Repsher (The Common Sense Life, 2015, etc.) provides an in-depth look at the first chapter of the biblical Book of Genesis and related extrapolations for modern living.
When one reads the first chapter of Genesis, what does one come away with? How does one grapple with the creation of night and day occurring before the creation of the moon and sun? What does it say about the human relationship with nature? The author explores these and many other topics as he takes readers far beyond the Genesis story. After pointing out that many people turn away from the Bible after the difficult opening, he argues for a more rigorous, kindhearted examination—one that leads to an understanding that’s “astonishingly relevant for our 21st century.” To that end, he draws on a cornucopia of sources, including authors from ancient times (such as the Jewish scholar Josephus, who “recognized that allegorical interpretations can be tricky”), analysis of language (“Biblical Hebrew binds both past and future together”), and other portions of the Bible, such as Deuteronomy. The result is a focus on Genesis as “a world created to live in harmony with itself and its Creator.” The author stresses “compassion as the basis for every endeavor,” and says that the allegorical significance of Genesis is not, for instance, one of human dominion over nature; it is instead an indication that “The Bible associates thriving, healthy vegetation with human salvation,” he says. The book provides a contrast to more literal biblical interpretations, and it will prove refreshing for readers eager to see the face of humanity in the early portions of the Old Testament. Although the author’s modern references, such as the “Great Recession” of 2008, may feel dated to some readers, his work is commendable for its extensive mixture of material. Drawing a connection between the biblical creation and advice that one should “Take time to be well-informed about varying points of view for current issues” is no easy task. The book’s train of logic is sound, though certainly open for debate, and likely to conjure a wealth of ideas.
A religious treatise that makes a novel connection between the words of Genesis and a call for a more egalitarian society.