a school for the children of American diplomats, Tony became familiar with the subtle differences in British and American cultures as well.

As a religious conservative - who at the age of eighteen believed the Creation story as told in the Christian Bible was the literal truth - Tony intended to follow in his parents’ footsteps and become a Salvation Army missionary. It seems, however, destiny had other plans for him. He remained in Australia and assisted his parents in running a milk delivery business they owned after their work with the Salvation Army was complete, but his transformation was already beginning: Tony surprised his conservative family by marrying a woman who is Maori. They now have four beautiful children ranging from five to ten years of age, whose lives are enriched by the diverse backgrounds of their parents.

Tony's belief in the literal truth of Genesis remained intact until Tony studied theology and was writing an essay in its defense. The cumulative effects of his multi-cultural background must have overwhelmed his conservative upbringing to bring him to an epiphany while composing that essay.  Tony suddenly saw the story of Creation from the perspective of its original audiences and not only knew the story was intended to be a metaphor, but realized it was specifically intended for Egyptian audiences. This was merely the beginning of his own theological evolution.

Once Tony realized that the book of Genesis was not the literal truth, he began a transformation toward a much more liberal approach to theology and religion. Years later, he came to believe that his purpose - his calling - was to become an ordained priest in the Anglican Church. However he saw his role as slightly different from the traditional priest; he saw himself as a bridge between the conservative and the liberal factions of the church, as well as a bridge between the Anglican Church and other religions and traditions. It is in this spirit that Tony devised the concept of the book
Creation and the Garden of Eden : images & perspectives. The purpose of the book is primarily to entertain, but Tony hopes to provide the readers with an understanding of how influential the story of Creation has been in the numerous cultures that have espoused it, and enlighten the readers as to just how many similarities there are between peoples, religions and cultures.

Delicia Bellamont